Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
December 24, 2001
Budget falls short on foreign aid — CCODP
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — The development arm of the Canadian bishops says the increase in foreign aid contained in the federal budget presented by Finance Minister Paul Martin is "inadequate" and "disappointing."
Martin's budget "falls so far short of our expectations that it cannot, by any stretch, be qualified as a worthy example of an improvement in foreign aid," said Susan McNamara Scott, president of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
She said the terrorist attacks of Sept.11 "clearly demonstrate that foreign aid can no longer be considered a luxury." Such aid is the only effective tool to promote peace worldwide.
"To quote Pope Paul VI, "development is the new name for peace," McNamara Scott said.
In his Dec. 10 budget, Martin proposed a $1-billion increase in international aid over three years, including $500 million to set up a fund promoting sustainable development in Africa with part of the surplus from the 2001-2002 fiscal year added to the fund. As well, $100 million will be provided for humanitarian emergency assistance in Afghanistan.
CCODP said the level of support provided for foreign aid contradicts Finance Minister Paul Martin's recent appeals to colleagues from abroad to be more generous to poor nations.
It noted that during the G-20 summit in Ottawa in November, Martin said "human beings should not allow other human beings to live in poverty and misery. It's important that all countries increase foreign aid, and that we make progress in that area."
Robert Letendre, executive director of CCODP, said the gap between industrialized and poor nations has grown to such an extent that people's safety is at risk. "This is unacceptable," he said. "Mr. Martin has obviously failed to grasp the reality of the situation."
In real terms Canada's international aid budget has been cut by 37 per cent since the beginning of the 1990s, said the CCODP.
It asked, "How can Canada set an example by allotting only $400 million over three years to foreign aid while in the same budget setting aside $1.6 billion creating a false sense of security?"
Member organizations of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), including CCODP, called on the federal government in early December to increase aid by at least $400 million annually for the next four years to help close the gap between rich and poor countries.
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