Asia: Canada’s next aid focus?

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. A leaked document provides clues on Canada’s future aid policies and seems to solidify the country’s aid for trade strategy. Photo by: Government of Canada

A leaked document provides clues on Canada’s future aid policies and seems to solidify the country’s aid for trade strategy.

CBC News, a government-run broadcasting service, was able to get a copy of a supposed draft version of a “Canadian foreign policy plan.” While the leaked document contained only a “scant mention” of Canada as a foreign aid provider, it notes the country’s alleged intention to use the United Nations to help “provide Canada with vital opportunities” in engaging with emerging economies.

In addition, the document says: “While Canada may participate, with its allies, in international security missions for broader strategic or other reasons, security and development engagements in key countries of interest will seek to address Canada’s domestic security, economic and other priorities.”

The document also notes Canada’s supposed plan to increase engagement in Asia and boost its presence in Africa.

“The fact remains that, over time, African countries have the potential to challenge the likes of Brazil and China as major investment destinations,” the document says, according to CBC.

If proved authentic, the document could explain the Canadian International Development Agency’s actions this year. The agency ended several bilateral programs and reduced foreign aid in a number of countries. It also closed four offices inside the country in September.

The Canadian government declined to comment on the leaked document.

“We don’t comment on leaked documents,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s press secretary Rick Roth told CBC News. He only said that “Canada continues to pursue a principled foreign policy that is advancing Canadian interests and Canadian values.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.