Conservative leader Andrew Scheer may read this blog! Or his strategists do.
Back in July I raised the question: WHY is Canada providing $64 Million in foreign aid this year to India … when that country has squandered more than A BILLION DOLLARS to send a rocket to land/transmit from the moon (it failed) … and also spent $480 MILLION on a 597 feet high “Unity” statue????
You can review that Blog piece and all the reactions here: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/india-spending-1-8-billion-this-year-alone-on-moon-project-so-why-did-we-give-it-64-million-in-foreign-aid/
And in the spirited discussion that followed, I wrote: ” a country … any country … that cannot feed, house MILLIONS of its its own people spends BILLIONS on “Space” … we should cut them off…. spend our money elsewhere.”
” I have no objection to Canada helping where we can …generously …as long as the recipients (countries and organizations and people) are not squandering their own funds or stealing ours,” I added.
Turns out these sentiments and concerns are apparently shared by many Canadians … and Scheer and the Tories have noticed.
“It’s time for Canada to put our money where our mouth is and only use foreign aid to support the Canadian values we hold dear,” Scheer said Tuesday in Toronto as he talked about how a Conservative government would handle international affairs, including development assistance,” reported The Canadian Press.
“Under a plan announced by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on Tuesday, that kind of foreign aid would be cut. Scheer promised a 25% cut to foreign-aid funding that would see high-income countries and dictatorships get the boot,” explained the website Canoe.com.
“Canadian taxpayers sent $7.1 million to China in foreign aid last year. The Trudeau Liberals also sent $5 million to North Korea, $4 million to Iran and even Putin’s Russia got $200,000,” added commentator Brian Lilley.
“If you find it hard to believe that we are funding some of these countries, here are the numbers from the government’s own figures for last year: Mexico, $6.8 million; Turkey, $4.5 million; Brazil, $4.3 million; and Argentina, $2.1 million.
“Why on earth would Canada fund any of these countries with foreign-aid money? They are wealthy trading partners, not countries with the basic needs of their citizens not being met,” he added.
These are valid questions; how foreign aid is spent IS a valid issue; and, where funding goes IS a valid concern … deserving discussion.
Scheer said money cut from foreign aid …. $1.5 Billion … could be better spent on assistance projects at home and on tax cuts.
His proposal, however, ran into a lot of pushback almost immediately.
In an article in the National Post, under a headline using the phrase “Baloney Meter” , writer Teresa Wright of CP was critical of Scheer’s reasoning, quoting a federal review: https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/baloney-meter-andrew-scheer-says-canada-sends-foreign-aid-to-rich-countries
“The report also notes that some of the assistance provided to Iran and China was part of an estimated portion of Canada’s institutional support to organizations such as the World Food Program, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Global Environment Facility.”
The Toronto Star pointed out Canada is already spending LESS on foreign aid than many other OECD countries: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/10/01/on-foreign-aid-scheer-would-make-a-bad-situation-worse.html
And the CBC fired back as well: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservatives-foreign-aid-fact-check-1.5305045.
“North African nations would no longer qualify for Canadian aid, nor would South Africa. And in the Middle East, only Syria and Yemen would make the grade. The list in Asia would be whittled down to Afghanistan — Canada’s top foreign aid recipient at $237.97 million last year — Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal,” wrote the CBC’s Jonathon Gatehouse.
“It was Lester Pearson, the former prime minister, who helped the UN set a development spending target for wealthy nations — 0.7 per cent of GDP — back in 1970. It’s a goal that Canada has been committed to for 50 years, but has never come close to attaining. At present, Ottawa’s $6.1 billion aid budget is 0.28 per cent of GDP. The proposed Conservative cut would drop that figure to 0.21 per cent,” he added.
But I’m glad Scheer raised the issue … especially during a campaign when the leaders have been trying so hard not to offend anyone, not to speak hard truths to power, and not to even suggest curbing any waste of taxpayers’ dollars on anything that some voters might support.
It IS time for Canada to review it’s foreign aid policies … and stop aiding and abetting wasteful, corrupt countries that squander their own money … and then ask us to bail their poor out.
Nothing wrong with a reassessment, a readjustment … even if that costs Canada the coveted UN Security Council seat Justin Trudeau has been pandering for so long.
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