John McKay, Toronto Star Editorial, Jan 24, 2008
Link: Redirect Afghan Aid
Bill C-293 would force CIDA to be more accountable
Your editorial is disturbingly accurate and speaks to the larger issue about the problems inherent in the way Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) has functioned for a long time.
Particularly troublesome is the fact that whatever information is provided by this agency is usually so incoherent and outdated as to be virtually useless.
Members of Parliament, as well as members of the general public, are continually frustrated in their attempts to obtain information from CIDA, making it extremely difficult to hold it to account. In fact, the Auditor General has repeatedly taken CIDA to task for its unsatisfactory accounting practices.
CIDA’s dysfunctionality can be remedied in part by Bill C-293, my Private Member’s Bill, a modest attempt to help CIDA focus its efforts on alleviating poverty. Bill C-293 would also compel the agency to account for its ODA expenditures in a thorough and timely manner.
Specifically, the bill would require the minister to report within 12 months of the fiscal year end, surely a modest expectation by any measure; yet, for their own purely partisan reasons, the Conservatives have chosen to stall the bill in the Senate.