Canadian PM Backs Beverley Oda in Altered CIDA Document Scandal

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo by: Ted Buracas / CC BY

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has thrown his support behind Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda, who is under fire after admitting she ordered the modification of a Canadian International Development Agency memorandum concerning the funding of a non-governmental organization.

In a testimony in December, Oda told the House of Commons that she did not know who modified the document. She retracted this statement on Tuesday (Feb. 14) and said she ordered that addition of the word “not” in between “you” and “approve” in a CIDA document recommending the approval of some 7.09 million Canadian dollars (USD7.03 million) for Kairos, a church-based organization.

>> Beverley Oda: I Ordered Modification of CIDA Memo

“The CIDA officials did forward a document in which they sought approval of the recommendation for funding of the Kairos proposal. But ultimately the decision to provide funding was mine ― or, to not provide funding ― was mine as minister of international co-operation,” Oda said, as quoted by CBC News.

Some legislators are pushing to have Oda cited in contempt for misleading the House of Commons, first, through her portrayal of the decision to cancel funding for Kairos as a routine matter handled by CIDA, and second, for her December testimony saying she did not know who modified the document.

>> Canadian House Speaker on Alleged Tampered CIDA Document: ‘Very Troubling’

Harper defended Oda, saying it was within her power to overrule CIDA’s decision, The Globe and Mail reports.

The Globe and Mail, in its Feb. 15 editorial, urged Oda to “apologize unequivocally to the Foreign Affairs committee and explain the decision-making process involved.”

The minister committed a “serious transgression” by misleading the committee in her December testimony, the editorial reads.

“Ms. Oda needs to sit down again with the Foreign Affairs committee and shed some light on that ‘not,’ and on her explanations. It’s not just in Canada’s interest. The developing countries that she so often criticizes for a lack of transparency will be watching,” the Globle and Mail adds.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.