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On aid, Budget 2017 fails to fulfill Liberals’ potential to lead

Budget 2017 fails to deliver new investments to close Canada’s leadership gap in fight against extreme poverty

OTTAWA — Upon news that the Trudeau Government’s Budget 2017 contains no new increases in poverty-fighting assistance, ONE’s Canada Director, Stuart Hickox, said:

“There’s no doubt about it: this budget is disappointing. The funding level proposed for the helping of those living in extreme poverty is far from where most Canadians think their country needs to be and even further from where we ought to be. There is a sense of anticipation that this government is going to put Canada back in a leadership position in the fight against extreme poverty, but this budget doesn’t do that.

“Over the last year, the government called the development community to action, soliciting our counsel about Canada’s aid priorities during the International Assistance Review process. According to its own report, the government heard that Canadians wanted to see our investment in international development increased significantly. No one expects Canada to reach the internationally accepted target level for aid in a single budget, but we’re still not even on a consistent path to half of the target.

“This government’s focus on girls and women reflects a savvy understanding of what many experts believe to be the most effective means of ending extreme poverty. There’s no question that poverty is sexist, and that extreme poverty disproportionately affects girls and women; Prime Minister Trudeau knows they’re also the key to ending it. Global Affairs understands that prioritizing girls and women lifts whole communities out of poverty faster. That’s why we were hopeful the smart strategy would be backed up by smart money.

“So we are disappointed with today’s budget, but it’s not too late. With Canada’s 150th Anniversary coming up, Prime Minister Trudeau can still lead by delivering on his shrewd policy of focusing on girls and women living in extreme poverty and commit to a big, bold initiative to get the 130 million girls around the world who are out of school into the classroom, and — eventually — out of poverty. Canada currently contributes USD$302 million on global education — about 2 cents a day per person. To honour Canada’s 150th anniversary, Prime Minister Trudeau should commit to doubling that amount. Not only would it be good policy that would help millions of girls thrive, but it would be a symbol of Canadians’ generosity and leadership in the world.”

About ONE

ONE is a policy and advocacy organization of nearly 8 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, ONE was co-founded by U2 lead singer Bono to raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and other preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.