In light of Minister Bev Oda’s resignation, many have commented on her record as a politician, a minister and an expert on expensive orange juice. However, what has been missing from this commentary is what has happened to our foreign aid under her watch.
Under Ms. Oda, Canada’s contribution to foreign aid has declined in absolute and percentage terms, and has moved away from aid for the poorest of the poor and towards countries that can offer political advantage. We are now spending $3.5 billion a year providing little to no help to those who need it most.
In my eyes this is distinctly un-Canadian. There has been a longstanding belief in our country that aid should not be about what’s in our interest, instead it is about doing the right thing and using our aid dollars the most effective way possible. Minister Oda and the Conservative Government had the opportunity over the past four years to do just that, and to make substantial contribution to the world. Instead they chose to use foreign aid to push their narrow-minded political and economic agenda.
As Canadians, we trust our government to spend our money on worthy causes and meaningful initiatives. But it’s hard to make good spending decisions about the poorest of the poor when you’re drinking orange juice at luxury hotels like the Savoy.
MP John McKay, Liberal Party of Canada