Canada turns its back on the world’s poor

2012 was a dark year for Canada’s reputation as a helping, compassionate citizen on the world stage

The year 2012 is shaping up to be a dark one for Canada’s reputation as a helping, compassionate citizen on the world stage.

The Canadian International Development Agency is facing draconian budget cuts, 41 per cent of which will affect assistance directed to the world’s poorest countries. Additionally, according to International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino, CIDA aid will now be linked to projects benefiting the Canadian mining industry.

In a final attack on the world’s poor, the Conservative government blocked Bill-398, which would have allowed cheap generic medicine to save millions of people in the developing world, at no cost to Canada.

This has been the year the Conservatives laid a swath of destruction to a host of effective and inexpensive aid programs, resulting in more disease, more poverty and more death. Is this the Conservative ideal or simply gross mismanagement?

A new year is ahead, with a chance to undo the worst of the damage that has been done. Unfortunately, rumour has it that even further cuts are in the offing at CIDA. This must not happen. Canadians and the world expect and deserve a lot better from this government.

Nathaniel Poole

Victoria