Press release - April 14, 2005

New Report to Parliament on Relations between Canada and the Bretton Woods Institutions Comes up Short

Ottawa - On the eve of the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, the Halifax Initiative Coalition released a new report analyzing how the federal government publicly accounts to Canadians on its relations with these powerful multilateral institutions.

Parliament is informed of the activities and operations of the Bretton Woods Institutions through the tabling of the annual report entitled the Report on the Operations Under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act, which is released annually at the end of March.

'The report is, effectively, the only means by which Parliament and the public is officially informed of Canada's relations with these institutions', said Michael Bassett, Coalition Coordinator, ' With information and analysis lacking in key areas including goals, objectives and outcomes, it may be difficult for Canadians to understand the value of Canada's significant financial participation in these institutions.'

The Halifax Initiative's analysis notes shortcomings in areas including:

    * Canada's goals, objectives and their achievement
    * Position taking, policy analysis and context
    * Board level transparency
    * Constituency level decision-making
    * Canadian office activities
    * Departmental level engagement and decision-making
    * Financial and economic implications

Halifax Initiative calls for significant changes to the report to ensure detailed, analytical and comprehensive information is provided in a transparent and understandable manner with adequate follow-up and continual improvement. The coalition urges Parliament to respond to the annual report through an annual Finance or Foreign Affairs Standing Committee hearing on its contents.

Copies of Halifax Initiative's analysis of the 2004 report is available at

The Department of Finance Report on Operations Under the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act 2004 is available at

For further information please contact:

Michael Bassett - Coalition Coordinator - in Washington DC for the Spring Meetings at 613-301-1174