A forgotten promise?
Last month, Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian Minister of International Development, was interviewed for the television program, Les Coulisses du pouvoir. I congratulate her for promising to raise Canada’s Official development assistance (ODA), to centre it toward the poorest countries and to diversify support for woman and girls in the Global South.
Minister Bibeau was asked if she intended to raise ODA to the level of 0.7% of Canada’s GDP, in accordance to the commitment taken at the UN almost 50 years ago. An interesting fact is that, in 2005, this commitment was restated in parliament. Canada’s ODA currently represents 0.28% of our GDP.
During the interview, Minister Bibeau said that Canada never made such a promise. This contradicts an official government document (PRB 07-10F).
On October 24, 1970, Canada did indeed vote for a UN resolution on this topic. It’s called “Resolution 2626 of the 25th session”. Moreover, this initiative originated from Lester B. Pearson, a previous Liberal Prime Minister. Of course, this commitment was made a long time ago, but it’s still relevant today because the proper means must be invested to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
How can we fulfill this promise without increasing public debt or augmenting the burden on Canadian tax payers? The answer: by fighting tax havens and putting a tax on financial transactions. Did you know that a tiny ratio of “Tobin tax” (0.1%, for example) would mainly impact millionaires, while raising billions of dollars. Moreover, this would help stabilise financial markets by reducing the profitability of very short-term transactions.
Will we someday adopt efficient measures to redistribute wealth? For this to happen, our governments must stop acting as lackeys for the rich and powerful.
MSc. International Studies