'We would like to ask our friend Canada to come back to Africa'

Glen Pearson reports from the foreign affairs committee.

“In all my career, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Bob Rae muttered as he looked over an unusual array of 19 African ambassadors appearing as witnesses at Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.  Included in the impressive gathering were representatives from the 8 African nations who had been targeted by Canada to have a large percentage of their development assistance cut … Juliette Yameogo from Burkina Faso was the true champion of the meeting, challenging committee members as to why the cut nations had never been consulted prior to a press conference by CIDA in Ottawa. Almost all of them had discovered news of the cuts through the media. ”Canada was a friend who understood the challenges of Africa,” she began. ”For us, Canada is a country where its citizens stand solidly with oppressed people both at home and elsewhere in the world. In international gatherings, Canada has always stood shoulder to shoulder with Africa in defense of our continent’s interest.” The moment of truth came when she asked: “Are we to believe that our long time friend, Canada, is leaving?”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.