By: Emily Shrimpton
The federal government is evaluating trade and investment opportunities in dozens of developing countries to help determine how foreign aid should be disbursed, raising questions about whether Canada’s push for “economic diplomacy” is an effective way to reduce global poverty. An internal analysis of bilateral aid programs, produced by the Canadian International Development Agency and obtained by The Globe and Mail, suggests Canada’s commercial interests have become a key consideration in determining how much aid a developing country will receive. The report, titled Reviewing CIDA’s Bilateral Engagement, was written shortly before CIDA was merged with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in June.
There is little doubt that democracy has won the battle of ideas in the world. Despite a generally low trust in politicians and representative institutions throughout the West, no credible system of political ideas has so far emerged to seriously challenge the notion that democracy is the best system of government—not even China’s seemingly successful blend of capitalism and authoritarian government. Even in the Arab world, seemingly so resistant to democratisation, large majorities routinely proclaim support for democracy.