Saturday, January 22, 2011

Poverty History?

I've been a participant in the Make Poverty History campaign since the Live8 concerts.  I get updates on the campaign and I send emails to our Prime Minister and my Member of Parliament at certain times when asked to by the campaign organizers.  This was the latest email that I sent to our Finance Minister, copied to my MP.  Our country has signed on to the Millenium Development Goals but we conveniently forget about them when something else comes up.  The government will soon be bringing forth a new budget and we're pitifully behind in reaching our target of foreign aid to alleviate poverty.

Dear Mr. Flaherty,

It’s not fair to rely for 25% of your deficit reduction plans on freezing the aid budget. Canada is not even half way to achieving the 0.7% of national income aid target that we promised to give. The impacts of the global economic crisis, the food crisis and climate change are threatening to reverse the progress that has been made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Now is not the time to slack off. Rather we need to re-double our efforts to end global poverty.

The new Conservative government in the UK continues to increase their aid and has re-committed to achieving the 0.7% aid target by 2013, despite dealing with a much larger deficit than Canada. Canada ranks only 14th out of 23 donor countries. We can do better.

Priority needs to be given to fighting poverty, both globally and in Canada, and taking action on climate change over buying expensive new fighter aircraft, building more prison cells or continuing to subsidize fossil fuels.

Please do the right thing in your 2011 federal budget and bring in a budget that would help to make poverty history.

I have also copied my Member of Parliament on this letter so they can be aware of the views of their constituents and ask that they do their best to represent my concerns.

Thank you for considering these heart-felt requests.

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