For our followers who are looking for a summary of reactions on the CIDA-DFAIT merger, here are a few of the most important articles that we have read on this topic.  The articles cover all ranges of opinions, positive, critical and ambivalent.  Despite this broad range of reaction, the one thing everyone can agree on is that this change will have significant impacts on Canadian aid policy.

  1. An op-ed piece in the Ottawa Citizen by James Haga, entitled CIDA move could be a big opportunity.  A different take on the situation, which is more hopeful than other reactions.
  2. The Globe and Mail’s Africa correspondent, Geoffrey York, gives us the perspective from Africa on CIDA’s shifting priorities in an article entitled Canada’s African aid marred by organizational turmoil, changing priorities.  His article explains the concern African nations feel with the inconsistent approach to African aid partnerships, and the reaction to the newly announced merger.
  3. The note that was published on DEVEX by Jenny Lei Ravelo is entitled CIDA no more.  With quotes from Oxfam UK, the former CIDA Minister, and CARE Canada’s President, it paints the picture that this was probably no surprise to the NGO community given the recent direction CIDA was going in.
  4. The media release from Oxfam Canada after the budget announcement.  This media release reflects most of the NGO community’s concern that poverty alleviation will be lost as the main mandate of international aid if it is subsumed in another department.
  5. The Canadian Council for International Cooperation’s (CCIC) media release after the budget was launched.  This media release echoes Oxfam’s concern about the mandate of poverty alleviation being preserved, but it also congratulates the government of Canada for enshrining in legislation the role and responsibilities of the Minister that oversees the Canadian aid budget.
  6. Scott Gilmore from Building Markets, wrote a piece in MacLean’s magazine entitled Why merging CIDA into Foreign Affairs strengthens Canada’s aid program.  Gilmore explains that this merger will allow for more coordination of activities between ministries and reminds readers that foreign direct investment in most poor nations has a bigger impact than the aid budgets they receive.
  7. James Munson wrote an article for iPolitics entitled Adios CIDA, hola D-FAT-D: Development body loses its stand-alone status.  This article is very critical of the merger and warns that it marks a step back for CIDA which has been operational since 1968.
  8. Rick Westhead, the foreign affairs writer with the Toronto Star focusing on foreign aid and international development, has produced an article entitled CIDA merger with Foreign Affairs may help the poor.  This is an interesting article because it focuses on the agricultural tariffs that Canada has, which disempowers the same countries it gives aid to.  The author interviews Owen Barder from the Center for Global Development, David Morley, president of UNICEF’s Canadian operation and Ian Smillie, founder of the Canadian NGO, Inter Pares and current board member on the Diamond Development Initiative, amongst others.
  9. An op-ed by Ian Smillie (mentioned above) in the Ottawa Citizen entitled Dark Days at CIDA.  He is highly critical of the merger and states, “Good development is not the work of diplomats any more than good diplomacy falls within the purview of development professionals.”
  10. Kim Mackrael writes an article for the Globe and Mail entitled CIDA’s sudden demise shifts control to PMO.  This is a good backgrounder with many interviews which looks at the Canada brand that is projected through development assistance.

If you’ve found any other important opinion pieces, feel free to add them to list in the comment section below!