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Cablegate: New Cida Director Named

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DE RUEHOT #0882 1792102
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 272102Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8110
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000882

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN AND EEB/IFD
STATE PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV CA
SUBJECT: NEW CIDA DIRECTOR NAMED

1. (U) Prime Minister Harper has named veteran civil servant
Margaret Biggs to replace Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA) president Robert Greenfield on July 1. Biggs
has been a deputy secretary to the Cabinet in the Privy
Council Office with responsibility for plans and consultation
since May 2006. Greenfield will become managing director and
chief business officer of the World Economic Forum in Geneva.


2. (U) According to press reports, Biggs joined the Canadian
civil service in 1978 as an economist in the Finance
Department and has served in a variety of roles with
different government departments, primarily with Human
Resources and Development Canada. She also has had
experience outside government, including several years in the
early eighties at the North-South Institute, a Canadian
non-profit and independent research institute focused on
international development.

3. (U) Biggs takes over CIDA at a time when the agency is
facing criticism as a "troubled agency" and under pressure to
shift direction and overhaul how it delivers its aid and
development programs. A Canadian Senate report last year
called upon the government to consider dismantling the agency
because it had failed to make a difference in Africa over the
past 40 years. It criticized CIDA as slow, top heavy,
"ineffective, costly, and overly bureaucratic."
Non-government groups also have been critical of CIDA
operations although they see the agency as a major player and
supporter of international development in a league with USAID
and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID).
The head of CARE Canada believes that the Canadian
government and CIDA should re-examine the balance between
funding government groups like UN agencies and supporting
civil NGOs who may often be better equipped to deliver
programming than bureaucracies. Since 2000 the percentage of
CIDA funding going to NGOs has fallen below 20 percent.

4. (U) Some observers hope that the Prime Minister's
decision to appoint a senior bureaucrat to head CIDA is a
sign of the agency's growing stature within the government.
The president of the North-South Institute said "the fact
that she's coming from the Privy Council Office will serve
CIDA in good stead because, quite frankly, it is at the
bottom of the totem pole, and it needs all the allies in the
system that it can get." Outgoing president Greenhill's
experience had been predominately in the private sector.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/can ada

WILKINS

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