International aid policy not about agencies: Fantino

Associated Press

OTTAWA - Canada’s international co-operation minister says the country’s overseas development budget isn’t about keeping foreign aid groups in business.

Julian Fantino made the comment as he defended a new Canadian International Development Agency policy that more closely aligns aid spending with the private sector.

Aid groups say the new focus could reduce the money available for projects aimed at food security and women and children’s health because CIDA’s funding is frozen until 2015.

Fantino says those core programs won’t be cut, but savings could be found in other projects that have fixed time periods and are due to end.

He says CIDA doesn’t exist to fund aid groups for life and his job is to ensure that taxpayers get good value for their humanitarian dollars.

Fantino was speaking by telephone from Haiti, where he is assessing aid projects in the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

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