Perhaps we lesser folk aren’t meant to trouble ourselves with such things, but this journal was curious to see exactly whom the Canadian taxpayer’s money was being given away to this time. As it turns out, the Inter-American Development Bank is viewed with only slightly less distrust in Latin America than the IMF, funnelling money to public and private partners for megaprojects such as multimodal transit corridors through the jungle, hydroelectric projects that displace indigenous peoples, etc. But perhaps equally telling, the President of the IDB sits on the board of the International Economic Forum of the Americas (along with Paul Desmarais, Thomas d’Aquino and the usual suspects), which is to host an upcoming conference in Montreal at which the IMF and World Bank are to hold court. The topic? “Adapting to the New World Order”. You can’t make this kind of stuff up. The keynote speaker at their last meeting? Kissinger. Thanks again, Harper.
April 18, 2009
Canada will double its funding of an institution that lends money to developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Saturday at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
He pledged $4 billion to bolster the Inter-American Development Bank during a meeting with leaders at the 34-nation summit in Port-of-Spain.
“I emphasized Canada’s role in successfully urging the G20 to provide more resources for international financial institutions so that they can provide smaller, more vulnerable nations in our hemisphere access to credit, the credit they need to stimulate and sustain economic activity at these times,” Harper later told reporters.
He also announced that Canada will provide up to 1,600 scholarships for Caribbean students and researchers to develop their knowledge and skills in Canada for the future benefit of their home countries.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the creation of a $100-million US microfinance growth fund to help small entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere.
The White House said the new fund would loosen credit from banks and get money moving to small businesses. Such loans have proved successful in other developing regions.
Turning to Cuba and recent moves by the U.S. administration to overcome what Obama is calling “decades of mistrust,” Harper said Canada has historically maintained diplomatic relations and “economic interaction” with the island.
However, he said Canada has not “turned a blind eye to the fact that Cuba is a communist dictatorship,” adding that his government wants to see progress made on freedom, democracy and human rights, as well as economic matters.
Harper and Obama met informally for 10 minutes at the summit on Saturday.
When Obama was later asked whether he was taking any tips from Canada on his administration’s Cuba policy, he quipped: “I take tips from Canada on a lot of things.”
Earlier in the week, Obama lifted some travel and telecommunications restrictions on Cuba. Officials at the White House have openly wished that Cuba would not become the centre of attention at the 34-nation summit.
All the countries of the Americas are taking part except Cuba, which was excluded because it does not have a democratically elected leader.
South American leaders have praised the U.S. president for taking steps to restore some ties with Cuba, but they’ve pushed him to do even more — lift the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the nation.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs has said the U.S. will “continue to evaluate and watch what happens.”