"The modern conservative," John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, "is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." He might have added that modern conservatives take extreme measures to hide that exercise.
That is why, in yesterday's budget speech, Jim Flaherty didn't mention that CIDA was being folded into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nor did he mention the change in the agency's mission. CIDA will now tie foreign aid to Canadian business development abroad. Aid will not be given on the basis of need. It will be given on a simple criterion: leveraging Canadian corporate profits.
Tonda MacCharles writes in the Toronto Star that:
The budget plan says the Conservative government will continue “to make international development and humanitarian assistance central to our foreign policy” and that “core development assistance will remain intact.”
But non-governmental organizations like Oxfam raised concerns that Ottawa’s allocation of aid “will be driven by Canada’s self-interest in foreign policy, and the government’s economic and trade agenda rather than poverty alleviation.”
“Foreign Affairs is not in the business of reducing poverty,” said Anthony Scoggins, Oxfam’s director of international programs. “We risk losing the expertise, focus, effectiveness — and results — that CIDA staff brought to this goal.”
The Harperites worship at the corporate altar. Salvation lies in profit. Is it any wonder that our international reputation has fallen so far -- like our ranking in the Human Development Index?
It's all about selfishness.