#Budget2017: What to Look For

Canadian parliament resumed on January 30th, 2017 amidst a grim context. Heavy nationalism and climate skepticism from the new Trump administration is delivering a significant blow to international assistance programs.

Upon assuming office, Justin Trudeau proclaimed that ‘Canada is back’, in a reference to Canada’s international role as a proponent of peace, justice and human rights.

Let’s hold our government to account. Here’s two things to look for in #Budget2017:

Child Funding on Reserves:

A landmark ruling issued by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2016 found the Canadian government to be racially discriminating against 163,000 Indigenous children. It was clearly found that Indigenous children living on reserve receive significantly less services than children elsewhere in Canada. The Canadian government was given a legally binding order to immediately remedy the situation.

One year later, the Canadian government has failed to do so. In fact, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has issued two noncompliance orders against the Canada Human Rights Tribunal.

There’s no doubt about it. Canada has no business proclaiming itself as an international proponent of human rights until it stops discriminating against Indigenous children. Ottawa’s failure to act puts children’s lives on the line.

Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, has stated that complying with the order means an immediate investment of a minimum of $155 million for child welfare to ‘give these kids a fighting chance to grow up in the families’.

 This #Budget2017, demand that the Canadian government addresses the discriminatory and chronic underfunding of social services in First Nations and the resulting socioeconomic disparity, and implement the recommendations of Canada’s Auditor General, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and a variety of United Nations human rights body.

Official Development Assistance:

Data shows that despite the change in government, Canada’s commitment to international assistance is near an all-time low. Canada, along with Japan, is the only country in its peer group failing to even reach halfway to international benchmarks for Official Development Aid (ODA). ODA is crucial in eradicating extreme poverty and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The human cost of this lack of funding was equivalent to half a million lives in 2016 alone.

94% of Canadians believe that it is important to improve health, education and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest people. Our role becomes critically important as the United States reinstates the global gag rule. If we were to spend just 1 cent more per $100 of revenue, we could help nine million women around the world to have reproductive freedom. Moreover, by promoting sustainable development and addressing inequality, we can eliminate extreme poverty by 2030. 

The UN aid target is .7% of Gross National Income going to official development assistance. Oxfam Canada has advocated for year-on-year increases to international assistance envelope over the next three years: $862 million in 2017-2018; $1.17 billion in 2018-2019; and $1.37 billion in 2019-2010.

Budget 2017 is a critical moment for our government. Write, call, or visit your MPs today and demand better for our communities at home and abroad.

Posted in News & Updates.