Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Canada's Developmental Aid to China and Deep Shame at Our Incompetence

I just read Geoff York's report "Arrested Development: Museum latest example of Canada's difficulty in finding useful purposes for funds" in the Globe and Mail issue of November 27 page A23 (it can be read here). It is a devastating critique of the problem of CIDA not having enough people in China with the high level of language and cultural knowledge skills and commitment to "get down and dirty" to make sure that Canadian tax payer's money is effectively used in our developmental aid. The project in question was funded at $16 million. With that kind of money at stake, it is a travesty that we cannot get this right. My feeling is that this Inner Mongolia project had so much money at stake, if desirable to ensure it was not wasted, a CIDA officer should have relocated to the site living in a yurt and eating the local diet. But that at a minimum the officer should have learnt Mongolian to be able to understand and communicate with the local people. But hell would likely freeze over before any of those CIDA people would consider that as the right way to proceed

This sort of thing really makes me ashamed to be a Canadian. There are a lot of things Canada could be doing to redress pervasive systemic injustice that makes life so difficult for the Chinese underclass. But this CIDA-funded Museum does not even let in local people as they cannot afford to pay the admission.

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