Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Canadian Aid Posts to Come from Existing Staff: Internal Memo

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Canadian Aid Posts to Come from Existing Staff: Internal Memo

Article excerpt

New aid posts to come from old staff: memo

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OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs ordered some of Canada's major embassies to appoint a senior diplomat to oversee foreign aid -- but unlike the government's recent efforts to bolster its trade commissioner service, the new jobs had to come from existing staff.

Memos obtained through Access to Information provide new insight into how the department moved forward with its controversial amalgamation after the Conservatives shut down the Canadian International Development Agency.

The government's decision to shutter CIDA last year sparked criticism that it was favouring trade while pushing poverty reduction to the bottom of its foreign policy priority list.

The government has defended the move, saying it would allow for a more streamlined foreign policy by having aid, trade and foreign affairs all under one roof.

To that end, two of the department's deputy ministers ordered the creation of the senior development positions in "like-minded countries."

The new posts were to be created in embassies or high commissions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the European Commission.

But there was a catch.

"It is proposed that mission-based senior level Development focal points be established, using existing mission human resources, to leverage the full potential of amalgamation," said the November 2014 briefing note written by Brian Jean, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, and Malcolm Brown, his counterpart in international development.

A separate briefing note on the "resource implications" of the new posting stated that "no new positions would be created" and would not add to the department's "Full-Time Equivalents" complement.

It outlined the government's rationale for establishing the new position: "Development has an equal mandate to Trade and Foreign Policy."

It said the newly amalgamated department "requires integration and co-ordination at mission level" to help Canada liaise with its main aid partners, including USAID and Britain's DFID.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Nicolas Doire said the positions have been added to 17 diplomatic missions, and more are planned. …

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