PAUL MARTIN

Published: Wednesday, 07/06/2005 12:00 am EDT

"The easiest thing in the world would be for me to commit to the 0.7. (The year) 2015 is 10 years from now. The problem is that too many leaders have committed to things that are a decade away knowing that they may not be around when the time comes to fulfill that commitment. I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to do that to Canadians and I'm not going to do that to people in the rest of the world who are hoping. What I've said is that I believe that there is a higher ethic that is required. And that that higher ethic is that when countries make an international commitment that they live up to it and that they don't make the commitment unless they're assured they can do it, unless they're prepared to set out how they're going to do it. I mean the gap between the rich and the poor is not narrowing. It's getting worse. The environmental problems that we face in the world are getting worse. The conflicts that are taking place in the poorest parts of the world are getting worse and children are being born into abject poverty in a world of huge wealth. And the reason for that is that instead of dealing with the problems the way that people ought to deal with the problems, what in fact they're doing is that they're giving into short-term political pressure. Get their pictures in the paper, make an announcement, go home, go home to favourable headlines and then they forget about it. Well, I'm not going to do that. And I'm not going to do that because there's an election coming. I'm not going to do it under any circumstances... you may remember that at the time that we eliminated the deficit in Canada I did not come out and say we will eliminate it by X years. What I did is I set interim targets. And I think that there's a lot more merit in establishing interim targets in shorter time periods. And just let me go back to it, all right? I mean I certainly don't think we should be going out to the year 2025. I mean you get into Alice in Wonderland. And I just don't think that you should allow countries or political leaders or politicians to operate in a way where you can't measure whether in fact they're living up to their word. So what I have said is we're going to double the amount of aid that we're going to give to Africa by the year 2008... Rather than trying to set grand and glorious targets a long way out, my own view is that you should set achievable targets in the short term that people can measure you by, especially if you don't achieve them."

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