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Aid and Ebb Tide

A History of CIDA and Canadian Development Assistance

By David R. Morrison
Subjects Social Science, Development Studies, Business & Economics, Sustainable Development, Political Science
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Hardcover : 9780889203044, 624 pages, October 1998
Paperback : 9781554583843, 624 pages, June 2011

Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Aid and Ebb Tide: A History of CIDA and Canadian Development Assistance by David R. Morrison

List of Tables and Figures

List of Acronyms

Chronology of Key Events

List of Ministers and Senior Officials


01. Defining Canadian Development Assistance

02. The Early Years, 1950–66

03. Maurice Strong and the Creation of CIDA, 1966–70

04. Global Expansion and Growing Pains, 1970–77

05. Retrenchment and Reorientation, 1977–80

06. Rethinking the Mission, 1980–83

07. Multiple Mandates and Partners, 1983–89

08. A Jolt of Fresh Energy? ODA Policy Reviewed, 1984–89

09. Shifting Gears, 1989–93

10. Ebb Tide, 1993–98

11. Explaining Canadian ODA


A. Canadian Official Development Assistance: Selected Components, Total, and ODA/GNP Ratio, 1949–50 to 1996–97

B. Percentage Distribution of Canadian Government-to-Government ODA by Region, Ten-Year Cumulative Totals, 1950–60, and Five-Year Cumulative Totals, 1960–95

C. Top Twenty Recipients of Canadian Government-to-Government ODA at Five-Year Intervals, 1960–61 to 1995–96

D. Core/Category I and Non-Core/Category II Countries, 1978, 1981, 1986

E. Publicly Financed Technical Assistance Personnel and Students and Trainees Supported by Canadian ODA, Five-Year Intervals, 1965–95

F. Canadian ODA: Proportion of DAC Effort and Comparative Standing, Five-Year Intervals, 1960–95

G. Percentage Distribution of All Attributable Country-to-Country Aid by Region, Canada and DAC Donors, 1970–71, 1980–81, and 1995–96

H. Percentage Distribution of Attributable Country-to-Country Aid by Country Income Level, Canada and All DAC Donors, 1970–71, 1980–81, and 1995–96

I. Canadian Multilateral ODA: Proportion of DAC Effort and Comparative Standing, Selected Years




Aid and Ebb Tide: A History of CIDA and Canadian Development Assistance examines Canada’s mixed record since 1950 in transferring over $50 billion in capital and expertise to developing countries through ODA. It focuses in particular on the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the organization chiefly responsible for delivering Canada’s development assistance. Aid and Ebb Tide calls for a renewed and reformed Canadian commitment to development co-operation at a time when the gap between the world’s richest and poorest has been widening alarmingly and millions are still being born into poverty and human insecurity.


``Aid and Ebb Tide is indispensable for anyone interested in CIDA, Canada's development assistance programs, and the policy-making process. Elegantly written and free of jargon, it is a pleasure to read. ''

- Robert O. Matthews, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Quarterly

``. ..this volume of over 600 pages, including almost 2,000 bibliographical references, constitutes the most comprehensive study of Canadian aid ever published. ...Written in clear and elegant prose, Morrison's work is impressive from several points of view. On the empirical level, it is comprehensive inasmuch as it deals with practically every facet of a half-century of Canadian aid. The book is especially effective in its treatment of the evolution of administrative structures, the substance of policies and the bureaucratic games behind the major changes of direction undergone by CIDA. Morrison also provides data that are helpful for comparing Canada's behavior with that of other industrialized countries. On the theoretical level, his book offers a fresh outlook. It demonstrates how nonstate actors -- especially the NGOs -- carry more weight than what statist and dominant-class approaches suggest. ...we ought to thank him for having had the stamina to see his marathon project through to the end. His book is an all-too-rare model of scholarship. It will certainly be an indispensable and enduring reference for every student of Canadian development assistance policy. ''

- Jean-Philippe Thérien, University of Montreal, Recensions

``Reviews and assessments of Canada's aid program have been numerous. ...not until the publication of David Morrison's Aid and Ebb Tide has there been a comprehensive review of its history, allowing a more fully informed assessment. The book is an important achievement, chronicling the evolution of Canada's aid program since its origins in support of the Colombo plan in 1950, to the end of the 20th century. It provides a level of details not previously captured, which will serve both students of aid as well as practitioners and analysts. It is a history long overdue, given the continued importance of aid in Canadian foreign policy efforts. It provides a particular vantage for reflections on new directions and prospects for Canadian aid program, as Canada heads into a new century of unquestionable levels of global poverty and inequity. ''

- Gauri Sreenivasan, Canadian Journal of Development Studies

``David Morrison's book has long been anticipated. It does not disappoint. It is marked by the most careful scholarship, a clear and accessible literary style, a telling sensitivity for apt quotations, nuanced theoretical and normative judgements, and a sure touch when dealing with politics and personalities. Aid and the Ebb Tide is and will for long remain absolutely indispensable for anyone interested in Canada's relations with the developing world, in the making of public policy in Canada, and in the complexity of any serious effort to give expresssion in Canadian foreign policy to the underlying social values that, though under strain, are still central to the Canadian political culture. ''

- Cranford Pratt, Emeritus Professor ofPolitical Science, University of Toronto