About Stephen Brown

Professor, School of Political Studies

Stephen Brown

When Policy Coherence is a Bad Thing

In July 2013, when the government abolished the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and transferred its functions to the newly renamed Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), it did so mainly in the name of policy coherence. The government wanted to improve coordination among the various components of foreign polic… Read More

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Killing CIDA: The Wrong Solution to Real Problems

Many supporters of DFAIT’s recently announced takeover of CIDA are invoking spurious arguments. More fundamentally, most commentators are missing the crucial point that this new arrangement will do little or nothing to fix the actual problems with Canadian foreign aid. In fact, it is likely to make them worse. Many proponents of the merger actually do no… Read More

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Bev Oda’s Real Legacy at CIDA

Media commentary has been remarkably lenient regarding Bev Oda’s record at the end of her five-year stint as Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation. Coverage has by and large ignored how, under her watch, the government systematically undermined both the fundamental purpose of Canadian foreign aid, which is to fight poverty in developing coun… Read More

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Transitional Justice As Subterfuge

Transitional justice is trendy. After a civil war or political transition, the new government will often announce one or more of a variety of mechanisms for dealing with the past, such as a special tribunal or a truth commission. What outside actors often forget – even though domestic actors may try to remind them – is that such mechanisms can be more about eva… Read More

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Putting the Corporate Back Into CSR: A Rejoinder to Natalie Brender

In a blog post yesterday, my colleague Natalie Brender rejected a recent Ottawa Citizen column’s condemnations of the use of CIDA funds to subsidize Canadian mining companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in mining-affected communities in developing countries. The crux of Natalie’s objections is as follows: “[A]s for the no… Read More

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