THE CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY AND THE CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS: A DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIP
Murphy, Michael Joseph
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The thesis analyses the relationship between the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), which is Canada's largest trade union central or federation, and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which is the government agency that administers the Canadian foreign aid programme. It traces the history of that relationship from 1969 to 1983 and documents the linkages between the two organizations, especially as regards the many projects which CIDA has funded for the CLC's International Affairs Department. The projects are compiled and analysed geographically and by sponsoring organization. An explanation is offered as to why the CIDA/CLC relationship has developed and expanded. This is done in the context of a critique of the Canadian foreign aid programme, which is virtually synonymous with CIDA. The Canadian aid programme, and CIDA, are seen as serving the foreign and domestic interests of the Canadian state, which seeks to maintain present national and international class relations. CIDA, it is argued, maintains the CLC relationship because it allows CIDA, as an instrument of the state, to contribute to legitimization of the state and in the process to exert some influence over the working class in Canada and in the developing countries. A critical examination is also offered of the international policies pursued by the leadership of the CLC. The CLC is seen as maintaining the CIDA relationship because it contributes to the advancement of the social- democratic ideology within the labour movement in Canada and overseas; it strengthens the CLC as an international actor, especially within the powerful International Confederation of Free Trade Unions; and it legitimizes the present leadership of the CLC. The thesis argues that the convergence of interests between CIDA and the CLC is based primarily on a shared interest in exerting influence on the working class in both the Third World and Canada. Given the strategic importance of South Africa and the important role played by the trade union movement in the struggle for liberation in that country, major projects that CIDA has funded for the CLC in that country are examined, in the context of the role of the international labour federations in South Africa.