Money well spent?

“Foreign Aid to Mining Firms”

The Harper government recently announced a publicly funded agreement between three of Canada’s mining giants and three of Canada’s leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs). […]

“The Canadian government is using aid to support the expansion of Canadian mining…[and] to determine development paths inside countries according to the logic of mining companies,” Yao Graham of Third World Network Africa […]

“CIDA has always worked government-to-government,” said Coumans. “Now what CIDA is doing is channeling Canadian taxpayer money directly to the mine site and basically paying for corporate social responsibility projects, and that is very bizarre.”

What does this mean? It means that mining companies have a bad track record of damaging regions, so now they’ve been paired with groups that usually focus on humanitarian issues/sustainable development and receive government funds. These are the groups we want to build hospitals and make good on the promises we make to foreign countries. Promises that matter so much to us we’re willing to give gobs of money towards them, like lowering maternal death rates and ending child poverty. However with this unusual pairing, these groups are now meant to keep “in check” the mining company, as well as clean up any further damage the mining causes to already needy regions at the taxpayer’s expense. The money moved like a game of three-card Monte, and we’ve taken our eyes off the lady.

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