March 27, 2017 4:37 pm

Bill Morneau defends foreign aid budget: Canada must do more with less

Finance Minister Bill Morneau takes part in a interview with The Canadian Press at his office in Ottawa, Thursday, March 23, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
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OTTAWA – Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada can do more with less foreign aid spending, and that includes relying on a new profit-driven financial lending institution to help fight poverty in poor countries.

Morneau’s recent federal budget drew widespread criticism from international development and anti-poverty organizations because it did not contain an increase in foreign aid.

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But in a post-budget interview with The Canadian Press, Morneau is making no apologies for the lack of new spending.

Instead, Morneau is a touting a new anti-poverty tool — a so-called development finance institution, which will lend money to private companies to help them pay for projects to reduce poverty in the developing world.

While DFIs are seen as a potentially good way to attract private companies, some analysts say more needs to be done to make sure companies are in fact investing the money properly and not just grabbing a government handout.

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The previous Conservative government proposed the idea in its final 2015 budget, and Morneau brought it to life with a $300-million investment that will get it up and running under Export Development Canada.

WATCH: 2017 Budget highlights

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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