Canada's Funding Decisions Claim New Victim

A protest against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2006 for supporting the military operations in Afghanistan led by the U.S. Reminiscent of how he was labeled then, Harper, according to one development expert, follows the politics of George Bush in his government's treatment of non-governmental organizations that do not agree with the administration. Photo by: Sheila Steele on Flickr

The Canadian Council for International Co-operation, an umbrella group of the country’s aid agencies, says it will lay off staff and sell office space after its funding ran out in March.

CCIC has been a vocal critic against the Conservative Party’s plan to freeze international development funding for five years and its decision to suppress the budget of another aid group, KAIROS. Recently, several NGOs have alleged that the Canadian government was shutting out regime-critical organizations, such as women’s groups that are funding abortion-related services.

“The CCIC is reputable, and intelligent, and principled and analytic, and would be of a tremendous help as it has been over the years to the formation of government policy,” said former U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis.

The organization has been receiving funds from the government since the 1960s and derives more than half of its USD2.3 million annual budget from CIDA.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is denying claims that his government is withholding funds to certain NGOs due to political reasons. Rather, he explained, the government is considering direct funding to poor countries.

“We want to make sure that those aid dollars are spent as effectively as possible,” Harper notes.

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    Kristine Ballad

    As Devex staff writer, Kristine focuses on breaking news from around the globe, and on Philippine development in particular. She served more than half of her working years in Philippine government, working as public information officer and as writer at the House of Representatives.