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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A conjunctural analysis of Canadian official development assistance Mahoney, Adam


This thesis examines two recent changes to Canadian official development assistance. First, new pilot projects in international development with Canadian mining companies were announced in 2011. Second, the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade were merged to create the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in 2013. I argue that these changes are new efforts to instrumentalize official development assistance for commercial and foreign policy interests. Canadian international development has always served commercial and foreign policy interests, but the two changes I examine are significant cementations of these interests. The government’s justification for the merger, “policy coherence,” is itself incoherent, and it legitimates the prefigured goal of instrumentalizing official development assistance. The pilot projects are effectively a subsidy for the Canadian mining industry in that government-funded development projects are replacing companies’ corporate social responsibility projects. I provide a conjunctural analysis of these changes in order to elucidate the challenges and opportunities for political change in response to them. I intervene in the key public debates that have surrounded the changes, and I advance a broader strategy for responding to the changes that turns on development ideology. I argue that there is a rupture in development ideology in Canada and that political action should focus on this ideological rupture.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada