Toronto Liberal MP John McKay’s long attempt to force the government to ensure that Canada’s foreign aid is targeted directly at reducing poverty is about to pay off.
McKay’s private member’s bill requiring the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to give priority to the perspective of the world’s poor is expected to receive final approval in the House of Commons today.
Under Bill C-293, which McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood) calls “The Better Aid Bill,” the CIDA minister must guarantee that the vast bulk of Canada’s overseas aid, now $4.4 billion annually, contributes to poverty reduction and is consistent with international human rights standards.
McKay explained that Canada is not getting maximum results abroad because the projects supported by its foreign assistance money run the gamut from security provision to judicial support to helping refugees.
“We’ve been all things to all people at all times and as a consequence we’ve been nothing to everybody,” he said.