Canada International Development Agency (CIDA) is a government agency that assists developing countries with disasters, food security, education, health, and sustainability. It is now a conduit for selling military equipment.
The Harper government is merging Canada’s foreign aid agency with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
It also plans to leverage billions in spending on military equipment into making Canada an arms exporter.
The two moves, revealed in Thursday’s federal budget, put to sleep any doubts about the government’s desire to use all means possible to advance Canadian business and commercial interests throughout the world.
The government says its decision to roll the Canadian International Development Agency into Foreign Affairs was a reflection of increased “linkages between our foreign policy, development and trade objectives.”
The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will continue to tackle poverty in developing countries, the government said, and there were no immediate signs it was planning to implement new cuts to Canada’s approximately $4.5-billion aid budget.
The government will also retain a minister for development and humanitarian assistance, and said it plans to strengthen the minister’s position by enshrining its roles and responsibilities in law for the first time.