In yet another sign that, for Stephen Harper, profits come before people, the Globe and Mail reports that Ottawa is signaling a radical shift in foreign aid:
The federal government is signalling a profound shift in its approach to foreign aid that could see Canada’s international development agency align itself more closely with the private sector and work more explicitly to promote Canada’s interests abroad.
A recent House of Commons committee report suggests that CIDA partner with private corporations:
Stephen Brown, who teaches international development at the University of Ottawa, said CIDA has not dramatically shifted its spending toward private-sector partnerships. “But in terms of signals and signs of things to come, [the shift] is quite profound,” he said.
Last year, the aid agency matched three mining companies with NGOs to work on jobs training, education and clean water projects in specific African and Latin American mining communities. CIDA says the strategy will help leverage corporate investments to bolster development goals, while critics suggest it leads the agency away from its core strategy.
Dr. Brown said some partnerships with the private sector can be useful, but questioned Canada’s eagerness to work with the extractive industry when mining rarely offers much benefit to the communities in which it occurs. “If our real goal is poverty reduction, that’s not the strategy we would choose,” he said.
The foreign aid initiative isn't surprising. After all, poverty reduction at home isn't one of Harper's goals. Why would he try to reduce poverty abroad?
He is, however, being true to form. He is corporate Canada's best friend.