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Budget bill will reduce government accountability for Canadian foreign aid

By Stephen Brown and Hunter McGill      

The Trudeau government is stealthily trying to water down the already weak Official Development Assistance Accountability Act rather than strengthen it.

The office of International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, pictured heading to Question Period on March 1, has defended proposed changes to Canada’s foreign aid spending requirements, saying they’ll harmonize reporting schedules and make it easier for Canada to align with international standards. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

To help ensure that Canadian foreign aid is spent on supporting people in need in developing countries, rather than things like white elephants and Canadian commercial interests, Canada has legislation that mandates a focus on poverty reduction. The legislation also seeks to ensure that the government takes into account the perspectives of poor people and Canada’s human rights obligations when approving aid spending. The law is actually quite weak, but rather than strengthen it, the Trudeau government is stealthily trying to water it down even further.

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