Last March, the federal government announced a reduction of $319 million over 3 years (more than 8 percent) to the budget of Canada’s international development agency, CIDA.
We can afford more aid. The $319 million cut is less than $10 per Canadian. Isn’t helping the poor worth five large coffees to you? This cut is equivalent to the cost of one of the sixty-five F-35 fighter jets the Government wants to buy.
We have the knowledge and tools to end the AIDS epidemic. What we need now is the political commitment to deliver proven strategies at a scale that will turn the tide.
Over 33 million people around the world live with HIV, many in poverty. Less than half the people who are eligible to receive life-saving anti-retroviral medications have access them. Stigma and discrimination continue to plague the most vulnerable groups.
The link between poverty and the AIDS epidemic is clear. Living in poverty is a key factor in vulnerability to HIV transmission and in increased disease progression for those already living with HIV.
Written by Laura Read of Make Poverty History, Mark Fried of Oxfam, Chantal Havard of CCIC, Simon Lewchuk of Citizens for Public Justice, and Jennifer Slawich of Results Canada.
A third of the world’s population, that’s 1.2 billion people, are currently living in extreme poverty. Many will go to bed hungry. Children will miss the chance to go to school. Parents will watch their children suffer from diseases we have the power to protect them from. Even in our own communities, 3 million Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. This unacceptable reality warrants nothing short of a fundamental shift in how we handle our federal budget.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, the number of people affected by poverty has been growing. That’s true both here in Canada and in the world as a whole. Yet Canada’s aid budget was frozen at the 2010 level, which is less than half the 0.7 per cent of our economy which Canada promised to achieve.
Many programs that lend a hand to Canadians living in poverty will face cutbacks in provincial and federal budgets this year. The fiscal deficit has limited governments’ spending capacity, but this shouldn’t diminish Canada’s contribution to helping people work their way out of poverty.
BC has one of the highest rates of poverty in Canada. With a provincial election expected within a year, it's important to discuss what can be done to change this.
A new report released last week is poised to change the conversation about poverty in BC. The Cost of Poverty in BC reveals that the dollar-value cost of poverty in the province is twice the anticipated cost of fixing the problem.
The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg has provided the following policy briefing on the new Manitoba Poverty Reduction Act:
On Friday, June 17th, the Manitoba legislature passed important legislation that will give some authority to the government’s poverty reduction strategy. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act will create the means to define, monitor and enforce what the government does to deal with poverty and social exclusion. This act was embedded in Bill 51, THE BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION AND TAX STATUTES AMENDMENT ACT, 2011.
The leaders of the richest countries will gather in France this week for their annual G8 Summit. But the French government has set low expectations for any major new agreements or initiatives. It is likely to be mainly an opportunity for informal disucssion of issues of concern to the G8 leaders and there may not even be an official final communique.
Most of the key issues related to global poverty and climate change have been put off until the fall when the G20 meets in November, also hosted by the French Government. The French government has announced that their priorities for the G20 agenda include: combating commodity price volitility, reforming the international monetary system, fighting corruption and financing development through a financial transaction tax.
The Green Party Platform commits to “Make Poverty History” and specifically calls for Canada to meet its commitments and push other nations to meet theirs in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Their “Vision Green” document provides more details including a commitment to:
The NDP Platform endorses increasing aid to 0.7% to fight global poverty, and calls for national poverty reduction plan. It also pledges strong action on climate change. These are the three key points in the Make Poverty History Call to Action.
The NDP Platform states very clearly that they will, “get Canada on track to fulfilling our longstanding commitment to increase our Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) budget to 0.7 per cent of GDP with an immediate increase of $500 million and further increases each year.”
This blog was submitted by Fern Bennett from the Saint John Make Poverty History Local Group:
Saint John held an all-candidates’ forum that specifically discussed the issue of poverty on April 19, 2011. It took a bit of maneuvering, but by the local MPH group teaming up with the Human Development Council, Vibrant Communities, and UNB Urban and Community Studies Institute, we managed to get all the candidates to commit, secure a lovely venue, and provide light refreshments. Saint John Radio 103.5 broadcasted the event. People from all income levels attended…well maybe not the ultra wealthy J… It was a very polished and orderly event; however, my goal of ‘enlightenment for all’ may not have been achieved.