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Coronavirus: why Canada must recalibrate its foreign aid policy

By Pouyan Kimiayjan      

We can increase our international aid contributions and reform our foreign aid program, an approach that will be mutually advantageous to Canada’s national interest as well as its global standing.

The recent United Nations Security Council vote must serve as a reminder that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has so far failed to improve its global image as a proactive middle power. The negative implications of a global economic downturn and the resurgence of a second wave, originating from a foreign source, are serious risks to our national security, writes Pouyan Kimiayjan. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

VANCOUVER—The Trump administration has officially begun to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), creating a budget vacuum that will limit the organization’s ability to help impacted countries fight COVID-19. Meanwhile, the pandemic has demonstrated that in our interconnected world order, we cannot protect the Canadian mainland without projecting our reach abroad. While closing borders can be a short-term solution, the Canadian economy will inevitably open its doors to cross-border travel and international tourism, thus making our citizens vulnerable to the ongoing pandemic and other potential viruses. Once a vaccine is produced, its distribution will not be immediate. The global economy is in a recessionary period and developing countries have been hit the hardest. This environment will most likely translate to higher refugee numbers and thus become a matter of health security for Canada. In this light, Canada must increase its cooperation with multilateral institutions, recalibrate its foreign aid efforts, and assist the most vulnerable countries.

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