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March 22, 2013

Globe & Mail

Thursday’s announcement that the Canadian International Development Agency will be folded into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade leaves critical questions about Canada’s aid policy unanswered.

First, regardless of whether aid policy is run from CIDA or a new mega-ministry, will our development spending prioritize the reduction of poverty or the promotion of Canadian commercial interests? Ottawa has recently pushed for the latter. In November, International Development Minister Julian Fantino signalled that Canadian aid policy would place greater emphasis on partnerships with the private sector and working to promote Canadian interests abroad.

There is nothing wrong with public-private partnerships in development. On the contrary, creating conditions for sustainable, market-driven growth in developing societies seems to be the single best remedy for poverty. Whether such partnerships should be geared towards advancing Canadian commercial interests...

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Roland Paris
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

University of Ottawa

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