On November 24th 1989, Canada's House of Commons passed a unanimous all-party resolution to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Twenty years later, the House passed another unanimous motion to "develop an immediate plan to eliminate poverty in Canada for all".
This December, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is asking donor countries for a replenishment of $15 billion so that it can scale up life-saving programs around the world. Since 2002, the Global Fund has provided 4.2 million people with AIDS treatments, 9.7 million people with anti-tuberculosis treatments and distributed 310 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria.
We are at a tipping point in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria with the US, UK, and Australia, among others, all announcing increased funding to the Global Fund in advance of the pledging conference. But where is Canada’s pledge?
One person is killed every minute by armed violence. Until now the poorly regulated arms trade has fueled widespread human rights abuses, considerable loss of life, political instability, preventable conflicts and corruption. Conventional arms are used daily to commit serious acts of violence against women and girls, including rape and other forms of sexual violence.
It was startling to read a few weeks ago that the former Canadian International Development Agency, now part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, had underspent more than $400 million of its 2012-2013 budget.
There is still a lot to do in the fight against global poverty and there are many well-known Canadian organizations who are equipped and experienced to do it; letting $400 million go unspent, in addition to cuts already announced in the aid budget, shows a lack of accountability with respect to Canada’s commitment to those living in extreme poverty around the world.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is an innovative financing institution that provides funding to countries to support programs that prevent, treat and care for people with HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
Whether it’s distributing mosquito nets to protect families from malaria in Honduras, training peer counsellors who work with teenagers diagnosed with HIV in South Africa, or providing equipment for the diagnosis of TB to clinics in Kazakhstan, partners in each country fighting the pandemics find support from the Global Fund.
March 24th marks World Tuberculosis Day. In 2011 there were still nearly 9 million new cases and nearly 1.4 million died; despite the fact that drugs can cost as little as $20 per person in the developing world where the highest numbers of new TB infections are. TB is also the leading killer of people living with HIV and accounts for ¼ of all deaths in HIV positive people.
This week we have an opportunity to make an impact on poverty in Canada. A bill currently before Parliament, the Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act, calls on our federal government to develop a national housing strategy.
Bill C-400 would oblige the federal government to bring provincial and municipal governments to the table with Aboriginal communities, civil society, non-profits and the private sector to create a plan that ensures everyone in Canada lives in decent and affordable housing.
MPs will be voting on the bill on February 27, so please act now.
A bill now before Parliament would reform Canada’s flawed Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) so that Canada can export affordable generic medicines to poor countries. By approving this important piece of humanitarian legislation Parliament can save lives and end needless suffering across the developing world.
No one should do without medical treatment because she or he cannot afford the medicine. But that is precisely what is happening. The high cost of patented drugs breaks the budget of individuals and government health departments. Bill C-398 can end this horrible injustice. Learn more about it at medicinesforall.ca.
On July 22nd, approximately 20,000 people from 200 countries will converge on Washington D.C. for the XIX International AIDS Conference. This is the premier event to take stock of the fight against the epidemic and to renew our commitment to a bold global response.
Despite progress in recent years, over 33 million people are living with HIV, the vast majority of them in poverty. Less than half the people who are eligible to receive life-saving anti-retroviral medications currently get them. Stigma and discrimination continue to plague the most vulnerable groups.
We have the knowledge and tools to end the AIDS epidemic. But we lack the political commitment to deliver proven strategies at a scale that will turn the tide.
Today, over 2,000 people will die from armed violence, be killed by drug traffickers, terrorists and sometimes by their own governments. Most of them will be poor people living in developing countries.
The causes of armed violence are many and varied, but there is one we can do something about: criminals’ easy access to guns.
Those living in poverty are hit hardest by spikes in food prices. Hunger and malnutrition make it difficult for families to work their way out of poverty. This is a devastating cycle that affects millions of people globally.
Canada increased its efforts to overcome hunger in 2009, as part of the G8’s L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (2009). But L’Aquila is over and Canada’s investment in food security is falling, despite the fact that there are still nearly one billion people in the world without enough to eat.
Canada has an opportunity to act now: Food security is on the agenda for both the G8 and G20 meetings in 2012.
In 2010, World Bank President Robert Zoellick pledged to increase financing for basic education by $750 million. He rightly said the additional money was needed to assist countries most off-track, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa, to achieving MDG2. MDG2 aims to ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015.
Sadly, the World Bank has not yet delivered that $750 million. In addition, the World Bank has recently changed the formula it uses to track its funding, which means that they actually announced a decrease in funding to 2010.
The Ontario government plans severe cuts in the coming budget which will disproportionately hurt those on modest- and low-incomes.
The Drummond Commission recently made 362 recommendations on how the Ontario government should cut spending and reorganize programs to balance the budget by 2017-2018. These recommendations include a real decrease in public spending on social services, child care, health care, and other programs - cutbacks which will disproportionately hurt those living in poverty.
Let’s not solve the fiscal crisis by enlarging the gap between the rich and the rest. Join us in urging our government to retain and improve much-needed programs and services for the 1.7 million Ontarians living in poverty.
Crucial decisions on the 2012 federal budget will happen over the coming days in Ottawa. A modest increase in spending on aid and on fighting poverty here at home could transform the lives of thousands of people living in poverty.
Now is not the time to cut programs to help people work their way out of poverty. Yes, our government has a deficit, but we must not solve it on the backs of vulnerable people in Canada or in other countries. They need Canada’s support now more than ever.
November 24th is a special day in the fight against poverty.
On November 24th 1989, Canada's House of Commons passed a unanimous all-party resolution to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000.
On November 24th 2009, the House passed another unanimous motion to "develop an immediate plan to eliminate poverty in Canada for all".
And last November the House's Human Resources Committee called for a federal poverty reduction plan with measurable targets and timelines.
The sad part is that nothing's been implemented to date.
Twenty-two years, two unanimous House resolutions, and several reports calling for action, yet nearly 3,200,000 Canadians continue to live in poverty.
More than three million people in Canada live in poverty, including more than 630,000 children – one in every ten. And that does not include the shameful situation in First Nations communities where one in four children lives in poverty. This has significant impact on the health of First Nations children and future generations.
In 2009, MPs unanimously voted to “develop an immediate plan to end poverty in Canada for all”. Now there is a new bill to make that happen.
Your action in support of Make Poverty History during the last Ontario election put poverty on the provincial government agenda. In 2009 all parties voted unanimously for the Poverty Reduction Act.
This election, you can help make sure that poverty remains a key issue. Send a message to the leaders of the Ontario political parties urging them to commit to take action on eliminating poverty.
Right now, we have an amazing opportunity to put in place a way of raising the money needed to end global poverty and help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change. This is because the French government has proposed adopting a global Financial Transaction Tax, also known as the Robin Hood Tax, at the G20 Summit they will be hosting in November 2011.
Last year the federal government announced their plan to freeze the aid budget for 2011 at 2010 levels. But after 8 years of 8% annual increases, our aid spending amounts to only 0.3% of our national income – less than half of the 0.7% that Canada has promised to give. If we freeze aid at 2010 levels, we will start moving backwards – away from the 0.7% aid target. We can't let this happen.
A billion dollar Canadian bill? Take a closer look and you will notice that although it bears a slight resemblance to our $5 bill, this $1 Billion Climate Cash bill illustrates what could happen to our iconic Canadian winter scenes if we don’t take action on climate change. It also draws attention to the $1 Billion that is now being wasted on subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as well as the $1 Billion that is needed to help poor countries cope with climate change.
An all party committee of parliament has put forward a report that could change the face of poverty in Canada.
The report calls for the federal government to immediately commit to a federal action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. Make Poverty History has contributed and pushed for this report, now we must make its recommendations a reality.
In every major city in Canada it is hard to avoid the shocking reality of homelessness even though we live in one of the richest countries in the world. Homeless people on the streets are only the tip of the housing crisis iceberg. Many more poor people are forced to couch surf or live in inadequate housing.
You can help to do something about Canada’s affordable housing crisis by sending a message now to your Member of Parliament asking him/her to vote yes on Bill C-304, the National Housing Strategy Act.
Bill C-304, an Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing, is a private member’s bill introduced by Libby Davies, NDP MP for the riding of Vancouver East.
A very important meeting of world leaders will take place next week at the UN in New York to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to reduce extreme poverty by half by the year 2015.
Prime Minister Harper responded positively to calls from Make Poverty History supporters for a maternal and child health initiative at the recently concluded G8 Summit. The Canadian government pledged $1.1 Billion over 5 years that together with funds pledged by other countries will help to save over million women and children’s lives. That is a big achievement and it helps to build momentum for renewed efforts to achieve all the 8 Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015.
Canadians like to think we are a generous and compassionate people. But we rank only 16th of 22 aid donor countries. We are giving only 0.32% of our national income in development aid. That's less than half of the point seven per cent (0.7%) we keep promising to give and then failing to deliver. Donor nations and the UN all agree that 0.7% is the amount necessary to make serious progress towards alleviating extreme poverty in the world.