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Friday, January 13, 2006

Canada-China: Where is our 'Foreign Aid' dollar going?

Buying bureaucracy in Beijing
By Terry O'Neill

Western Standard: 3 Oct. 2005 - Here is a partial list of Chinese projects that Canadians have funded with $50 million in foreign aid, presumably to help that rights-averse nation grow "in the right way".

Who is Canada's biggest recipient of foreign aid? Why, it's China--which will get $50 million from Canadians this year. The fact the world's second-largest economy is growing at 10 per cent annually and splurges on such things as its US$29.9-billion military budget (up 13 per cent this year), as well as space and nuclear weapons programs, led one Opposition MP to demand in July that Ottawa "turn off the tap" to Beijing. But Minister of International Cooperation Aileen Carroll has said the Liberal government hopes our aid to China--which has exceeded $1 billion in the last decade--will help the democracy and rights-averse nation grow "in the right way." The Canadian International Development Agency says on its website that the money is intended to help advance human rights, end poverty and protect the environment in the world's second-largest economy. The following is a partial list of Chinese projects that Canadians have funded, presumably to that end.

    • The Statistical Information Management project ($9.9 million, 1996-2005). The project was aimed at helping China's National Bureau of Statistics "and the provincial/municipal statistical agencies to support the development of a modern and efficient statistical system in China to enable improved poverty reduction and environmental programming that is sensitive to gender and ethnicity."

    • The Biodiversity Protection and Community Development in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region project ($6 million, 2001-2006). Canadian money will "strengthen the capacity" of government agencies "to manage nature reserves."

    • The Canada-China Cooperation in Climate Change project ($4.9 million since 2002). The project "will strengthen China's core capacity . . . to address the issue of climate change"--even though the Kyoto Protocol to fight global warming classifies China as a developing country, meaning it is exempt from lowering emissions levels.

    • The Solar Energy for Rural Electrification in Western China project ($1.8 million, 2003- 2005). "The project focuses on building capacity in solar enterprises to deliver and support reliable solar installations in remote areas of China."

    • The Canada-China Women's Law project ($5 million, 1998-2005). The program is intended to "provide support for the equality of women in China" (this will not affect Beijing's forced abortion policy for women who get pregnant with a second child).

    • The Small Farmers Adapting to Global Markets project ($19.6 million, 2002-2008). "The project deals with the implications and challenges for small farmers resulting from China's accession to the WTO [World Trade Organization], specifically compliance related to food safety." In other words, $20 million to help farmers deal with an added level of bureaucracy.

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