Canadians of all political stripes support the notion of providing aid to the world’s neediest citizens. What most want is accountability and evidence that the money spent is actually doing some good.
While some situations such as Haiti seem to bedevil even the most optimistic, hundreds of millions of lives are improved by simple and inexpensive efforts such as clean water, schools and minimum health care. In these examples, we Canadians have made a massive difference, and we should be proud of what we have done.
But this is changing. The federal Conservatives are counting that the average Canadian is unaware of aid funding and are quietly planning massive cuts in the next budget. We already punch well below the line for an economy as large as ours, shamed by most other G8 nations, which give far more.
These cuts alarm all organizations who serve the world’s poor, but they cannot speak out for fear of reprisals from the government. The only thing that will save those distant lives is when Canadians make it clear that the budget cannot be balanced at the cost of human lives.
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