Harper's Pledge Stopped Short of 0.7

Published: Wednesday, 02/01/2006 12:00 am EST

Among the many items on the new government's 'to-do' list, I hope that addressing the serious decline of Canada's influence and leadership in the world is a top priority. Despite our strong economy and the precedented level of public support for global poverty reduction, Canada ranks far below other donor countries in assisting the world's poor. During the election campaign, Mr. Harper pledged to boost Canada's assistance to less developed nations, but stopped short of announcing a firm commitment to reach the longstanding international foreign aid spending target of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product by 2015. While a $425 million increase in aid is a welcome step, it's far from what is needed from Canada. As his caucus rolls up their sleeves, I encourage Mr. Harper's government to make Canada a leader in tackling world poverty by setting a concrete timetable to meet the 0.7 percent goal and by channeling aid towards areas where can have a decisive impact on poverty reduction. Let's not be content to remain laggards.

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