March 31, 2014

MONTREAL – A campaign in Quebec to establish its own international development agency is being welcomed by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace as a possible new source of funding.

"We would always welcome another source of funding if it's in keeping with our mission and our principles," said Development and Peace national council president Pat Kennedy.

"We wouldn't just partner with anyone. But any source of funding we would welcome if it's in keeping with our mission and our principles."

The provincial government and Quebec's development NGOs have been studying how to create a Quebec funding mechanism for foreign aid since the federal government folded CIDA into the department of foreign affairs trade and development last year.

The Quebec Association of International Co-operation Organizations has laid out a Quebec version of CIDA.

The Parti Quebecois government has signalled readiness, if re-elected, to move on its own foreign aid agency.

Development and Peace has no worries about being caught up in the nationalist agenda of the current, separatist government in Quebec, said D&P executive director Michael Casey.

"Development and Peace is a non-partisan organization," Casey wrote in an email. "The organization is always satisfied to see the international development budgets increased, should it be at the federal or provincial level."

Development and Peace's 2012 proposal for a five-year funding agreement with Ottawa was reduced by more than $35 million.

Casey emphasized that Development and Peace is not looking for funding just for the sake of funding.

"We see no objection to seeking funding from the (Quebec government) as long as the projects meet Development and Peace's mandate and priorities," he said.