Mining projects getting close look in foreign aid review, says Bibeau – by Mike Blanchfield (CTV News – May 19, 2016)

The Canadian Press — OTTAWA — The international development minister says she wants to see what more can be done to help indigenous people who are affected by Canadian mining operations abroad. Marie-Claude Bibeau says that is one potential change in Canada’s foreign aid policy as she embarks on a sweeping review of the country’s international development assistance.

Bibeau announced the terms of wide-ranging public consultations on revamping aid policy this week, as the Trudeau government faced international pressure to boost overall aid spending to meet a UN target.

Bibeau stressed the need to help women and girls — a “feminist approach,” she called it — as well as recognizing the need to help failing and fragile states and deal with the impact of climate change. She also plans to take a closer look at so called public-private partnerships that have seen aid dollars spent in conjunction with resource companies.

The previous Conservative government pushed these partnerships over the protests of many non-governmental organizations, while some Canadian companies have periodically faced accusations of riding roughshod over the rights of local indigenous people in developing countries.

Natural resource exploitation is important for the economic growth of many developing countries, Bibeau explained in an interview Thursday. But she said she plans to review the preliminary reports on the five pilot projects involving Canadian resource companies in aid partnerships.

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