Poverty reduction has been a main underlying principle in Canada’s Official Development Accountability Act, and the United Nations has called on all nations to commit 0.7 percent of GDP to economic development and cooperation. Yet Canada committed just 0.27 percent of GDP to international aid in 2014 – by comparison Norway committed 1.07 percent, Sweden 1.02 percent and the United Kingdom 0.72 percent.
Endemic poverty contributes to untold suffering in many parts of the world, global instability, and large scale economic migrations.
Do you believe it is in the best interests of Canada and the world for developed nations to commit 0.7 percent of GDP to international and economic development, and that every effort should be made to live up to the commitment over the long-term?
Not only is it in our best interests to meet our international aid commitments, it is in the fabric of what defines Canada as a country, or at least it used to be.
Over the past 10 years, Stephen Harper’s Conservative agenda has isolated Canada, failing to meet international commitments and too often tying trade and narrow ideology to aid. The Conservatives cut eight of the poorest African countries from our aid programs, shifting instead to countries willing to sign free trade deals.
Throughout Nanaimo-Ladysmith, people have told me they want Canada to step up, to be counted as a caring country again, and I will work with Tom Mulcair to restore Canada to its historic role of leadership in the world.
As Prime Minister, Mr. Mulcair will attend the November climate change meeting in Paris with clear targets and a plan to meet them. The NDP will show leadership on poverty and the suffering and instability at its core. We will work toward nuclear disarmament and ending discrimination against LGBTQ persons.
And yes, we will reverse decades of cuts to global aid and meet Canada’s commitment to the UN global aid target of 0.7 per cent of GDP, with an increase of $500 million over our first mandate.
These are important steps to refocusing our priorities on the promotion of health, democracy and human rights abroad. The world has been waiting a decade for Canada to step up in these ways, and the NDP will do so.
Liberal Party Of Canada will refocus our development assistance on helping the poorest and most vulnerable. Over the past ten years, Stephen Harper has steadily shifted aid away from the world’s poorest countries.
We will consult with Canadian and international aid organizations to review current policies and funding frameworks that will refocus our aid priorities on poverty reduction.
As part of rebalancing our priorities, we will ensure that every dollar committed to international development actually gets spent. We will not allow funds to lapse, as Stephen Harper has done.
We will also ensure that Canada’s valuable aid initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) is
outcomes, not ideology.
We will restore Canada’s reputation and help more people in need through a program that is safe, secure, and humane.
We will renew and expand our commitment to helping resettle more refugees, and deliver a refugee program that is safe, secure, and humane.
Many Canadians have already offered to help those fleeing Syria, and it is time for the federal government to offer more help, too. We have a responsibility to expand our refugee targets.
We will expand Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria by 25,000 through immediate government sponsorship. We will also work with private sponsors to accept even more. To do this, we will invest $250 million, including $100 million this fiscal year, to increase refugee processing, as well as sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada. Vote for Real Change, Vote Liberal.
The Green Party is fully committed to providing 0.7 per cent of GDP to international aid and to meeting the Millennium Development Goals within ten years.
With this amount of aid, representing less than one one-hundredth of our GDP, we can help make poverty history, reduce disease, promote democracy, and encourage sustainable economies.
We also need to change the way we deliver international aid, ensuring that the decisions on who receives it are based on humanitarian, and not political, aims.
Under the Harper government aid decisions have become highly politicized. Groups such as KAIROS, MATCH, and Planned Parenthood have had their federal funding cut and have been subjected to ideological attacks, diminishing Canada’s international reputation.
In addition, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, the umbrella group for Canadian non-governmental organizations, has lost all its funding.
Funding should be provided to these organizations on the basis that they provide consistent, evidence-based, effective and reliable programs.
We will change the focus of the Canadian International Development Agency to the reduction of poverty, the development of community-based green economies, and combating and adapting to climate change.
We will restore funding to the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Kairos, MATCH, and Planned Parenthood, so that they can continue their good work in making poverty history.
And finally, we will support a worldwide, international financial transfer tax (the Tobin tax) to slow the currency speculation that has crashed economies and direct those funds to international aid.
Committing to fund international economic development is an important investment, because it helps nations move towards being self-sufficient and capable of providing for their own needs over the long term. It is also intended to help stabilize nations that are in danger, or could become potentially volatile in the future.
While knocking on doors, I’ve had numerous conversations and questions from concerned taxpayers about the depth of Canada’s commitment to these programs, while there are Canadians in need here at home. They are very clear on this point: This investment in foreign aid needs to be made in consideration of Canada’s own economic circumstances.
Here are some facts that show the Conservative government’s commitment to make a difference for those less fortunate in other countries:
Canada is the second largest donor to the World Food Programme.
In regards to maternal, new born child health, Canada’s contributions have meant an estimated two million deaths have been prevented between 2010 and 2013 alone, and thousands of women have received ante-natal care.
With the current catastrophes in the Middle East due to ISIS, Canada has provided food to 5.7 million people and relief items for 4.4 million people in Iraq and Syria, while improving access to education for 500,000 children. Canada has also been supporting refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
Canada has been a very generous country under this Conservative government in regards to foreign aid, and will continue to be at a level that we can afford and makes sense for taxpayers.