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Do as committees recommend and boost aid budget

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The key metric that measures the level of a government’s assistance to developing countries, official development assistance (ODA), was set at a target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) by the OECD.

According to the report Assessing Canada’s Global Engagement Gap, Canada averaged between 0.44 per cent and 0.47 per cent of ODA spending for 25 years, beginning with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1968. This reasonable level ended with Jean Chrétien’s government, which slashed spending to an average of 0.31 per cent, a level that threatens to drop to an abysmal 0.26 per cent under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

As Julia Sanchez of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation pointed out last month, the House Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee and the House Finance Committee agreed that the government should increase ODA spending to 0.35 per cent over the next three years.

Why doesn’t Prime Minister Trudeau increase Canada’s ODA spending to an honourable level, as recommended by his own party and begun by his father nearly 50 years ago, in this year’s budget?

Marc Aubertin
Ottawa, Ont.

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