Backgrounder: SAPs in Canada (June 2003)

Revised - June 18 2003

Structural Adjustment in Canada
Most Canadians would be surprised to learn that economists from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) annually visit Canada to dispense advice. We tend to think of the IMF as an institution that prescribes strong medicine, known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), only to less developed countries. In fact our governments regularly follow the same bitter prescriptions.
In 1990 Prime Minister Brian Mulroney boldly declared that Canada needed to undergo structural adjustment which he promised to deliver through free trade agreements with the US and Mexico and harsh spending cuts. Little changed when the Liberals came to power. Much of the content of Finance Minister Paul Martin’s crucial 1995 budget that slashed our social safety net followed directives that came straight from the IMF.

The Global Environmental Facility - August 23, 2002

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Villagers had already noticed a decline in the agricultural productivity of their land. Although no scientific studies were carried out, the World Bank-financed Kiambere and other up-stream dams are likely responsible for reduced flooding of the river plains. “We will be reduced to beggars if they interfere with our farming,” says a village elder. “We Pokomo have never killed wildlife, but if you beat me because of wildlife, then I will kill the wildlife because it has become my problem.”[57]