In seeking out concentrations of expertise in Canada, it is difficult to ignore the extractive sector. Given the (good and bad) history and size of this sector, and the lack of global rivals in the density of expertise (other than Australia), should international assistance not leverage this expertise to achieve a lasting impact in developing countries?
Collapsed buildings are everywhere. Families huddle in the ruins, while aid groups struggle to keep up with people's basic needs for food, water, medical care and shelter. I can see humanitarian aid is helping, but it is never a long-term solution. So much more is needed.
Home is a tent divided in two for Um Yasmine and her five children. The Syrian widow fled to a dusty field in Lebanon three years ago, as war piled up bodies around her beloved city of Homs. Now, a bedsheet hangs down the middle of her crowded tent shared with another refugee family. Um Yasmine is so tired of this makeshift life. She just wants to go home.
What is a remittance? Simply put, the process of sending money internationally from Canada to a friend or family member in a foreign country. Globally, the flows of remittances have grown substantially in recent years. Even with a projected slowdown in 2015, the World Bank recently predicted total remittances to 'developing countries' would exceed $435 Billion USD. To put it in context, official development assistance/foreign aid in 2014 was estimated at just over $135 Billion USD globally.
Openness and transparency permeates the mandate letters issued to members of cabinet by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and is a recurring theme in statements by his government. In fact, it is the only theme next to climate change so far. But what does openness mean for development assistance?
If Canada is really "back," as our Prime Minister has announced, and if we are to make Canada a leader in development innovation and effectiveness, then we need to understand why Canada's development influence has contracted this severely and what changes could be made to improve our performance in a range of areas.
While it may be impossible to ensure that every single human has enough food every moment, there have been dramatic changes in what we call 'world hunger'. Already formerly 'hungry countries' like China and Ethiopia have cut hunger rates by more than half over the past twenty years.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.
On Sept. 28, 2015, The Munk Centre will host Canada's first-ever federal election debate. We can expect to see any number of key issues on the table -- Canada's track record on trade and investment, engagement in Syria, our approach to Palestine and Israel, refugee policy -- There is a lot of ground to cover. For international development, there is really one key question: Will parties commit to increasing Canada's foreign aid budget?
In the 2015 federal budget, the Canadian government announced its intention to create a $300-million initiative to encourage private investment, job creation and growth that will fight extreme poverty in developing countries. Canada is the last G7 country to create a public arm to support private investment in development. Some of our counterparts have been in this business for over 50 years, doing good and making money at the same time.This initiative looks even tardier when one considers that successive Canadian governments since the early Trudeau era have bandied about the idea of creating a public entity to catalyze more private capital for development.