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The inhumanity of cutting Canadian aid to countries in need

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John D. Cameron, Dalhousie University and Robert Huish, Dalhousie University

It is a bad idea to cut off your nose to spite your face. Similarly, it would be a catastrophic move for Canada’s next prime minister to scrap international development assistance.

Yet two party leaders, Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer, propose to do exactly that. Scheer wants a 25 per cent reduction in Canada’s spending on development assistance, while Bernier calls for an almost complete elimination of it.

Such promises are reckless and deeply misguided. Cutting development assistance in the ways that Scheer and Bernier suggest reveals an alarming misunderstanding of what aid is.

Development assistance has its problems. Nevertheless, it is crucial for reducing extreme poverty. And it fosters important international relations that can benefit all Canadians.

Official development assistance, or international aid, is one of Canada’s most important tools in putting its values into practice on a global scale. But surprisingly, Canada is quite stingy when it comes to giving.

Read more: Neither hero nor villain: Canada stuck in the middle of the pack on international aid

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canadian international aid in 2018 represented 0.28 per cent of our gross national income (GNI).

This marks a continuation of the long-term decline in Canadian aid since the 1980s, when we contributed only 0.50 per cent of our GNI. It makes Canada one of the least........

© The Guardian