With so many things to see and do in summer, an upcoming national election may be the furthest thing from our minds. However, some of us might find that we have more time on our hands – an excellent opportunity to ask our local MPs about their party’s platform. I, for one, want to know which party will commit to getting us closer to the goal of 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) for international aid spending. Please note that 0.7 per cent is less than one per cent! Can we not find it in our hearts and in our pockets to give those less fortunate a hand-up?
Our aid contributions stand at just 0.24 per cent of GNI, and have dropped from $5.65 billion in 2012, to $5 billion in 2013, to $4.2 billion in 2014. Meanwhile, the UK has passed a bill that enshrines in law its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of its GNI on aid every year, making it the first G7 country to meet the UN’s 45-year-old aid spending target. In 2013, only five other countries – Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates – had met or exceeded the 0.7 per cent aid spending target. The Netherlands had consistently met the target, but fell short in 2013. Canada must prioritize international development by committing to increasing our aid spending to 0.7 per cent of our Gross National Income by the year 2020. Do a little research so you are armed for that fall election or, better yet, let your MP know your thoughts while he or she is home enjoying those hazy, lazy days of summer.