A quiet cut? - Macleans.ca

A quiet cut?

Did hundreds of millions in CIDA funding just lapse?


Postmedia hears that as much as $800 million in funding for CIDA might have just lapsed.

But experts and critics charge letting hundreds of millions of aid dollars lapse is indicative of incompetence on Fantino’s part – or an intentional effort to reduce aid spending in the hopes no one would notice.

“We don’t find out until almost a year later,” said Canadian Council of International Co-operation president Julia Sanchez. “These are cuts in effect. Massive cuts without any transparency.” “The CIDA minister may spin this as prudent financial management, but the real fact is that the decision to not spend these funds was not debated in Parliament, not reported to Parliament or its budget office, and most obviously not debated publicly,” said Jackson.

Liam Sweet is concerned.

An anonymous former CIDA colleague of mine put it bluntly and suggested that several programs were indeed frozen in the same manner as Haiti, calling the Haiti freeze only the “tip of the iceberg.”  Indeed, the official stated that as of early January 2013 Pakistan had been without a country strategy for going on two years, and therefore had seen no new bilateral project approvals in that time. Between January and the end of March, a single new project to support elections in Pakistan was approved – the first in two years.  Other countries had been treated similarly.  Still, requests for much-needed support – even those in line with CIDA priorities like maternal, newborn, and child health – pile up awaiting ministerial approval. Arguing that this suits the government of the day perfectly as their top priority is deficit reduction rather than aid, my former colleague paints a bleak picture of the priorities of the leadership within Canada’s aid agency.  Through even the informal freezing of these programs, CIDA is wilfully under-spending its precious aid budget in some of the most complex and deserving of its recipient partner countries.

See previously: The quiet cuts


A quiet cut?

  1. Daily Mail – 10 Great Myths About Foreign Aid:

    1) The economist Peter Bauer famously said aid transfers cash from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. His words have been underlined by scores of studies that found idealism tempered by harsh reality.

    Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo revealed the West had given more than half a trillion pounds to Africa, but over the past three decades the most aid-dependent recipients saw negative annual growth rates.

    Haiti is another example. It was given official aid of more than £6 billion — four times as much per person as Europe received under the Marshall plan for post-war reconstruction — in the 50 years before last year’s earthquake. Private aid poured in as well, with more charities operating in Haiti per capita than any other place on the globe. Despite this, income fell by a third.

    2) When countries are given more than half their income, they have less incentive to respond to citizens’ needs. Harvard Medical School found local spending on health fell when health-related aid was given in sub-Saharan Africa.This means we pay for schools and hospitals, enabling politicians to steal vast sums or fritter away revenues on arms and security (usually sold by the West, with bribes involved).

    They win elections through bribery or violence rather than improved public services, while innovation is stifled and local entrepreneurs are driven out of business by dumped goods and cheap money. The result is that aid corrodes, rather than builds, civil society, as senior charity officials have admitted to me.

    • Copyright infringement flagged.

    • Whether or not any of what you’ve posted is true, you’ve jumped ahead a step. There’s been no debate on whether or not the funding is money well spent.

      “…the decision to not spend these funds was not debated in Parliament, not reported to Parliament or its budget office, and most obviously not debated publicly.”

      We don’t know if this is a principled stand on the part of the government or an accounting error (which apparently can happen from time to time, or so I’ve heard…).

      • I agree. Taxpayers are ignorant of facts and that’s how the government likes it. Pols in Canada are gormless, they don’t say much about anything, and the public is ignorant because of pols refusal to debate ideas and release facts/stats.

    • CIDA isn’t primarily an aid agency. It’s a development agency. So it’s not unloading bags of food and things, it’s doing research on local projects, supporting elections, helping people start their own businesses, encouraging trade between Canada and developing countries etc. It’s actually pretty good at this (or was).

      Maybe you should read more than one article before you cut and paste with minimal attribution?

      • The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) was formed in 1968 by the Canadian government under Pierre Trudeau.
        CIDA administers foreign aid programs in developing countries, and
        operates in partnership with other Canadian organizations in the public
        and private sectors as well as other international organizations.

        And guess who was the first head of CIDA……….Maurice Strong, the father of the Rio Earth Conference and Glo-Bull Warming.

        Another waste of taxpayer dollars.

        • Whether not it’s a waste isn’t the point. There was never any discussion/debate about whether or not it’s a waste. We don’t even know for sure that the government thinks it’s a waste. If the money wasn’t spent there, where was it spent? Kept in the bank? ‘Wasted’ in some other fashion? For being (apparent) sticklers for oversight, you Conservatives sure don’t seem to be fussy about how things are tracked.

          (Oh, and as an aside, your Conservative government officially believes in glo-bull warming.)

  2. This bunch will apparently stop at nothing in order to balance the books by 2015, even if it means gutting vital services like S&R or food inspection.

    The sale of public assets can’t be far behind. A lick of paint, a “FOR SALE” sign on the lawn and, voilà, Canada Post and/or CBC disappear into the maws of the private sector.

    And Conbots everywhere will, no doubt, be applauding.

    • A government that wants to balance the budget? Say if ain’t so!

      Too bad they don’t. Just transferring the waste from one area to another.