Yesterday, the much anticipated 2021 federal budget was tabled in the House of Commons by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland. The government announced an additional CAD$375 million towards the global pandemic response, which is part of a CAD$1.4 billion increase in international assistance over 5 years. This new investment makes Canada one of the first and only G20 nations to have committed its fair share investment in the ACT-Accelerator. Much of this CAD$1.4 billion is targeted for spending this year, meaning that Canada does not have a recovery plan for the world and is failing to take action to #StopTheDeadlyDivide.
While we commend the government for their direct COVID-19 response, we know that to recover from this crisis Canada must also address the devastating secondary effects that are widening gaps of inequality around the world and derailing progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. A successful response to COVID-19 MUST be coupled with a sustained recovery. That is why as advocates we have been campaigning for the government to invest the equivalent of just 1% of what Canada is spending to address COVID-19 domestically towards a global response and recovery.
Our economy is global, our population is multicultural, and we cannot solve global challenges in isolation. Canada will not recover until the world recovers, and today’s budget does not go far enough.
Looking forward, the government must make a larger commitment to tackling the ongoing climate crisis, ensuring that it is in addition to today’s commitments supporting international cooperation. Canada’s official development assistance remains alarmingly low in the long-term, falling below international commitments and global standards. The international assistance budget must match the severity and urgency of the crises we are facing everywhere.
There is still time to do better. The G7 meeting will be the next test of Canadian leadership, and an opportunity to ensure the recovery of the global poor, to bolster urgently needed humanitarian efforts, address the global climate emergency, and ensure food security, nutrition, education, and a renewed focus on health care.
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As a Canadian, I was disappointed that #Budget2021 did not include a global recovery plan to #StopTheDeadlyDivide. Canada has played a leadership role in the direct response to #EndCovidEverywhere BUT without a sustained global recovery, growing inequalities will persist @cafreeland