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Dear NDP: CIDA Does Not Need Your Economic Advice

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NDP take their reckless economic sideshow to the developing world

I read NDP MP Helen Laverdière's piece in the Huffington Post with great interest. I find it ironic that the NDP, a party that wishes to impose a $21-billion carbon tax on Canadians and more than $50-billion in radical spending measures while we face global economic uncertainty, now wants to give advice to developing countries on their economic development.

Let me take this opportunity to enlighten the MP and the NDP about the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and dispel their myths.

Our Conservative government is focused on delivering tangible results for those most in need around the world. As I stated in my speech to the Economic Club of Canada: This means using any and all legitimate tools, and all partners available to us to meet this critical objective, including the private sector. We do not subsidize private sector companies as Laverdière led your readers to believe. We do not subsidize NGOs for that matter. We are an outcomes-driven agency and we will work with all legitimate partners who can help free people from the ill effects of poverty.

CIDA collaborates with developing country governments, civil society, multilateral institutions and the private sector in all areas of development, such as basic health, education and food assistance. They are all necessary partners to achieving meaningful development and economic growth that raises people out of poverty. A stronger economy creates more opportunities, more jobs, and allows families to support themselves. We cannot do this without the private sector.

When we speak about the private sector, CIDA is equally speaking about large multinational companies that employ millions of people worldwide, and individual entrepreneurs operating in remote villages in the developing world.

Let me give you an example: Due to CIDA's work, Vu Thi Ha -- a terracotta pot factory owner in Vietnam -- was able to improve her competitiveness with knowledge gained at a business development course. She is not alone. Between 2007 and 2010, in Vietnam alone, CIDA helped 1,200 small- and medium-sized businesses -- 90 percent of them owned by women --increase their profits.

I am also proud to say that CIDA works with the extractive sector to ensure it is transparent, accountable, sustainable and maximizes local benefits. The fact is that constructive NGOs understand this direction. They are working with us towards these objectives and are achieving meaningful results. CIDA's collaboration with Plan Canada and IAMGOLD, for example, will train 10,000 youth in 13 communities of Burkina Faso so they can compete for higher paying jobs in their communities.

Development is not about dependency; it is about helping those in need get a leg up so they can prosper. This is a concept that the tax-and-spend NDP fundamentally do not understand. While the NDP would prefer to fund endless talk shops, I am committed to ensuring our development assistance is accountable, transparent and results-focused.

The fact is that CIDA is getting real results. Through Canada's generosity, one million girls and boys in Haiti are receiving hot, nutritious meals in school each day. 7.8 million children have been vaccinated against polio in Afghanistan. And six million people received critical food assistance in the Sahel region of West Africa where a famine was averted because we acted quickly and decisively. This is a small sample of results we are achieving every day in every corner of the globe.

The NDP should set aside their ideology and rhetoric and support CIDA, our partners and most importantly those people living in poverty around the world who aspire to become self-sufficient.