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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

4:55 p.m.

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

Stephen Brown

You are asking a question about the operations and about who is going to benefit from this kind of support. If you look at the website for the IAMGOLD project in Burkina Faso, you see it clearly. It says there that training the workers will, in part, benefit the mining companies.

When I met with the vice-president of IAMGOLD, he told me that this was incorrect. He told me that the industry was not going to directly benefit from the training. Then I read in the Globe and Mail that IAMGOLD was going to hire 500 trainees. So you can see that there is a direct link. My conclusion is that, if IAMGOLD, or any other mining company, needed workers, the company would have paid for the workers to be trained.

Now, CIDA and the Canadian taxpayer are going to be paying for the training on behalf of a private company. In addition, IAMGOLD people have confirmed to me that, if, when developing a mine, they destroy a forest, the company is required to reforest the exact same area. That is all part of the calculations, even before reinvestment agreements are signed.

That being the case, why should CIDA subsidize the reforestation since the private company is required to do so. Is that not a form of subsidy?

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Dean Allison

Thank you very much. We're all done here, but Mr. Eyking, did you have one quick question before we wrap up?

5 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

My question is this, I guess. There's a surreal thing that's happened to our international aid. In the last six months we've had 100 NGOs thrown under the bus because they didn't have the same ideology as the Conservatives. What happens now is that we have so many winners, a handful of winners...whether they have the inside track or they had the ideology to get what they want—and many of them are in Quebec. All of these NGOs are sitting back with people who are donating to them, all of these volunteers, and you have all these recipients, villages in countries out there needing their help. What do they do? Do they sit back and say, “In order for us to join this Conservative train, are we going to have to find a company to come join us so we can get the credibility to somehow get to the PMO to get signed up?”

Do you think these NGOs are going to have to change the way they do things, or are they just going to have to get out of the business?

5 p.m.

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

Dr. Stephen Brown

I agree with you. NGOs are being pushed into the arms of mining companies if CIDA is cutting off their funds. They're cutting off their funds if they critique mining or natural resource exploitation in Canada and abroad. We've seen a pattern that those are very often the ones that are being cut off. We've seen a silencing of NGOs in response to the recent budget cuts. Only Oxfam and CCIC publicly objected—and this is very surprising—to the fact that the development budget was being cut.

So yes, they're being deprived of public funds, and the message they're getting—even if that isn't on the CIDA website—is that if they want to get money, they'd better stop criticizing the Canadian government, and it would be helpful for them to partner with Canadian multinational corporations.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Dean Allison

Thank you all very much.

That's all the time we have. I want to thank Mr. Brown and Mr. Shariff for providing some great discussion here today amongst all the members.

Thank you very much for being here. I'm going to suspend the meeting so we can clear the room and go in camera. Thank you.

[Proceedings continue in camera]