During the last ten years of Conservative rule, Canada’s share of global aid became the lowest of all industrialized nations. In 2014, the only G7 country with a smaller aid budget than Canada was Italy, which had an unemployment rate of over 12 per cent and whose economy was among the worst in Europe.
The usual argument for this parsimony is it’s somehow better to help Canadians than foreigners, and yet I know of no recognized ethic, religion, or accepted system of morals that says ‘only help those that live near you and forget everyone else.’
If human life has value, if we believe that every human being has potential, the accident of one’s location of birth shouldn’t be relevant. Recognizing this, Canada has pledged to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign assistance. We are now at less than half that, while our global partners have reached or are close to that goal.
The second usual argument is our weak economy, but despite a deficit of nearly $200 billion, the UK still met their international obligations in 2014. At the height of the 2008 recession, Ireland increased its aid, exceeding Canada’s. The difference between 0.24 and .07 percent is a rounding error in the federal budget, yet means life and death for millions.
The Conservatives and their tight-fisted policies are now gone, and it’s time to fulfill your predecessor’s oaths, Mr. Trudeau.
Nathaniel PooleVictoria BC