Evidence of meeting #36 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was cida.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Stephen Brown  Associate Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, As an Individual
  • Khalil Shariff  Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

They have a pricing system there to help them with price stability, like a marketing board? Would they have storage facilities made?

4:10 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Khalil Shariff

It's not quite a marketing board. What it is, effectively, is a company saying to the farmers, “We're going to give you some microloans in order for you to upgrade the capacity you have to improve the quality of production. If you don't have high-quality production, you can't export to Europe. We're going to invest in your capacity to have high-quality output. We're going to help with the transport of your goods to market. We're going to give you a price guarantee with some upside if the prices are better, but we're always going to give you a floor”—

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

A base, yes.

4:15 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Khalil Shariff

—“and this way, you can plan for your future.”

Then what Frigoken does is it invests in a processing plant centrally. It gathers all the produce, brings it centrally, and then processes it in a way that is in accordance with what their marketing specialists are telling them will sell in Europe. This way, the farmers get the benefit of being able to get European prices for their goods, which otherwise they would not be able to do.

There are many other experiments. Honey is another area where this has been done very well in east Africa.

This is the idea. Aggregating thousands of small-scale farmers to enable them to produce high-quality surplus, and then providing them with the support in marketing and transport in order to export their goods.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

Thank you very much.

I guess that's time? Thank you, Chair.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dean Allison

Thank you.

We're now going to start our second round. I think we have time for a full round.

Let's start with Mr. Williamson for five minutes, please.

May 7th, 2012 / 4:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you, Chair.

Mr. Shariff, I would like a quick clarification. There was a point that Mr. Brown made, that your holding company does partner with government and receives funding. I see from the notes here, in fact, that you have worked with government and used tax dollars in your portfolio.

4:15 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Khalil Shariff

I would just make the distinction, Mr. Chairman, that the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, which owns these companies, takes very little grant money from governments. We have very significant not-for-profit activities in health, education, rural development, and microfinance, etc., where we've worked with CIDA and many other donors for many, many years.

The one area where the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development—the private sector arm—does take public money, is...there are many western donors that have private sector agencies that provide concessional debt or favourable equity in order to spur that kind of work.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development does work with governments. Canada does not have that kind of vehicle, but the governments who do often work with—

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Presumably, that's being done because you have certain expertise on the ground that governments lack. They don't have the infrastructure and it's more efficient. It's better value for taxpayers to work through your—

4:15 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Khalil Shariff

I think there are certain goals they are seeking to achieve and they can achieve them through these companies.

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Professor Brown, we're going to find some agreement here. First of all, I was pleased with your statement that more money doesn't necessarily mean better results on the ground. I, too, get a little concerned when governments accept money from government.

I have a question for you. In the international sense, you said, and would you agree that even domestically here, it's not good policy for governments to be handing out tax dollars to business?

4:15 p.m.

Associate Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Stephen Brown

I think under exceptional circumstances it is good policy for ensuring things like access. For instance, to subsidize access to broadcasting or the Internet in the north or for postal services and things like that, I think government involvement would—

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

What about an auto bailout?

4:15 p.m.

Associate Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, As an Individual

Dr. Stephen Brown

I could only answer that on a case-by-case basis, but—

4:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Well, we had a big one in this country. Like the one with GM—what's your opinion of that?