Is this foreign aid?

by Aaron Wherry

Elizabeth Payne wonders what’s going on at CIDA.

Oda announced four CIDA projects – totalling $26.7 million – in September that will “help developing countries in Africa and South America manage their natural resources to ensure they are the source of long-term sustainable benefits to their people.” Perhaps. But these projects also help highly profitable Canadian mining companies. CIDA will provide money to help Canadian companies Rio Tinto Alcan, Barrick Gold and Iamgold create corporate social responsibility projects with aid agencies near mining projects…

Brown calls it “scandalous” that some of the most profitable companies in Canada are, in effect, supported by foreign aid dollars to set up programs that compensate for the negative effects of mining.




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Is this foreign aid?

  1. “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini. 

    • Do you have problems with fascism or with Cons?

      Globe/Mail:

      The problem of putting Canada into the Chinese spotlight is hardly new. That was the purpose, after all, of former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s four separate Team Canada trade missions to China. Utilizing face-to-face communication – and a force of nearly 500 Canadian political and business representatives – Team Canada made a splash during its first visit in November of 1994 …. 

      CBC Archives:

      Saskatchewan’s labour movement has never been one to back down from a fight, and wage and price controls are well worth a protest. Two years ago the Trudeau government passed legislation restricting wage boosts in Canada in a bid to control inflation. The effects of the law were so unpopular that one million workers mobilized for a one-day strike on Oct. 14, 1976.

        • Careful, you might get a P.J. O’Rourke quote for that…

      • Cons are fascists…

    • The very first act Stephen Harper tabled as PM banned corporate donations, and even the most ardent Grit would concede that current Liberal misfortunes are largely due to their inability to score juicy corporate donations that sustained them for the past 140+ years.

      Fascism that, Doug.

  2. It is indeed foreign aid for Canadian mining companies. It’s also a gift from taxpayers to highly-profitable corporations to help reduce the cost of the environmental and social damage they do to local populations as a result of their operations.

  3. They don’t even try to hide it anymore.

    • Admirable.  It should never have been hidden.

      • Party above country forever and always, CPC supporters! 

      • Ahh yes, a return to the wonderful days of exploitation and colonialism.

        No wonder Harper is a monarchist.

  4. NGO types are just being whiny beyotchs because they are worried they might have to get proper jobs and actually contribute to society. Letting people around world produce/earn their own money, and not being dependent on foreigners for their welfare, is actually a good thing and what we want.

    My paternal grandfather was removed from school when he was 11 during great depression in UK and sent to work in coal mine because his family couldn’t afford the expense of feeding able bodied person. Now, majority of us in Western World don’t do anything remotely backbreaking like breaking rocks underground at 5 am and majority of children stay in school until they at least finish high school.

    Mining is honest work that will lead to improved society if wealth is managed correctly. 

    Lao Tzu ~ Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    PJ O’Rourke ~ Eat The Rich:

    Economics is not zero sum. There is no fixed amount of wealth. That is, if you have too many slices of pizza, I don’t have to eat the box. Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this is at the bottom of most bad economic thinking.

    True, at any given moment, there is only so much wealth to go around. But wealth is based on productivity. Without productivity, there wouldn’t be any economics, or any economic thinking, good or bad, or any pizza, or anything else. We would sit around and stare at rocks, and maybe later have some for dinner.

    • Because unless it’s ‘back-breaking’ it isn’t real work…especially at 11.

      And this is going to improve society. LOL

    • This comment bears no relation to the article.

      • Harper is trying to build civil societies while aid people are trying to encourage wars and corruption. Harper = butter, NGOs = guns.  

        Am I on topic now? 

        Ian Birrell ~ 10 Myths About Foreign Aid:

        Aid Works - 

        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.

        Slew Of Statistics Proves Aid Is Working - 

        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.

        • “Harper is trying to build civil societies while aid people are trying to encourage wars and corruption.

          Am I on topic now?”

          Uh, I suppose this comment is closer to the topic, but you’re getting further and further from reality.

  5. This has been going on since the beginning of foreign aid. If helping a foreign country can also benefit Canadian firms, it’s a win-win.

    I know that most of the lefties here think that foreign-aid should just be blank-checks, or to provide abortions in countries that outlaw it, or to give heroin addicts free needles and a safe-injection site. But thankfully governments of all stripes have had better ideas.

    • If helping a foreign country can also benefit Canadian firms, it’s a win-win.

      Sure, but is there not a difference between foreign aid benefiting Canadian companies and foreign aid being given to Canadian companies?

      Also, regardless of the merits of the program, the question being asked here isn’t “should this type of program be happening”, is it?  I believe the question is actually “should money being given to domestic companies be considered ‘foreign aid’”?  The headline isn’t “Is this a good idea?”, it’s “Is this foreign aid?”

      Also, could you point to a link about the needle sharing program or programs that the Department of Foreign Affairs and/or CIDA is funding?

  6. “CIDA has set aside nearly half a million dollars for a third project – in which World Vision Canada will work with Barrick Gold in Peru to “increase the income and standard of living of 1,000 families affected by mining operations.” Barrick Gold says it also contributed $500,000 to the project.”

    Great idea – Munk is matching contribution $$$s.

    • World Vision is a religious organization.

        • Which leads to ‘Rice Christians’….and hate

          • Yes, evil, evil Christians…

            “World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. As followers of Jesus, we are motivated by God’s love for all people regardless of race, religion, gender or ethnicity. “

          • Making people convert in order to get food IS evil.

            And that’s what most ‘christian’ aid agencies have done.

          • @OriginalEmily1:disqus 
            You’re way off base with this one Emily.  World Vision is not that sort of organisation.

          • Coming up next:  Emily explains why Mother Teresa and Gandhi were evil.  And why your small children should hate Santa Claus and Barney the Dinosaur.

      • “The projects include one run by Plan Canada in partnership with Iamgold to provide training in Burkina Faso and another by the World University Service of Canada to provide training in Ghana, in partnership with Rio Tinto Alcan.”

        These OK with you???

        • I don’t object to any aid agency as long as religion isn’t involved.

  7. Ah glass beads and baubles for the natives and gold for the masters. 

    Gotta keep on greasing those wheels of commerce…long as their our wheels.

    • So you are opposed to Corporate Social Responsibility programs?

      • Not particularly. But i do have objections to tp funds going to mining companies that already have PR problems s at best and the possibility of far far worse problems with local community groups.

      • Is it still simply a “Corporate Social Responsibility” program if it’s being subsidized by taxpayers?


  8. World Vision Canada will work with Barrick Gold in Peru to “increase the income and standard of living of 1,000 families affected by mining operations”. 

    I hate to be cynical here, but could this not be seen simply as the Canadian International Development Agency and an NGO helping a private mining company to pay off the locals to not complain about the damage that mining operations are doing to their homeland?  

    I’m not even 100% certain that I object to resource development companies giving money and other material support to foreign nationals in order to ease the company’s ability to get concessions on resource development issues, and to help keep the locals from protesting the damage done.  And I CERTAINLY think that mining companies should compensate locals who are displaced or disrupted by massive mining operations.  I’m not even sure I’d necessarily have an issue with the government of Canada subsidizing that type of activity by the mining companies either (although the whole idea of government subsidies for successful and profitable mining and oil and gas companies seems LUDICROUS).  However, I really don’t think I like categorizing this sort of corporate welfare as “foreign aid”.  It feels kinda like referring to the F-35 purchase as “foreign aid” because it’s going to help the U.S. defence industry combat unemployment in America.

    • Focus on this part “Barrick Gold says it also contributed $500,000 to the project”.

      It would take too long to give all the examples of how Canadian Resource companies go about setting up shop in other countries.  There are so many ways to compensate the host country – royalties, infrastructure development, jobs, schools, hospitals – UN says no bribes.   Needless to say it is a dog and pony show in some countries.  Keep in mind that the Canadian companies come with privately raised $$$ with no guarantee they will find a worthwhile resource or be nationalized by the host country if the political winds change.

      • Let’s focus on the previous sentence: “CIDA has set aside nearly half a million dollars for a third project – in which World Vision Canada will work with Barrick Gold in Peru to “increase the income and standard of living of 1,000 families affected by mining operations.”"

        If these heroes of Canadian business (with no guarantee that their business won’t fail!) have affected 1,000 families in Peru with their mining operations, why is it up to Canadian taxpayers to help make it right?

      • I’ve got to say that I think I’m with TJCook on this one.  Yes, Barrick Gold is contributing $500,000 of their own money to advance their private business interests in Peru.  I think that many people would argue, however, that ALL of the money used to advance Barrick Gold’s private business interests in Peru should come from Barrick Gold.  

        That said, the world is what it is, and of course governments are free to subsidize private businesses, even profitable private businesses, whether we like it or not.  I’m just not sure it should be coming from funds controlled by the Minister of International Cooperation and be couched as “foreign aid”.  When we give taxpayer money to support governments and groups abroad, that’s “foreign aid”.  When we give taxpayer money to support profitable Canadian companies abroad, that’s “corporate welfare”.  There are even circumstances where I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with corporate welfare going to giant profitable mining companies.  This might even be one of those circumstances.  My main issue is that taxpayer money given to Barrick Gold to help smooth the way in Peru ought to be referred to honestly as an effort to support a Canadian business abroad, not as “foreign aid”, and it ought to be coming from programs run under the Minister of Industry, or maybe the Minister of International Trade, not from the Minister of International Cooperation and the Canadian International Development Agency.

        I just don’t want an impression forming around the world that the Canadian International Development Agency is as interested in helping out a multinational mining company that made almost $1.4 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2011 (a 45% increase) as they are in “international development”.  When our PM is giving a speech about Canada’s impressive commitments to “foreign aid”, I don’t want somebody in the back of the room to snicker, and to wonder aloud how much of said commitment went to shilling for giant, profitable, multinational corporations.

        • TJC & LKO

          I think you are reading the word “affecting” in the negative.  Barrick Gold is doing this over and above it’s contractual agreements with Peru and the local community.  One of the miners I hold is participating in the “wheelchairs program” where they ship them in with their mining supplies and give them to locals with disabilities.  This really is a win-win as the mining companies are there for 10-30 years and are part of the community.  Here is the press release.

          “The main goal of the project is to help local authorities convert mining revenue into sustainable development initiatives that help diversify the local economy. Barrick and CIDA are each contributing C$500,000 over the life of the three-year project, which runs through December 2014. Barrick’s funding will support the income-generating activities of the project, while CIDA’s funding will support government capacity-building activities.”

           http://barrickbeyondborders.com/2012/01/barrick-gold-and-cida-co-funding-new-world-vision-project-in-peru/ 

          • It’s possible I’m too cynical, but I can’t help but wondering if mining companies are spending money improving the lives of locals after adversely affecting the lives of locals with their mining operations.

            I guess I’m just jaded, but it feels to me a bit like a mining company taking credit for their large contributions to environmental remediation development while not mentioning that their giant strip mine is the reason the remediation is needed in the first place.

          • But LKO , CSR programs typically aren’t simply, or even primarily, aimed at remediation.   Do some reading, for Crissakes.

          • See the word “like” there? I was making an analogy.

            A CSR program that is designed to improve the lot of people who’s lives have been adversely affected by the corporation’s mining activities is LIKE an environmental remediation program designed to improve the damage done to the environment by a company’s actions.

            All I’m saying is that the cynical side of me is not going to give too much credit to a mining company for setting up a program to improve the lives of people displaced or otherwise harmed by the company’s own mining activities any more than I give Exxon credit for all the money they spent cleaning up Alaska’s coastline after the Valdez.

          • I think you are reading the word “affecting” in the negative.

            I should be reading it as positive? So, are you suggesting that Barrick is spending this money on a program to assist people who’s lives were affected POSITIVELY by their mining? Wouldn’t that be like a company offering refunds to customers who were satisfied with their purchase?

  9. So if CIDA’s on board with them, I guess it’s safe to assume none of these Canadian companies will be engaging in any “corporate social responsibility” that promotes birth control in their host countries.

  10. Well, where to begin.  Perhaps Barrick, who some have pointed out is a highly profitable company could help raise the living standards of communities affected by their mining operations in Peru by maybe, I dunno, paying their miners better wages?  So they can support their families?  Buy stuff in their communities and support local businesses?

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