Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE)

On March 12th the committee met with Wendy Hannam, an Executive Vice-President with ScotiaBank on the topic of their corporate social responsibility and development practices in their international operations. In the second half of the committee, the Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Hon. Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) appeared before the committee regarding the changes in the budget for DFAIT. There was little discussion on that topic however, mostly the questions focused on DFAIT’s handling of issues that have been in the news in the past 6 months. The full transcript can be found here.

On March 14th the committee met with Doris Olafsen, Executive Vice-President of Opportunity International Canada, Larry Reed the Director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Keith Weaver of MicroEnsure. Of particular interest was MicroEnsure which is a company that arranges Micro-Insurance opportunities with local insurance companies for individuals who would not traditionally be able to buy insurance due to the small size of their enterprises. The other main topic of conversation was what micro-credit organizations can do to prevent some of the potential negative impacts of loans on their recipients. Also appearing before the committee was Hon. Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation. The primary line of questioning for opposition MPs was focused on CIDA’s selection process for their contracts and grants which has changed a great deal recently. The minister also answered questions regarding CIDA’s grants to public/private partnerships between mining companies and NGOs in the developing world.