2013 will be a determinant year for Canada on the international scene. Best illustrated by the new directives given to the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA), the policy shifts initiated by our government in terms of international aid in the last year cast doubt on the role we will play in overcoming the many hurdles developing countries face.
It may be that the inherent complexity of international development initiatives -- which occur in dynamic and unpredictable environments, such Haiti's -- precludes a quick or linear path towards development results. Within this framework, failure may actually be a necessary stepping-stone on the path towards success.
The single woman entrepreneur operating a start-up business in a remote village of Bangladesh is just as important as the large multinational company employing hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. CIDA works with both to help alleviate poverty in the developing world. Our government will continue to be there when humanitarian crises strikes the globe's most vulnerable. But our long-term goal is to help people help themselves, so that they can move themselves and their families from poverty to prosperity -- a result I believe all Canadians can take pride in.
Since 2004, Canada's foreign aid strategy has experienced a noticeable move along a spectrum from morality to national self-interest. Whether you call it a tipping point or a crisis, the shift in Canada's aid policy poses some fundamental questions of us as Canadians; for instance: why do we give foreign aid?
Just before our recent over-sentimental overindulgence in gifts, food, drink and religion, the Star came out with a massive two-page spread titled "A Culture of Secrecy." It's a splendid rebuttal to the myth spreading through our culture that newspapers like the Star are doomed.
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.
In the passionate exchange on the role of the Government of Canada via CIDA in Africa between the NDP MP and the Minister of International Cooperation, I side with Julian Fantino in what I think is best for Africa. These days, Africans are more occupied with trade and economical opportunities rather than handouts as often advocated by the NDP.
The Conservative government's recent decision to use Canadian development dollars to subsidise the activities of the extractive sector is troubling. Under the direction of its new Minister Julian Fantino, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is, shockingly, changing its focus from poverty reduction to promoting Canadian extractive industries abroad. During a recent speech before the Economic Club of Canada, Minister Fantino said that from now on, CIDA will be "in the business of building Canada's markets for the future" and "creating an environment where the (extractive) industry on its own can achieve success." This is not the business of CIDA.
Bev Oda doesn't regret charging taxpayers $16 for an orange juice and said today on her last day as the MP for Durham that
Julian Fantino earned his reputation as a hard-nose -- a take-no-prisoners hardliner who frequently preferred the stick to the carrot. Making him Minister of International Co-operation is like putting Donald Trump in charge of a micro-enterprise initiative among the poor of Haiti -- the consequences will be devastating because the need to be in charge will surely eclipse the need to be smart.