November 20, 2014 5:16 pm

Foreign Affairs lets $125M in aid to poor countries lapse

Foreign Affairs managed to spend just shy of $792 million on aid to low-income countries in 2013-14, but had $917 million available.

Mario Beauregard/The Canadian Press
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OTTAWA – Almost 14 per cent of the money that Canada’s newly amalgamated Foreign Affairs Department planned to spend alleviating poverty in poor countries in the past year has been returned, unspent, to the Finance Department.

Foreign Affairs managed to spend just shy of $792 million on aid to low-income countries in 2013-14, but had $917 million available, leaving more than $125 million in lapsed funding.

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The figures are contained in the recently released performance report for Foreign Affairs, the first since the department absorbed the now-defunct Canadian International Development Agency.

Those figures emerge in a week in which the Conservative government has trumpeted spending announcements of about $28 million to help end early child forced marriage and to combat violence against children in developing countries.

Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau says the lapsed aid funding combined with unspent money in other departments is part of a government plan to fatten their overall surplus in time for next year’s federal election.

Regardless of the motivation, Roland Paris, head of the University of Ottawa’s international affairs school, says the government is saving money on the backs of the world’s poorest people.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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