Defining foreign aid has always been an area of significant debate between politicians, but a simple definition of the term would be to “successfully address the immediate humanitarian needs and reducing the poverty and vulnerability of poor people in poor countries.” A further understanding of the term would be that it does not always have to be a poor nation that is in need, but any nation that has its citizens facing troubles from natural disasters, war, or any other conflict. The main point of this article is to give readers a brief insight on Canadian foreign aid through Canadian foreign policy.
A Brief History of Foreign Aid Policy and Canadian Foreign Aid Policy:
One of the most memorable and effective acts of foreign aid was accomplished by their geographical neighbors to the South the United States of America. “In 1948 the US Secretary of State, George Marshall, outlined his ambitious plan to aid the reconstruction of war-torn Europe. Marshall Aid, as it came to be known, was launched and over the course of just a few years totalled some $13 Billion.” The figure of 13 billion would be worth around 80 Billion Dollars if calculated in our currency rate today.
However, this does not mean that Canada has not done its fair share in contributing to foreign aid events. Canada has been involved in various international organizations most famously the International Governmental Organization (IGO) of United Nations (UN).
One of the main goals of the UN is peacekeeping. On related point, the only person to ever accept the Nobel Peace Prize from Canada was Lester B. Pearson. “Lester Pearson was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his leadership in developing the concept of peacekeeping” From 1957 and on Canada has been one of the forefront image of peacekeeping in the world. This act has made “Canadians feel a degree of ownership of the peacekeeping process and a willingness to support frequent calls upon the Canadian armed forces to join the blue berets in operations around the globe.”
Furthermore, Canadian foreign aid policy is split up into two areas of organizations the first being multilateral and the second is bilateral. “Multilateral are international organizations that are comprised of members from many countries. The members are usually governments. Examples of international organizations are the Council of Europe, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN)” Bilateral organizations are “A two-way relation; used to describe country-to-country projects” In addition it is one country involved in helping another nation provide aid to help improve the lifestyles of its citizens. The Canadian International Developments Agency (CIDA) is a prime example of bilateral organization as it is funded and ran by the Government of Canada. The CIDA “has been providing aid to developing counties for decades to help reduce global poverty and to assist people uprooted by conflicts and natural disasters.” The main goals of the CIDA was to “increase food security, securing the future of children and youth, and stimulating sustainable economic growth”.
One can argue that Canada along with the nations that commit to foreign aid does not really fail or succeed. However Canada has come a long way from the dominion era and has emerged as one of the top nations to fight and prevent poverty, and create a developed atmosphere in poor nations. “One way in which the necessity of aid has been understood is that‘aid is necessary for development’—meaning that without aid, there can be no development.” Aid is a vital piece for the international organization to prevent poverty, and improve health care, education, life styles in poor nations around the world. In the past couple of decades the Canadian Government stepped up in terms of putting itself in the fore front of foreign aid services.
Canada has had its ups and down in the process of providing aid to the world, for instance the incident of the Tamil Tigers was seen as a step backwards. However, the CIDA took an extra step forward by doubling its aid to Africa. It is very easy to be critical of the CIDA and other multilateral organization like the MDG. However one has to understand these organization are doing something in their own efforts to spread aid and secure the codes of human rights and human security.
The Canadian Government through the CIDA supported 2863 aid projects and initiatives in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. It is currently apart of many projects around the world however its main mission are centered in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Haiti. Canada is only one of the nations that continuously promote foreign aid with respects to its domestic aid.
Lastly, the Canadian Government has endlessly sought to provide aid to the nations that are in desperate need of it with this they created the top 20 countries whom where eligible. Some of the nations included were Haiti, Afghanistan, and Sudan. The Canadian Government has successfully donated aid to poor nations through both bilateral and multilateral organizations. The CIDA was bilateral and the MDG was with multilateral organization funded by the UN. There is still significant amount of work to be done for Canada to assure that world poverty is diminished and everyone in the world has the basic necessitates for survival. Moreover Canada along with the rest of the International community is slowly realizing the importance for everybody to live a well life and is taking one giant step together instead of being independent nations. The future surely looks promising as positive change looks evident.
 Roger Riddell, Does foreign aid really work?, New York: Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 18.
 Riddell, p. 24.
 Lloyd Axworthy, “Canada and Human Security: The Need for Leadership”, International Journal, Vol. 52, No. 2, Leaders and Leadership 3 (Spring, 1997), p. 185.
 Axworthy, p. 185.
 Terrice Bassler and Mabel Wisse Smit, “Building Donor Partnerships [Website]”, (Open Society Institute: Hungary, 2010), pp. 13, 39. http://www.osi.hu/partnerships.
 Bassler and Smit, p. 38.
 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), “Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda: Focusing on Results [Website]” (Canadian Government, September 2010). p.1. http://www.acdicida.gc.ca/INET/IMAGES.NSF/vLUImages/AidEffectiveness/$file/FocusingOnResults-EN.pdf.
 Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), “Canada’s Aid Effectiveness Agenda: Focusing on Results [Website]” (Canadian Government 2010). http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/FRA-825105226-KFT.
 Riddell, p. 255.