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CIDA merges with DFAIT.

CIDA, CANADA'S ONCE-INDEPENDENT international development agency, has been folded into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade by the Conservative government.

The amalgamation was announced in March in tandem with the new federal budget. In an official statement, Julian Fantino, minister for international cooperation, explained the merger would "put development on equal footing with trade and diplomacy."

While most agree alleviating poverty is ultimately beneficial to the economies of Canada and its international partners, many critics question how much emphasis will be put on "advancing Canadian interests."

"We need to understand if 'Canadian interests' runs counter to a pro-poor policy," said Ken Kim, director of Presbyterian World Service and Development.

"We would not use any Presbyterian donation in a way that runs counter to our beliefs as Presbyterians. Similarly, we wouldn't seek or accept CIDA funding if the conditions required are counter to our beliefs."

And while Kim said funding for PWS&D's current five- and three-year projects will continue, the long-term future is less certain.

"The big question now is how our relationship with CIDA will proceed. We're in a wait-and-see position," said Kim.--SV
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Title Annotation:Community
Publication:Presbyterian Record
Date:May 1, 2013
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