Agency changes threaten programs

Canadians can point with pride to saving millions of lives through programs such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria.

To the Editor,

Canadians can point with pride to our great success in saving millions of lives through programs such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, and the Global Alliance for vaccines and immunizations.

These kinds of initiatives are simple, transparent and cost effective, and show that foreign aid can work wonders.

But this year we learned that the Conservative government plans to roll the Canadian International Development Agency into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

This is happening at the same time as the agency’s new emphasis in promoting the development of foreign resources by Canadian mining companies.

These changes increase my worry that CIDA will lose its way.

Will we throw away immunization programs to bolster corporate returns? Will maternal and child aid be reduced in the name of CEO bonuses? Are these changes intended to help the world’s poor – or Canadian shareholders?

In government there is always room for new approaches and improvement, but through these changes it is imperative that Minister John Baird and Minister Julian Fantino maintain CIDA’s core mandate of poverty reduction and assistance to the world’s poorest.

Nathaniel Poole

Victoria