Skip to content

Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Foreign Affairs

Issue 3 - Evidence - Meeting of December 7, 2004

OTTAWA, Tuesday, December 7, 2004

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs met this day at 5:09 p.m. to examine the Performance Reports for the period ending March 31, 2004, of: a) Foreign Affairs Canada; b) International Trade Canada; and c) Canadian International Development Agency, tabled in the Senate on October 28, 2004.

Senator Peter A. Stollery (Chairman) in the Chair.


We are honoured to have the Honourable Aileen Carroll before the committee this afternoon. Accompanying the minister is Mr.Paul Thibault, President; Mr. Ric Cameron, Senior Vice-President; Mr. Denis Kingsley, Vice-President, Human Resources and Corporate Services Branch, all from the Canadian International Development Agency.

We are examining the performance reports for the period ending March31, 2004 of a) Foreign Affairs Canada; b) International Trade Canada; and c) Canadian International Development Agency, which were tabled in the Senate on October 28, 2004.

I read the Minister's statement this afternoon, and it appears that there is a fortuitous convergence happening in that the committee has decided to study Canadian policy in Africa. As members know, today I gave notice of that motion.

In that regard, members should receive a package of maps of Africa. We will be getting better maps, but this is what we have at the moment. These outline, to some degree, the religious makeup of the continent — Muslim, Christian, Animist and Hindu. There are certain tribal ethnic backgrounds and, of course, you will see the state boundaries.

As a young man, I was in 26 or 27 countries in colonial Africa for some years. From that experience I know that these maps are not as good as we can get, but at least honourable senators will have some idea of the geography of African countries.

Madame Carroll, I know you are very experienced at appearing before committees. Please make your opening statement and then members will have questions.

Hon. Aileen Carroll, P.C., M.P., Minister of International Cooperation: Before I begin my prepared remarks, I would tell you that we have recently partnered with Canadian Geographic and have produced a wonderful map. The focus is of a developing world. It does not have all of what you alluded to, but it is incredibly au courant. We at CIDA, as a team, would be delighted to provide your committee with a number of these. You will find them a most useful tool in the study you are undertaking.

The Chairman: We will certainly pass that around to the members.

Ms. Carroll: I thank you for your warm welcome. It is a pleasure for me to be able to join you. It is my first visit at the invitation of a committee of the Senate. I am delighted to have this opportunity.

I am here to discuss Canada's role in global development efforts. I believe that Canada is making, and will continue to make, a lasting difference in the world. Just a few weeks ago, while the Executive Director of the World Food Program, James Morris, was visiting Ottawa, he met with committees and described the Canadian International Development Agency as one of the most talented aid organizations in the world, calling it a national treasure. It was a great convergence of events. Knowing that I was coming to meet with you, I was delighted to have that quote to include.

As the report card in the 2003-2004 Departmental Performance Report shows, CIDA is doing a great job in meeting its commitments. We are working hard to make the agency the best it can be, to invest our aid resources where they can have the greatest possible impact.


Canada is committed to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. These goals represent a minimum for action on international development. They are a globally-agreed partnership between developing and developed countries based on mutual obligations. This government's 8 per cent increase per year leading to a doubling of our international assistance by 2010 is moving us in the right direction. But meeting those millenium development goals is not just about increased financing.

It is about targeted, focused efforts to help people help themselves. CIDA has been working hard to strengthen the effectiveness of our aid. That means focusing our support in countries and sectors where we know we have the expertise and resources to foster sustainable development. And in countries where they have the governance capacity to make sure our resources are put to good use. We have placed Africa — the continent where the needs are clearly the greatest — at the centre of our development efforts.


We have identified nine countries of focus, six of which are in Africa, and we are preparing to add others to this list. We are also looking at further refining our sectoral focus to four priority areas: health, particularly the fight against HIV/AIDS; basic education; governance; and private sector development. Private sector development that benefits the poor is absolutely needed to promote economic prosperity and sustainable development. Approximately 10 per cent of our budget is currently dedicated to this priority. CIDA is currently finalizing a strategy to strengthen our private sector development programs and to innovate in line with the United Nations Commission on The Private Sector and Development.

Africans have asked the international community for more investment, and we have responded with the Canada Fund for Africa to encourage commercial ventures. Canada has also shown leadership within the G8 and the donor community by putting an emphasis in making good quality primary education accessible to all. In 2000, by reallocating existing resources, Canada started the process of quadrupling its investment in basic education, again one of our two priority sectors. In June2002, we went even further, committing $100 million per year by 2005 to support basic education in Africa alone.

Approximately 11 per cent of our budget is dedicated to this priority. Along with education and economic growth, the third priority, good governance, is a prerequisite for sustainable development. In 2003-2004, one of the agency's largest areas of spending was governance, amounting to almost 18 per cent of our total development assistance. From building peace in fragile states to strengthening long-term governance capacity in more stable countries, governance is a means, as well as a goal, of development.

CIDA's programming involves a wide range of activities, supporting democracy, fair elections and parliaments, a fair and impartial judiciary, mechanisms to protect and to respect human rights, an engaged and effective civil society, an effective and transparent public sector, and a stable and reliable security system to protect people and resolve conflict fairly and peacefully. Governance is an important area of investment through the Canada Fund for Africa, which supports the New Partnership for African Development, or NEPAD as we more commonly know it, and the G8 Africa Action Plan.

Canada was the first donor to support the African peer review mechanism, arguably the most important and courageous component of NEPAD. It is a voluntary African-led component to assess governance, with the ultimate goal of strengthening governance practices across the continent.

We know that, without healthy people, however, our fourth area, development efforts, will have no lasting impact, which is why we have been stepping up efforts in taking a smart approach to fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. We are working to prevent more infections through education and research, while helping those already infected live longer and better lives by supporting treatment and care, as well as building capacity in developing countries to better deal with the pandemic.

This includes passing ground breaking legislation to enable the export of generic lower cost medications to countries in need.

Recent reports, I am sure all of you noted last week or the week just before the UN report on AIDS, showed that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the spread of this virus. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the pandemic has hit the hardest, two thirds of the new infections are among 15-to 24-year-old young women, and the vast majority of them are married women. That is why on World AIDS Day last week I went to Toronto for a very special event, and I was more than pleased to announce more than $100 million in investments to address HIV/AIDS and gender inequality. This increased funding builds on a very comprehensive approach already in place at CIDA to fight the spread of this disease. A full 20 per cent of our budget is dedicated to health initiatives, including reproductive health care and HIV/AIDS.

I look forward to your questions and we will chat further then. In all that we do, we are responding to the needs and priorities identified by our developing country partners. We are working closely with like-minded donor countries to harmonize our efforts, and we are coordinating with other government departments. CIDA has worked hard to change the way we do business. This work will be given new impetus and new focus by the international policy statement. It will mean making some tough choices to focus better Canada's aid program and we are engaged in and prepared to continue those.

I will wind up with a few last comments. Those tough choices will make a far more focussed aid program here in Canada.


But no one country can do it all. That is why Canada is a strong supporter of the multilateral system. Over 40 per cent of Official Development Assistance is channelled through multilateral organizations. For example, UN agencies are our first programming instrument when addressing humanitarian emergencies and post-conflict situations.

We are also increasingly involved in multi-stakeholder approaches at the program and sector levels in developing countries. We are working closely with our donor and country partners to reduce transaction costs and improve aid efficiency.

Making a lasting difference in the world means that CIDA needs to continue to evolve — to be innovative — and I think that we are doing just that. I look forward to our dialogue today.


The Chairman: Thank you. That was an excellent statement, and I thank you for it.

Senator Andreychuk: Thank you, minister, for accepting our invitation and for starting this dialogue on Africa. You have based most of your report on Africa, although CIDA does not exclusively work in that area. How, geographically, do you apportion your time? What is Canada's overall Africa policy into which CIDA fits? What role does Parliament or should Parliament play in making the choices that you talk about here? Those are the two broad policy questions that I have.

You mentioned the groundbreaking legislation that we passed last May. I agree with your description. I believe it was dealt with as a non-partisan issue. Everyone recognized the crisis and the need to overcome it. We also knew there would be difficulties, but there seemed to be a political will. While we have the groundbreaking legislation on generic drugs for Africa and elsewhere, as I understand it, there has been nomovement either by way of regulation or by implementation. What can you tell us about that today?

Ms. Carroll: Perhaps I can begin with your last question and move to the first, senator.

I agree with you that Bill C-9 was supported by all parliamentarians in both Houses. It was a remarkable statement that it did have such support. In addition it showed the ability of four departments of government to work closely. The lead department was Industry, but CIDA was a partner, along with the pharmaceutical, generic and civil society. It was quite an endeavour.

The present situation is that the regulations have been gazetted. They were gazetted by the middle of December, approximately. That will meet the 75 days required for them to be made available to the public, at which time should there be the opportunity to have them all circulated and, should there be suggestion for substantive changes, then Industry, as the lead, would set up a period of time to respond to those suggested changes.

I do not have a crystal ball, but I do not anticipate that being the case. In the event that it is not, then we will proceed on normal time line, and that will mean that, by the end of January or early February, generic companies will be able to apply for a compulsory licence to begin the production of drugs in Canada. I see Senator Robichaud.


Yes, in Canada, or also in other countries.

Senator Robichaud: You say in January?

Ms. Carroll: Probably at the end of January, maybe in February, if there are no problems, as I said.

The Chairman: Another question, Senator Andreychuk?


Senator Andreychuk: Do you have an Africa policy in the government that you work with? I am thinking, particularly, of all the choices that CIDA has to make. If you have such a policy, what Parliamentary input is there? Do you believe it is adequate, or should we increase Parliamentary involvement?

Ms. Carroll: That was the last question I answered. Approximately half of CIDA's programs and resources are dedicated to development in Africa. That reflects the fact that the worst poverty is in fact prevalent in sub-Sahara Africa. With the mandate of CIDA being poverty reduction, it is a logical connection. However, of the nine countries of focus, which I explained we will build upon, six are in Africa. Three are not — Honduras, Bolivia and Bangladesh.

This creates a focus in Africa because that is our mandate, the achievement of the millennium. Likewise, we had the government initiatives around the time of Kananaskis that set up the Africa Fund and many of the programs in which we are engaged at this time.

I will ask Paul Thibault to elaborate if you wish.

On the other item you mentioned, senator, input from Parliament, that is always welcome. I see this as an opportunity to engage that process. As you know, we have been involved in the international policy review and that will, upon completion, be tabled by your counterparts in the House and that will involve Parliament. As well, recently I appeared before the standing committee to examine the estimates of CIDA, and that creates an opportunity for parliamentary involvement. I welcome further suggestions.

I believe I have dealt with your three questions unless you wish to hear from Mr. Thibault.

Senator Andreychuk: I am still concerned. What is the overall foreign policy towards Africa from which CIDA takes its marching orders to do what it does? I understand poverty. I know that we have a trans-Atlantic policy. We have a Latin American policy. We have had a China policy and an Asia policy. What is our perspective of Africa? Perhaps it is an unfair question at this point, but it is something I will be thinking about as we proceed with our Africa study.

The Chairman: With your permission, Senator Andreychuk, I will turn to Senator Corbin. If we have time, I will come back to you.

Senator Corbin: In speeches like the one you delivered to us, minister, a great emphasis is put on monetary aid and the dollar value of aid and so on. How would you express that aid in terms of Canadian personnel presence in those areas in which you are actively contributing to the betterment of lives and so on? Would we have a figure which reflects professional experts, university people, medical people and so on who are physically present and involved in distributing the contributions that Canada makes to Africa? That is what we are focusing on today, not to mention military presence and peacekeeping duties. I leave those aside for now.

Ms. Carroll: Canada sends more of its talented people overseas than any other country in the OECD. Canada sends in excess of 4,000 Canadians in a variety of capacities under the umbrella of the word “development.”

Senator Corbin: Do you include private sector initiatives in Africa in that figure?

Ms. Carroll: I was thinking more of volunteers. Some of these people would be working independently of CIDA. Many would be working in conjunction with the volunteer associations such as CUSO and CESO, with whom CIDA partners and with whom we contract to implement many of our development programs.

The concept of Canada Corps, which we have just been involved in creating and setting up, focuses very much on Canadian young people and Canadian expertise and providing the ability of people who wish to serve overseas, but I guess that is a launching program. Canada does not deliver our aid solely through Canadians. We work with a variety of NGOs but, frequently, the NGOs in the receiving or developing countries are sister NGOs. For instance, CARE Canada was one of our valued partners when I was in Thailand, and projects that CIDA was funding and aid projects that I visited were being implemented by CARE Thailand which works in conjunct with us.

When I was working with the external aid office, almost 40 years ago, a large percentage of our own personnel was on the ground at that time. The ratio has shifted. It is something that we consider. I do not know if that is where your focus lies.

If we are talking governance, which is one of our four sectors, the Canadian Bar Association and Canadian lawyers and judges are working in some programs in those countries to build judiciaries, legal aid, and community legal services. We have the Supreme Court. We have a variety of private sector partners that are also overseas. It is quite a myriad of people and organizations, but it works. I do not know if anyone wants to add to the answer.


Mr. Paul Thibault, President, Canadian International Development Agency: I would like to add to what the Minister said. We send about 4000 experts in developing countries. With the present system, developing countries decide for themselves what poverty reduction plan they want. The donor and the recipient country discuss the strategy to adopt and the donor country decides how he will contribute to the implementation of the strategy, by sector or by country.

Sometimes, in some sectors, we need experts to stay longer, for example, to increase the capacities in certain areas. It may be people who give a training under a longer term plan. Canadian experts are also sent for the short term, for example, to monitor elections or to meet shorter goals.

Several factors come into play in international development. It is essential not to forget the following point. Canada does not decide to send experts in a given country. The developing country establishes its objectives and Canada decides to contribute or not to a particular activity.

Decisions are not always made for financial reasons. It is however possible to calculate the bilateral, multilateral or partner contribution. At some point, this must be done. Everybody agrees that Official Development Aid can be quantified. There is a whole series of factors to take into account.


Ms. Carroll: Having made reference to what we did 40 years ago and what we do now, the most important lesson we have learned is that the most effective development is development that has been established and is owned by the developing country. It is not supply driven based on what Canada thinks is the best way to go about that. In fact, it is a recognition on our part of those poverty reduction strategies and how we fit into those and, better, how we do so in conjunction with other donors so we do not overlap and overload those countries. It is these lessons we learned that earn us the reputation and the name that we recently received from Mr. Morris.


Senator Corbin: We regularly hear about other countries' contribution disappearing. Funds not always allow to reach goals set by programs. Some European States have made a list of countries where aid disappear, unless you follow very closely where the money goes.

Does Canada share this concern about the aid given to Africa? Have you changed some accounting and accountability practices or do you rely solely on what the recipients want? What is your policy in this area?


Ms. Carroll: I am comfortable with the processes that CIDA puts in place to monitor, audit and evaluate the programs in which we are involved. That is an incredibly important part of my fiduciary duty and that of my colleagues here at the table. That is not to say that we are always working with pristine governments. We are cognizant of the fact that frequently the issues of corruption are prevalent, but it is important that we work in those environments, aware of that but working to build the capacity to offset that.

As an example, in working with a country like Bangladesh, one of our focus countries, we assist to enhance the court system and to provide for an anti-corruption agency, because there are many people in the governments of such countries whose voices are heard as being opposed to that. Our attempts are to enable and enhance the efforts of those who are not heard.

However, I think you would be as satisfied as I am with the systems that we have in place to ensure that the money we spend is followed carefully.

At the same time, we need to have a balance. We have to recognize, as I said, that we are not giving aid to Western democracies. We are giving aid to growing democracies. To a certain extent, aid is a risk-taking business. If we are not willing to engage that risk, we will not effectively bring about change and reduce poverty, which is what we are working hard to do. There must be a balance between sufficient systems of audit and process, and yet not so many that we are unable to move, that we cannot have the flexibility to respond to countries and the priorities they have set. I work hard with everyone at CIDA to maintain that balance.

Senator Corbin: You are acknowledging that some aid will disappear into thin air.

Ms. Carroll: No, I am not acknowledging that at all. I am saying that, when I stand up in the House of Commons, and they ask, “Why are you giving aid to a country like Vietnam that has a poor human rights record?”, I say that is why we are giving aid to Vietnam, to help it to address those issues and support the institutions there that will combat the violations of human rights.

Likewise, when I am asked — and this may open a door for further questions — why am I giving aid to China, I would respond that it is to take the opportunity to engage a country that is moving toward reform to ensure it reforms in the right way. For instance, there is a willingness on the part of the government of China to accept from Canadians the kind of initiatives we are taking with Agriteam in Calgary or the initiatives being taken by the Canadian Bar Association. There is a certain amount of risk, but it does not entail allowing any money disappearing into thin air.

The Chairman: I am taking advantage of the fact that you are here, minister, to ask you what the difference is between the Canada Corps and Canada World Youth, which has been such a successful program for the last 40 years. Are we doing the same thing again? Would you like to tell me the difference?

Ms. Carroll: We are trying hard not to do that because I do not think it is useful to duplicate. We have been working diligently to create a new secretariat within CIDA that will not be a duplication, but that will, in fact, provide for the kind of coordination that perhaps has not existed in the past. The focus here is on youth and on experts. It is to address the dilemmas in developing countries and also to partly, but not wholly, focus on fragile and failing states.

It is to create a one-stop shop for people who want to serve overseas, but at the same time, it will resist what I made earlier reference to, which is being supply-driven. It must reflect, as everything else we do at CIDA reflects, the needs and priorities of developing countries.

What is important, senator, is what you said at the opening. Perhaps not everyone around the table knew that you went to and spent time in 26 countries. It is important as we build a constituency of support in Canada that we have people who have experience. Young people will, along with experts, go overseas with CIDA and have the opportunity to share their experience when they come back. That will be an integral part of Canada Corps — to engage society here at home.

I do not know if many of you have shared my experience. When I meet returning volunteers from Canada Youth or CUSO or WUSC, I find that they are exuberant are changed by the experience they have had. It is so worthwhile to provide them with the venues to share those experiences with Canadian society. In fact, we create a virtuous circle.

We will prepare people to go overseas, provide coordination horizontally, communicate and create the opportunities to debrief, and then help further grow what is happening at home.

Why are you smiling at me, Senator Di Nino?

The Chairman: Who knows? He is a happy man. There are happy people here.

Ms. Carroll: I think he is about to kid me.

The Chairman: There are happy people here, so they smile a great deal. Senator Di Nino, you are next on my list, and you cannot smile.

When I was in Africa, in the Belgian Congo alone there were 4,000 permanent Belgian civil servants who spent five years on the job, six months on home leave and five years back.

I am aware of the concentration on AIDS. I recognize that it is a terrible disease. However, we never see any reference to malaria. Like most people of my generation, I have had malaria many times. However, when visiting Tanzania, I was astounded to learn that many more people die from malaria than die from AIDS. Malaria is a treatable illness. It is not a mysterious sickness. It is a question of education and access to fairly simple medication. Why are we not putting some emphasis on malaria when, I am told, far more people die from malaria than from AIDS?

Ms. Carroll: CIDA supports the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, GAVI, and we have done so for a considerable period of time. I do not know how cognizant you are of that organization. It has as its mission to protect children of all nations and of all socio-economic levels, just as the senator said, against vaccine-preventable diseases.

It seeks to alleviate three problems. Every year, 30 million children still do not receive vaccinations, and as new life saving vaccinations are developed, only children in richer countries receive them. Finally, the current market forces do not encourage the research and development of vaccines against diseases most prevalent in poorer countries.

The Chairman: I do not think there is a vaccine for malaria. I believe you just take pills when you get sick. The problem is people, primarily children, are not educated. I will not take any more of your time because Senator Di Nino may frown.

Ms. Carroll: We are supporting GAVI and the Global Fund.

The Chairman: AIDS is a terrible disease. No one is in any way suggesting that it is not. There are still, in Africa, far more children dying from malaria, which is preventable.

Ms. Carroll: It is preventable, but AIDS deaths are growing faster than those from malaria, and the Global Fund includes malaria. We doubled our expenditure — into the $70 million range this year — in the Global Fund, which is aimed at HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Senator Di Nino: Welcome, minister. I was reacting to a comment of one of my colleagues when I had a big smile on my face. We have been friends for a long time and I know I will smile at you for a long time.

Ms. Carroll: The plot thickens.

Senator Di Nino: I would like to rehash what the chairman said. We just asked for a Senate order to study the African issue, and we will probably have an opportunity to chat with you again, as we embark on that adventure, so to speak.

I have a number of questions, but I will try to restrict myself to two. I was going to deal with the issue of corruption, but my colleague dealt with that quite well. The other concern I have has to do with the cost of providing aid. What is your total budget, and what percentage of that goes to the operational costs of the program?

Ms. Carroll: I will turn you over to my colleague, Mr. Kingsley, but I know we have considerably reduced the ratio of what it costs to administer vis-à-vis our total budget. We received an 8 per cent increase, which means that we will effectively double by the year 2010. We were at 10 per cent, and it has been considerably reduced. I am not able to pull that figure out.

Mr. Denis Kingsley, Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Services Branch, Canadian International Development Agency: Our budget is approximately $2.5 billion. In the past, we were floating around 10 per cent. We are now at 8.3 per cent for administrative operations. Our appropriations are in two separate votes. The operating vote presently represents 8.3 per cent of the overall budget of CIDA, as compared to 10 per cent just two years ago. We have been working strenuously to streamline our operations, to ensure that most of the people are concentrating their efforts on the aid delivery itself, and that most of the money goes towards the aid.

Senator Di Nino: That is an all-inclusive number, whether it is spent in Canada or in other countries. If 8.3 per cent is the total cost, I would guess that approximately 92 per cent goes as aid to those in need.

Mr. Kingsley: It is part of the aid programs that are delivered by CIDA.

Ms. Carroll: That is bilaterally or multilaterally. I would add that recently we got a report card that did not make us look so good in this regard. Perhaps what is driving your question is your European background or experience. It did not make us look as sharp in this regard as other donors.

When I responded to people who wrote me — and I would be delighted to send you a copy of that letter — I pointed out that it is because certain other donor countries do not count that percentage of administration that goes through the multilaterals, and they adjusted. There is a different system of apportioning that. We take a clear and open approach in that, and assign everything that is administrative to administration. I do not mean to imply a slight of hand on any other country's part, but they use a different counting system. Our percentage made us look not quite as cost efficient as others and, as I say, I was delighted to provide information on how that works out. If you would like that, senator, I will send it.

Senator Di Nino: That would be useful for our study.

The other question I have deals with tied aid, which is aid provided to assist in a trade deal or in sales of Canadian products. Would we have any idea what portion of our aid is tied, in effect, to a benefit we are looking for as opposed to money that is given to help those in need?

Ms. Carroll: We are about the same percentage as our colleagues throughout the OECD in that approximately 45 per cent, just under 50 per cent, of our aid is untied. About 70 per cent was still tied in 2001, but we have now reduced that to 45 per cent. That is a 2003 figure, which I understand is comparable to colleague countries in the OECD and meets the DAC, which is the great definer of all things related to aid. That is the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

The exception is that in Canada — and it was cabinet decreed — our food aid remains 90 per cent tied. There has been a suggestion recently by two very credible and strong partners of CIDA, the Canadian Food Grains Bank and Oxfam, that we should change that. I have told them that I am hearing what they have to say, but that I am also listening to the agriculture producers in Canada who have had a pretty tough go lately. I understand the contention on the part of the two NGOs is that this would have a minute impact on our farmers, but I need to hear the farmers first. That would have to go back to cabinet and be encapsulated by a cabinet decision.

Senator Di Nino: I do beg to differ on the China issue. It is a roaring economy, which is probably producing a great deal more economic wealth than even our own country. I beg to differ on the matter of China needing our aid, but that is for another discussion.

Senator Downe: Minister Carroll repeated the government's objective to double international aid by 2010. What impact will the current expenditure review process, which is to reallocate $12 billion, have on CIDA?

Ms. Carroll: Yes, we have had that commitment to double the International Assistance Envelope, the IAE, by 8 per cent, and we have been engaged, as have other departments, in the ERC. That involves program choices for CIDA. You have had a sense of our administrative/delivery ratio. I made choices to reflect the increasing focus and coherency that CIDA has undertaken, so that I worked within that framework when certain programs were offered.

The ERC is a process of reallocation. I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage Mr.McCallum, my colleague, on how that reallocation will occur. That will, hopefully, be a source of funding for such high priority items that we will be dealing with, such as Canada Corps.

We have not had the opportunity to go to it today, but we constantly are presented with massive engagements of aid, such as our program with Afghanistan, which is the largest bilateral aid program Canada has ever undertaken. I would also mention Iraq, or situations like the one in Sudan. I mention those only in that all of the planning, as you might assume we would do, could not have envisaged those kind of huge fiscal undertakings.

My hope is that the reallocation will allow me to cope with such happenings in the future and to provide the fiscal resources for the priorities I have mentioned.

Senator Downe: I appreciate that, minister. The Auditor General indicated at a Senate Finance Committee meeting that, in her opinion, the $12-billion expenditure review cannot be done without program cuts. I want to confirm what I believe I heard here today, and that is that your department is not exempt from this exercise and that you could indeed be cut?

Ms. Carroll: No, I am not exempted.

Senator Downe: If I understood you correctly, you indicated that Afghanistan is receiving the largest funding allocation.

Ms. Carroll: It is the largest bilateral aid program CIDA has ever undertaken.

Senator Downe: Am I correct that it is receiving more than any African country?

Ms. Carroll: Yes.

Senator Downe: In your statement today, you indicated that Africa is at the centre of your development. Afghanistan, however, is receiving more assistance. How much of a problem is the war on terrorism causing for your priority item?

Ms. Carroll: I am not sure how to answer how much of a problem it is. Afghanistan is certainly a response to the events of 9/11. It is certainly a response to joining with our American ally and friend to engage the battle on terrorism, and Afghanistan certainly was the focus of that. Then along came Iraq, and Canada made a different choice on Iraq. However, we are certainly strongly engaged in Afghanistan. That is a great challenge and we engage it with vigour to pursue poverty reduction and the attainment of the millennium development goals, all of which we do as a development agency. We endeavour to do it coherently and in an integrated fashion with a sectoral focus and a much smaller list of country focus. We do that in conjunction with other countries. We work hand in glove with the Brits and very closely and non-competitively with the Dutch and the Swedes.

At the same time as doing all that and moving forward as an effective agency, we must be cognizant and able to budget for the exigencies of the global security question. It is not a small task. It is one we are engaging very seriously.

That also brings to mind the dimension of development that is security. When you ask Canadians whether they support Canada giving aid, a large percentage do for humanitarian reasons. However, many Canadians who are not captured in that statistic raise support of government efforts toward peace and human rights. At CIDA, we need to explain that responding to poverty in these countries is done from a humanitarian point of view and also from a security perspective.

Senator Downe: I do not understand that last comment. What is the security perspective?

Ms. Carroll: Currently, there is a list of 40 to 50 failed or failing states. When poverty continues to exist to that degree and when people live in a state of hopelessness, the ability of societies to continue in a functional manner begins to diminish, and at that point security issues loom on the horizon.

One must see the need to address development issues and poverty, understanding the connection to security, and that puts both of those in the world of CIDA.

Senator Kinsella: Minister, in your opening you drew our attention to the basic education in Africa program and said that the government had set an objective of $100 million for that. In fiscal year 2003-04, how much will you be spending on that discrete program?

Ms. Carroll: This, of course, takes in the education for all the fast-track initiatives and we are having very good results. I will have my colleagues look up the amounts.

Senator Kinsella: The quadrupling of your investment in basic education in Africa is laudable. However, I believe that it is important to at least double the effort of training the trainers. In other words, I would urge that CIDA consider expanding its post-secondary education programs in Africa, based on the principle that we need to train the trainers.

Is thought being given to doing that?

Ms. Carroll: I thank you four your insight, Senator Kinsella. I know you have a great deal of experience in this area.

As I mentioned, education is one of our sectoral focuses. About $165 million is planned for 2004-2005, and that includes the $100 million in Africa. Our focus, as you have wisely discerned, is basic education. We have been most effective in Tanzania, for instance, in the support we have given to basic education. We have seen enrolment there increase from about 68 per cent to 88 per cent, so that is a tremendous result.

In the countries where CIDA has moved in to replace the funds that governments received in school fees and, therefore, got rid of school fees, there is an overwhelming hike in enrolment as families can afford to put the young people in school.

The focus has been basic education. I do not think there can be development without education. It is key, of course, in fighting the AIDS pandemic. Empowering girls and women has to be done in many of those societies, through education.

I take under advisement that you think we should be looking at that, but it has not been done. Training the trainers is a sustainability that we require.

Senator Kinsella: The government announced with some fanfare in June of 2002 that by 2005 it would spend $100 million per year, and we are almost at 2005. Perhaps your officials could submit the details on this to the Chair. How much was spent in the last fiscal year under that program, and how much will be spent in 2004-2005?

CIDA represents our country and the people of Canada in such an important way in this area of development, but we live in a very different world today from the world of five years ago. Some of the other big players in Canada could be actively involved, and indeed some are, particularly the multinationals. In many other areas people try to see how they can leverage money. For example, in the private sector, a charitable foundation preparing to make a major contribution in a developing country can go to a multinational and asks it to match its contribution.

Have some of your policy thinkers in the agency looked into modern ways in which we can approach the multinationals for leverage? For example, in the field we just spoke of, with the $100 million, maybe that could be leveraged into $200 million if you could get the private sector international players to become a partner in the aid contribution level, rather than simply relying on our contribution.

Mr. Thibault: The thing that comes to mind, senator, as I listen to your question, is, hopefully, in the not too distant future, the Canada Investment Fund for Africa, for example, which was announced at Kananaskis with $100 million, is in fact that kind of leverage for development in Africa, which would get private sector partnering to the same amount, ending up at about a $200 million total of which $100 million would be Canadian. However, it is complicated getting the mechanisms and governance structures for this kind of funding arrangement.

That replies, in part, to your question about innovative thinking. That was something that came out of Kananaskis, but it has taken a long time because it is new and different. We all work under structures of government and of accountabilities.

One of the senators referred to the Auditor General. We have Treasury Board rules and regulations. We have to make sure all of that fits, so that when we do put in the money and get a system going that has the matching funds provided by the private sector, we can do something like this. That is particularly aimed at Africa. We hope that will be off the ground and running in the not too distant future.

Ms. Carroll: It is very exciting. It has to encompass the fiduciary duty and all of the things we talked about at the beginning because of the mix of public and private. You need to have an extraordinarily good balance between accountability and not encroaching too closely so that you inhibit the ability of a fund manager, in order to do the leveraging we talked about.

As this finishes the final steps along the way, it has already garnered considerable praise from other donors. It is at least a part of what you are talking about. One of the reasons private sector development has to become a larger part of the credo at CIDA is, if we have all the money in the world — even the amount of money Jeffrey Sachs wants us to give as a collective global community — we will not have sustainability unless we stimulate those economies. Unless we can implement some of de Soto some of former Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo and Prime Minister Martin's report “Unleashing Entrepreneurship,” and until we can get the multiplier impact of private sector development, we will never accomplish those millennium development goals.

Senator Prud'homme: Since I know you, I would like to repeat that I am filled with admiration for the work you do. I do not say that to everyone. You will come back, and we will be thankful, to help us out in this study that was not my first choice.

Ms. Carroll: Africa was not your choice?

Sen. Prud'homme: It was not my first choice.

The Chairman: Let us not go there, Senator Prud'homme. Stay with CIDA.

Senator Prud'homme: My colleagues sometimes talk about corruption. I will get back to that when you come back. It is my experience of 41 years that it will be a tough one to listen to.


Corrupt regimes very often attract corruptors. My experience in politics tells me that the corrupt and the corruptors do not always live in the same riding or country. Just a thought.

During Mr. Mulroney's time, there was a program called Africa 2000. Only the old hands from CIDA will remember that, because this program goes back to 1989. The focus was on programs that were primarily directed towards women.


I am convinced that if we want to achieve some results, we will have to zero in on programs because, as you have said, everybody wants some money from you. Some embassies are here just to get money from CIDA, I regret to say. You have to concentrate your efforts. My experience tells me that the place to concentrate would be on programs that address themselves directly to women. Then you can avoid many of the other traps.

We now have 16 vacancies in the Senate. It is my wish that the Prime Minister will appoint 16 women, because he has the option.

Given the scarcity of money and the multiplicity of programs, having in mind the many goals you want to achieve, would it not be wise to favour programs that could directly address women's issues? Through those you could offer the education that Senator Kinsella and all of us dream of. If people are better educated they may be able to avoid certain illnesses.

Later on, I would like to know where in Africa we concentrate our efforts. I would prefer to say in the world.

Last but not least, I hope the controversy on UNRWA is over. You have defended very well the program, the money that we give to UNRWA— United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. I hope that controversy is behind us.

Ms. Carroll: My sense is that it is.

Senator Prud'homme: That is all. You need not comment further.

Ms. Carroll: I agree with you, senator, on the question of empowering women. I have to somehow find new language to make people understand how incredibly important it is, how development will go backwards if we do not empower women.

As it spills into the HIV/AIDS situation, frankly, I mention the statistics at every opportunity. I tell Canadians that this pandemic has a female face, with consequences we do not comprehend.

The ability to enable those women is not a simple task. It needs a multi-tiered or holistic approach. CIDA is involved in all of the initiatives, maybe not as largely as we would be, but we certainly are involved on the education side through all of what we are trying to do on the HIV/AIDS program. We are engaged through a recent announcement of $15 million over three years for the development of a microbicide, because women are unable to protect themselves. They are unable to compel, in the societies in which they are citizens, the use of a condom biologically, and they are more prone to be infected after one act of unprotected sex than men. It is strictly physiological. They do not have the power to compel — whether as a sex worker or as a married person — their male partner to use a condom.

Finally, the third component is poverty. Women are in a situation experiencing poverty we do not really comprehend, and that poverty, again, puts them at risk of AIDS because choices have to be made and women are making those choices to their detriment.

Actress Emma Thompson has said that women are almost an endangered species in sub-Sahara Africa. That may seem to be an incredible comment, but we have to comprehend the ramifications of that.

To bring it back to CIDA, and not just in the envelope of HIV/AIDS, then we have gender as a cross-cutting part of our mandate. Be assured that it will be enhanced and kept very much in front of us for all of the reasons that you have given and that I am sharing.

Senator Eyton: I wish to look at your selection process. We all know that Africa is a complicated and large territory. The funding that you talked act, particularly the funding that is devoted to Africa, is tiny and spread very thin. As that money is spread thin, it must be difficult to manage. I am sure that with that goes the propensity for wasted money, especially if you are dealing with other governments and levels of governments. It is a problem for you in terms of individual investments spread that widely.

I looked at the African countries that you identified in respect of sexual health. Given that selection, it is more of a social program as opposed to a development program. I would have thought CIDA would focus more on developing — looking to the future and assessing growth, jobs and a healthier environment.

From a business point of view, I know a little about Africa. Many countries in Africa are blessed with significant resources, particularly oil and gas, in addition to a variety of other resources. Some of these countries have decent stability and promising governance. Looking at Africa and putting on my development hat, I would rather select one or two countries that have resources and the potential that goes with that and some stability and good governance, and invest my money in a more focused way. I would manage it more closely and try to make those recipient countries a success story and one that you can use as a stocking horse, as an example for others.

I do not see any of that. I see helping on the social side, but without any real promise that there will be a significant return, good growth, jobs and other good things.

I saw a wonderful example and I do not think it involves CIDA. A friend of mine called me a few days ago and said that there is an opportunity for good and promising investment in Mongolia. The question to me was, “What are our relations with Mongolia?” I said, “Honestly, I have no idea what they are, but I will find out” What I found out in about 30 minutes is that there are excellent relationships between the two governments and that there are tax treaties in place to avoid double taxation and there are trade agreements in place so you can have exchanges back and forth. What I found remarkable was that Mongolia has established a consular office in Saskatchewan. I asked, “Why on earth would anybody do that?”

Senator Andreychuk: Excuse me. I protest.

Senator Eyton: Some clever people got together and determined that the environment in Mongolia is similar to the environment, the agriculture and the natural resources in Saskatchewan, so it made good sense. That will bring significant private investment. When the private sector goes in, the dollars will be much greater than anything you can manage out of your budget.

The question is: Why are not we working more on the development side and looking for those kinds of synergies in cooperation?

Ms. Carroll: CIDA has operated in approximately 157 countries. Of those, CIDA budgeted in about 54 or 55 of those countries for less than $1 million. That is why we have concluded that that is probably not the best way to deliver effective aid. We are reducing considerably the number of countries. The nine countries of focus will grow to a larger basket than nine. The criteria, some of which you made reference to, will be applied.

When we reduce the sectors to four, health, education, governance and private sector development, and then work within that smaller group of countries in those sectors, then we will have the opportunity to impact on the millennium development goals using the aid effectiveness standards.

The aid effectiveness document put out by CIDA is a good one. It is integrally involved with the governance piece as to how you can be effective in a country. The degree to which the country has achieved a certain level of sophistication in governance is part of the decision you make.

That is one concept I would share. On the private sector development, I have made comments on how high a priority I make that.

In regard to CIDA-INC. and on countries where CIDA plays a part — where we do engage Canada's talent from the private sector — I would ask someone at the table to comment on that.

CIDA-INC is a part of CIDA that I will be looking at in conjunction with the private sector development focus and I will feel free to make changes that I think are necessary.

We have recently put together a group of private sector thinkers who will assist us in how we move forward. We have some good talent in the agency, but there is talent outside of government that I want to draw on. That relates to your point.

Senator Eyton: My question was directed toward the selection process that seemed odd. The six countries you picked seemed hard to deal with.

The Chairman: I do not want to rush anyone, minister, you have to be out of here in four minutes and the question was fairly well answered.

Ms. Carroll: We can elaborate, Mr.Chair, to you in writing if you wish.

The Chairman: Yes. We will be meeting again, I suspect, because of our African interests.

Senator Mahovlich: No one has mentioned religion. I have a map here showing different religions in Africa. Islam plays a large part in the lives of Africans, as does Christianity.

Has CIDA worked with any religious group? I was educated in a Catholic school. Religions play a large part in educating the whole of Africa. Is CIDA associated with any religion?

Ms. Carroll: We are not associated with any religion, but we do work with a number of faith-based organizations, World Vision and other excellent partners of CIDA. I believe they would come under the cap of NGOs. We work closely with them in Africa and other parts of the world. I have met with them.

The Chairman: Do we work with any Islamic organizations, because they have a major role in Africa?

Ms. Carroll: The Aga Khan Foundation is one. Mention was made of Mongolia. My mind slipped to the country of Tajikistan. We have worked for at least a dozen years with the Aga Khan Foundation.

The Chairman: What about more mainstream Islamic organizations?

Ms. Carroll: The Red Crescent Society is another organization with which we work, along with the International Red Cross. After the earthquake in Bam, Iran, those organizations responded quickly and in an excellent fashion.

There are a myriad of faith-based organizations with which we work, but I cannot think of more Islamic-based ones off hand.

The Chairman: I know the map to which Senator Mahovlich is referring. Knowing Africa and Islamic Africa myself rather well, I know they have always made inroads in the Christian areas because it is an egalitarian religion. The Ismailis have always played a major role, particularly in east Africa. I wondered if we were connected with the mainstream Islamic movement, but I will not pursue it.

Ms. Carroll: Another reason I come here is to gain wisdom, and I will certainly take note of what you say. When I was in the camps in Sudan, a number of Sudanese NGOs were doing incredible work. Many would be Islamic, but I do not think the title is necessarily Islamic. Many of the people with CUSO and CARE, working with their country counterparts, are people of the Islamic faith, but those are not discerned by a religious connotation.

The Chairman: I will have to call the meeting to a close. We have had a long list of senators asking questions and great interest has been shown in the subject. Minister, I thank you for being an extremely good witness, in my opinion. I know that your aides have binders filled with information about Africa. I wonder if, before February, they could provide our staff with information that could be circulated to members of the committee. We have embarked on this project. The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee takes these things seriously and looks at things in depth and in a relatively non-partisan way. If you could provide us with more information, it would be well received by the members of the committee.

Ms. Carroll: Perhaps I can use a bit of ministerial prerogative here and indicate to Senator Eyton that Ghana and Tanzania are two incredibly stable countries. We have worked with them over the years, and they present two excellent examples of where we are going. I will send you some specific information on that.

Mr.Chair, we would be delighted to assist you with your study. I do personally value the work of the Senate. I have always seen it very much as a house of sober second thought from which the House from whence I come has benefited many times.

Senator Prud'homme: Sometimes we concentrate on one issue. Would it be possible, through you, to see having a briefing by some of your staff on a particular area or a particular program? We could hear witnesses after that.

The Chairman: The minister will facilitate that, but it was important that we heard from the minister, who is, after all, the minister of the department.

The committee adjourned.

Back to top