Le Devoir’s Alec Castonguay has a great story today about Harper starting to lay the foundations of his legacy, a central pillar of which will be a new democracy-promotion agency. Its central mandate will be to smooth the transition to democracy in former dictatorships or authoritarian states by promoting the creation and flourishing of new political parties.
Minister for Democratic reform is said to be preparing to introduce a bill in January, having just received a report from a group of four people tasked with setting out the priorities of this new organization. The leader of the group was – get this – Tom Axworthy. It is to be a publicly-funded, non-partisan agency, and will look to foster democratic institutions in countries such as Haiti, Afghanistan, Cuba and Zimbabwe.
Not everyone in the demcoracy/Human Rights NGO community is happy. Why build another agency when there are a bunch, already functioning, that could simply be expanded? And will the money for this agency just cannibalize pre-existing budgets?