The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Where's The CIDA Money?
On January 3, 2005 Prime Minister Paul Martin, using his propaganda machine--the Ottawa media--promised a "doubling up." Eighty million dollars, he said. Another arm of the government, CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency)--has been furiously putting out documents on who got what money. Great--but it hasn't reached the people of Ampara. The tsunami occurred December 26--over four months ago.
Canadians contributed a minimum of $40 Million from their own pockets. Where is it?
Paul Martin has put the figure at $425 Million for disaster relief. CIDA seems to be playing their normal game. Canadians want to know where their money went. It is not in Ampara, Sri Lanka.
We've seen this pattern with CIDA before. In my four-month stay in Kandahar, Afghanistan with the Canadian PPCLI Battle Group, CIDA had guaranteed $100,000 for humanitarian projects in Afghanistan. As a liaison officer, Captain Alex Watson had been charged with the administration of that money. He built five co-ed schools--not the boys-only madrassas. He had 11 wells drilled to supply fresh water in communities around the airport in Kandahar. By the end of Watson's tour, the contractors had not been paid-- CIDA's money never arrived. Trying to make things right, the American military contributed 50 percent of the shortfall, matched by the Canadian Department of National Defence. We were all embarrassed by CIDA.
There's also the little matter of the hundreds of millions of dollars promised by the Prime Minister for Afghanistan through the Canadian embassy in Kabul. We spent two months looking for this money. We could not find it. And, there's the never-ending reports by Canadians who know, that there have been investigations of CIDA employees wanting kick-backs from local Afghani contractors before giving out CIDA contracts.
Maybe just laying around in an envelope somewhere?
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