Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why is CIDA Not Releasing Funds For Haiti Relief?

Michael Petrou wrote in Macleans yesterday: CIDA’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund: millions raised, nothing spent.

It would appear the priorities were protecting corporate interests and photo-ops.

I called the agency yesterday with questions about the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. You probably remember this. It’s where the Canadian government promises to match funds Canadians donate to Haiti to help with, among other things, “early recovery” and reconstruction. I had heard from a contact who does relief work in Haiti that no one who has applied for money from this fund had heard back from CIDA. Seemed a little strange. It’s been two months since the quake and one month since the donation window closed on February 12.

... I asked how much of the money raised through the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund has been spent. CIDA’s response included a paragraph about where Canada has spent money that doesn’t come from the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, before adding the line: “Funds from the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund will be disbursed in the near future.”

In other words, they haven’t spent a penny.

The money will be spent eventually I'm sure, but this story needs to remain fresh. Because as Stephen Harper is trying to bully smaller nations into allowing their financial services to be 100% foreign owned and controlled, we need to remind ourselves of why Haiti is so poor.

The death toll should never have been that high and it breaks my heart.

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