The ONE Campaign and Engineers Without Borders Canada are disheartened by cuts to international assistance in the Canadian budget
20,000 Canadians who signed petition disappointed by Government’s decision to cut aid
OTTAWA, March 29, 2012 – The global anti-poverty organization ONE and Engineers Without Borders Canada today offered the following statements on the 2012 Budget presented by the Minister of Finance of Canada.
Michael Elliott, President and CEO of ONE:
“While we are conscious of the difficult fiscal choices which all governments must make in these challenging times, we are disappointed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have opted to cut international assistance that saves lives and fights poverty around the globe.
“Canadian foreign assistance is a crucial investment that achieves results and demonstrates Canadian leadership worldwide—but while Canada is faring better economically than all other G7 countries, its decision to cut development assistance by more than 7.5% in the next three years will achieve only symbolic savings, but have a profound impact on human lives and dignity.
“Regardless of this setback, ONE and its almost 100,000 Canadian members will continue to work with the Government of Canada and other civil society organizations to re-establish Canada’s leadership and restore foreign assistance investments in future years.”
George Roter, Founder and CEO of Engineers Without Borders Canada:
“EWB has always taken the view that how we use foreign aid resources is just as important as the amount of money our country gives. That being said, funding matters. As a result of the government’s decision, Canada plans to spend $800 million less on international development assistance over the next 3 years. That’s roughly akin to cutting all of what we now spend to support Tanzania, Ghana, and Mozambique.
“Considering the important steps that Canada has taken to improve the accountability and effectiveness of our aid – for instance signing on to the International Aid Transparency Initiative – we’re disappointed that the government has cut aid at a time when there is growing evidence that aid works and is a cost-effective investment. Consider for instance, that by 2014-2015 the International Development Research Centre – lauded throughout the world as a premiere research institute – will see its support from the Canadian government reduced by 11%.
“Aid isn’t just about being charitable – it’s also a vital tool to manage the complex global challenges which we face today. Through aid, Canada is not only ensuring increased social and economic stability in developing countries, but we’re also securing our own future prosperity by forging stronger bonds with countries that have the potential to become vital trading partners.
“At a time when our country is navigating the crisis of the global economy more effectively than most, we’ll continue to work pragmatically with our government to ensure Canada’s aid program is as effective as possible and, importantly, that we are keeping up with other rich countries in the amount of aid we give.”
Earlier this month, Engineers Without Borders and ONE delivered a petition with over 20,000 signatures to M.P. Lois Brown, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, asking the Government of Canada to protect the international assistance envelope in the Canadian budget.
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 3 million people. We fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressing political leaders to support smart, effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. For more information please visit www.ONE.org
Engineers Without Borders is an organization focused exclusively on systemic change that accelerates development in rural Africa. Our teams in five African countries apply our intelligent development process, incubating systemic innovations with local partners that create opportunity and prosperity from within. In Canada, our 50,000 members and supporters engage citizens, politicians, engineers and more in conversations on how they can make decisions that better promote human development. To learn more, please visit www.ewb.ca.