Letter to Minister Goodale Re: Nomination of Paul Wolfowitz - March 17, 2005

March 17, 2005

The Honourable Ralph Goodale M.P., P.C.,
Minister of Finance
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G5
Via Fax: 995-5176

RE: Canadian NGOs Call for the Government of Canada to Oppose the Nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to the position of President of the World Bank

Dear Minister Goodale,

We are writing to express our strong concern with the nomination by the US government of Paul Wolfowitz to become the next President of the World Bank. We call on the Government of Canada to direct its Executive Director to the World Bank, Marcel Massé to strongly oppose the nomination and to vote against it.

The nomination of Mr. Wolfowitz puts the weaknesses of the World Bank selection process in the starkest light. For many years the Halifax Initiative Coalition has highlighted the failures of the selection process for the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

These failures have also been noted in the Commission for Africa report. The Commission's strong call for an open competition for the heads of the World Bank and IMF is welcome. We agree with the Commission's statement that "[I]f reforms are not forthcoming the international public will be forced to the conclusion that these institutions, established after the Second World War, are becoming increasingly irrelevant in our post-Cold War, post 11 September world." (63)

Mr. Wolfowitz is the wrong candidate for the World Bank for a number of reasons, including his lack of experience with the difficult work of development and the impression his presidency would give that the World Bank is an ideological tool in US foreign policy rather than a development institution.

The World Bank stands at a critical juncture. Will its members demonstrate they are serious about democratizing this institution or will they continue to have the Bank represent only the voices of the most powerful in the world? The current US nominee illustrates the need for fundamental reform of the selection process of the World Bank and IMF.

The Government of Canada cannot stand at the sidelines of the selection process. The Government has a responsibility to clearly, publicly and strongly voice its opposition to the US nomination. Canada must ensure that an appropriate and democratically chosen candidate for the position is advanced.

We eagerly await your response on this matter of great urgency.



John Mihevc

Halifax Initiative Coalition

Cc: Mr. Marcel Massé, Executive Director for Canada, World Bank
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Hon. Aileen Carroll, Minister of International in Cooperation

Halifax Initiative Coalition members:

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Social Affairs Office
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
Canadian Friends of Burma
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)
CAW - Canada
CoDevelopment Canada
Democracy Watch
Falls Brook Centre
Friends of the Earth Canada
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
MiningWatch Canada
North-South Institute
Oxfam Canada
Rights & Democracy
Sierra Club of Canada Nuclear Campaign
Social Justice Committee
Steelworkers Humanity Fund
Toronto Environmental Alliance
World Interaction Mondiale