April 2, 2012

The quote from the 17th century English poet John Dryden "Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare" that appeared in Joe Gunn's article, "Overseas aid battered by storms of cutbacks" (WCR, Feb. 13), was prophetic in terms of what is currently happening with CIDA funding for Development and Peace.

Development and Peace entered into a relationship with CIDA in good faith and has delivered excellent value for the money that CIDA has contributed.

CIDA funds have been managed and directed by Development and Peace to projects that address the root causes of poverty and injustice.

This development assistance by CCODP respects the needs and dignity of the indigenous people receiving the assistance and is intended to empower those who are working hard against unequal odds to have a glimmer of hope for a more just and equitable future.

This year's cutback of funds by CIDA, over $5 million, or 26 per cent of the CCODP budget, is unconscionable and will have a serious negative impact on those who are expecting CCODP's continuing and sustained support.

It appears that CIDA's contribution to the cause of genuine development has become nothing more than bait. Development and Peace now finds itself caught up in a political and ideological snare, limiting its capacity to deliver on commitments already made.

Canadian Catholics should be outraged at this turn of events.

It is time to let your Prime Minister, Minister Bev Oda and your member of Parliament know that democracy is about empowerment, not control.

The government agenda must reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people rather than mimicking values based on self-serving interests of the national and corporate agendas.

Wilf Borgstede
St. Albert