On Friday, May 17th, 2013, Mr. Pat Kennedy, President of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace participated in a meeting with the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Julian Fantino, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), who were represented by Archbishop Richard Smith, President of the CCCB, Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher, Vice-President of the CCCB, and Monsignor Pat Powers, General Secretary of the CCCB.
At the meeting, Mr. Kennedy conveyed the sentiments of Development and Peace members regarding the new direction the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is taking with private sector-led development, particularly, with extractive industries. He outlined the desire to see poverty reduction remain at the forefront of the government’s agenda through the amalgamation of CIDA into the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, referencing the new campaign launched by the members of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC).
Development and Peace has been asking its members and supporters across the country to participate in this campaign by contacting their Members of Parliaments to ask that CIDA’s mandate of poverty reduction and promoting human rights remains intact.
Minister Fantino was open and forthcoming in responding to the issues raised. He said that the new legislation to establish the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development aims to enshrine into law the objective of poverty elimination, and will give the three ministers involved equal standing.
Mr. Kennedy also highlighted the tremendous longstanding partnership Development and Peace has enjoyed with the Government of Canada, through CIDA. He noted that Development and Peace was founded in 1967, only one year prior to CIDA, after the Bishops of Canada returned from Vatican II, where they had heard the voices of the bishops from the Global South pleading to their brother bishops in the north to help alleviate the suffering of the poor in their home countries. The voices of the bishops of the south and the voices of the poor continue to be heard today by our Canadian Bishops and by the members of Development and Peace.
Mr. Kennedy felt that the concerns expressed by Development and Peace members had been heard by Minister Fantino, who encouraged Development and Peace to continue the dialogue. The organization welcomed the invitation and will continue to follow closely the amalgamation of CIDA.
Mr. Kennedy expressed his gratitude to Archbishop Smith, Archbishop Durocher, Monsignor Powers and the CCCB for the invitation to join them for this meeting, and for their participation and support in the discussions.