Thank you very much.
I want to take a moment to ask a question which I think we're all thinking about. In 2010 when the U.K. did its review to respond to some criticism that it had wandered off and become risk averse, as was suggested by some of my colleagues this morning, it became very business oriented. I was just reading the comments by the Honourable Andrew Mitchell when he was the minister in charge. He said that the CDC would be a development-maximizing not a profit-maximizing enterprise that would become bolder and more pioneering in the approach to innovation and risk.
Perhaps you could give us a little insight. Does the CDC lead the world in the whole idea of pioneering the approach to innovation and risk? As these organizations move along in their mandates it seems that they become less risk averse.
If this organization that we're creating is not at all capable in managing risk, then we won't be able to succeed in our mandate that politicians are looking for, which is to be in the poorest countries and working with the poorest people, who happen to be women and children, generally. That's the argument of the feminist agenda, that when you're in the poorest countries, you find that the women are usually the poorest. They don't go to school. They're given usually the manual tasks, and the story goes on and on.
From the committee's perspective, there are two things. Are there places in the world where they are very much into managing or having a mandate for risk? Of course, politicians are risk averse themselves, because the opposition will come after the government and say, “Look at how much money you lost in this organization because you took too much risk.”
If the business community isn't going to go into these poorest of the poorest countries and the government believes in the ODA and the whole development assistance initiative, then we have to find a way to converse, be transparent and accountable, and make sure that the country and the people in it support the amount of risk that an organization like this is allowed to take.
Perhaps you could give us a sense of whether since the mandate was changed in 2010 there is a bigger debate among politicians and among citizens in the U.K. about risk and the importance of it, because that means you don't do as well on the percentage basis. I'd be very interested in your comments on that, because with every organization—and this is my 20th year in politics—we start off with a significant amount of risk and as time goes on, it seems that governments and/or bureaucracy whittle away at that and make it less risk averse.
We have a federal development bank that we used to be very proud of and its mandate was changed so it does nothing in rural areas like mine anymore. It's just like a regular bank, but when it first was created, it was intended to take risk where banks wouldn't go in rural parts of Canada. I just use that as an example.
This is very much the same kind of thing. From a political perspective I need to make sure that my Conservative friends and my NDP friends accept the risk and don't beat up on us in Parliament about the risk that we would take. I'm very interested in that. I think that's important because the minister just announced our feminist policy, which means that in the 30 countries we're focusing on exceptionally it will be a higher risk because it's poorer and women are involved. I would be very interested in your comments on that.
Ms. Noble, do you want to start or do you want to work backwards and come back?