February 4th, 2019

NDP Statement on International Development Week

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada’s NDP, issued the following statement:

During International Development Week, we celebrate our dedicated Canadian development workers, who work tirelessly to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable. What they do to assist developing nations takes on many forms, such as establishing democratic governance, building schools, improving healthcare, fighting malnutrition, providing renewable energy, advancing human rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality, and promoting respect for diversity and inclusion.

As New Democrats, we understand that aid alone will not end global poverty or restore good governance, but we believe that Canada’s international development obligations must be honoured. That’s the reason why we continue to be disappointed with Canada’s declining levels of spending on official development assistance, which is now at its lowest level in decades, at 0.26% of our gross national income (GNI). This contribution falls far below the 0.7% GNI target set by the United Nations, at the urging of Canada over 40 years ago, and an amount that falls short of the contributions by most other western nations, including Norway, Ireland and Britain.

The NDP believes the development assistance process in developing countries needs to include grassroots and women’s organisations in all phases of development, to ensure that Canada provides locally appropriate interventions. And while we support the Liberal government’s shift to prioritize development assistance for women and girls, as expressed in the Feminist International Assistance Policy, the government has yet to clarify how the policy will be applied. It has also failed to commit any substantial funds to achieve this goal.

During International Development Week, we call on the federal government to commit to our fair share of international aid, with a clear timetable, and to clarify how it will deliver on its promised enhancement of the rights and the role of women globally.

On behalf of New Democrats, I join Canadians in celebrating our Canadian development workers who work selflessly every day to create a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.