Aid and Ebb Tide: A History of CIDA and Canadian Development by David R. Morrison

By David R. Morrison

Aid and Ebb Tide: A heritage of CIDA and Canadian improvement Assistance examines Canada’s combined checklist seeing that 1950 in moving over $50 billion in capital and services to constructing nations via ODA. It focuses particularly at the Canadian foreign improvement organization (CIDA), the association mainly liable for offering Canada’s improvement counsel. Aid and Ebb Tide demands a renewed and reformed Canadian dedication to improvement co-operation at a time whilst the space among the world’s richest and poorest has been widening alarmingly and hundreds of thousands are nonetheless being born into poverty and human lack of confidence.

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Beginning in 1989, when the deficit-cutting agenda took hold, development assistance was slashed more heavily than other federal program spending. Most industrial donors also cut back their aid, but Canada's free fall was staggering by comparison. From a respectable fifth within the OECD in ODA volume in the mid-1980s, Canada dropped to ninth in 1996, well behind much smaller Netherlands and Sweden and barely ahead of Denmark. 25 per cent that had earlier been feared. 40 Unless this trajectory is reversed, Canada's reputation as a generous aid-giver will be in tatters.

The president of CIDA has not only enjoyed the power and prestige of a deputy minister, but has often played a more public and visible role than the conventional Ottawa mandarin. This remained true even when the Agency was shifted from the general oversight of the secretary of state for External Affairs, the norm in the Trudeau and early Chretien years, to the specific responsibility of a junior minister during the Progressive Conservative administrations of 1979-80 and 1984-93 and again under the Liberals after 1996.

Multilateral assistance (except food aid) is free of procurement restrictions and less prone to manipulation for non-developmental purposes. As a result, despite strong criticisms over the years, multilateral agencies have been championed as vehicles for delivering "purer" development assistance and strengthening international solidarity. From a cautious and tight-fisted participant in the 1950s, Canada became an active supporter of multilateral assistance in the 1960s, when Ottawa real- Defining Canadian Development Assistance 21 ized that multilateralism could be pursued in the sphere of aid as well as security.

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