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NGOs Suffering Under Conservative Reign

From July 21, 2008

Canada's NGOs are struggling to survive, due to funding cuts and a lack of communication from the CIDA. The Canadian International Development Agency is responsible for the government funding that goes to non-governmental organizations, such as Oxfam, the United Association of Canada, and CANADEM. But over the last two years, funding has dropped and the CIDA has not indicated to the NGOs where the remaining funding should be focused.

This lack of direction is affecting international projects. One group, whose project serves to bolster democracy in Cambodia, has been waiting a year to hear back from the government on renewing its expiring project funding. Another group, whose focus is global peace operations, recorded a deficit of $450,000 last year, due to funding cuts.

Canada's influence on the world stage is declining, and CIDA Minister Bev Oda seems to have other priorities. It is not just a matter of the Conservative government clawing back money - the CIDA seems to be uninterested in communicating with the NGOs, brewing uncertainty and denying them the opportunity to find alternate sources of funding.

The Con approach to international development programs is irresponsible and needs to be remedied.