A little over a week ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poured out millions of Canadian tax dollars to support a global partnership.
This time, it was a pledge of $180 million over three years to support the Global Partnership on Education.
Now, maybe, Trudeau might be feeling the pressure from other world leaders, who say Canada isn’t offering up enough foreign aid. One of the biggest critics is the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has called on Canada to provide more funds to international causes.
An OECD statement last June said this:
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“The latest DAC Peer Review of Canada commends the creation of a new department, Global Affairs Canada, from the merger of the former aid agency with the department of foreign affairs and trade. Global Affairs is working to make Canadian aid more responsive and innovative, and is improving the way it conducts evaluations of development assistance.”
But the review also said this: “More efforts are needed, however, to increase Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) which, despite robust economic growth, has declined from 0.31% of its gross national income (GNI) in 2012 to 0.26% – or USD 4.27 billion – in 2017. The federal government’s allocation of an extra CAD 2 billion (around USD 1.5 billion) for foreign aid for the next five years is not enough to restore ODA to 2012 levels, much less to the internationally agreed target of 0.7% of GNI.”
In other words, the OECD says Canada should be providing more foreign aid.
Trudeau must have heard those complaints when he made his announcement last week. But what about the needs at home? And especially, what about Canada’s educational funding needs?
Back in September, Chief Peter Beatty of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in northeast Saskatchewan told Prime Minister Trudeau their schools still can’t afford science labs, sports equipment or Indigenous language programs.
That’s because the $2.6-billion Trudeau promised more than two years ago had yet to arrive.
“We’ll take what we can get, but this is wrong,” Chief Beatty said.
And the shortfalls in First Nations education funding in Canada isn’t the only problem. Canada is also having a problem feeding its population. A report back in February of 2018 that showed there were still one in eight households — or over four million Canadians –who were considered “food insecure”. In other words, they were struggling to put food on the table.
So with millions of Canadians struggling to put food on the table, with a First Nations leader saying he still can’t get the equipment and programs he needs for his schools and with 235,000 Canadians homeless each year (some 35,000 every single night) how can Canada afford to provide $180 million to the Global Partnership on Education?
Hey, and don’t forget, the current federal budget deficit is forecast at $18.1 billion.
So where is Trudeau finding all this money to throw overseas? And who’s going to pay the bills for all this spending? We know the answer to that, now don’t we?
Keith Beardsley, president of Cenco Public Affairs, wrote a column in the HuffPost in February 2016, updated in February 2017, appropriately headlined: Trudeau’s Spending Priorities Send Too Many Tax Dollars Overseas
“$4.3 billion spent outside of the country will buy you a lot of thanks from some organizations such as the UN or from climate change conferences. That type of spending will also earn you a lot of selfies to up your political profile. But in the end it is our taxpayers footing the bill.”
Maybe it’s about time Trudeau started thinking about those taxpayers. Maybe, it’s about time he started thinking about the priorities at home and about suffering and poor Canadians.
While Trudeau smiles to the cameras on the world stage, there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians suffering. It’s time somebody looked after them.
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