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Flash

May 12, 2006

Headlines

  1. Canada Lobbying to Expand ODA Criteria: Canada is pressing to expand the criteria for ODA to include more military and security expenditures, according to a Canadian Press article of May 6, 2006. A briefing note for Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, obtained through Access to Information, makes clear that Canada is not only in favour of expanding the criteria, but plans to lobby within the G8 to gain support for this shift. Quoted in the article in response to the document, CCIC's President and CEO, Gerry Barr commented that the shift is "…just a plain invitation to vagary and alternative uses of aid money, which is already a problem with the donor community." For more information, contact Erin Simpson at esimpson@ccic.ca.

  2. Conservative Budget Mum on Foreign Aid: Canadian development organizations were deeply disappointed the world's poor did not merit mention in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's first budget speech. Although the Government will continue with the Liberal policy of increasing foreign aid spending by 8 percent, the May 2, 2006 budget failed to outline a timetable to meet the Conservatives' own election promises for aid spending. During the election, the Conservatives committed to reaching the average spending levels for aid of all donor countries by 2010. They also promised to add a further $425 million to foreign aid. There was no mention of any of these increases in the budget. For the news release go to www.ccic.ca/e/004/news_2006_05_02_conservative_budget_mum_on_foreign_aid.shtml. For CCIC's review of the budget see www.ccic.ca/e/docs/002_aid_federal_budget_may_2006.pdf

  3. Capital Gains Tax Eliminated: The federal budget included the elimination of the capital gains tax for donations to charities. This is a full elimination, effective immediately, and also extends to land. Private foundations, however, are not included in this change, but there is a commitment by the government to consider further changes. The Prime Minister had previously stated that the elimination of the Capital Gains Tax is intended to "facilitate greater levels of charitable giving, by removing the capital gains tax on listed stocks donated to charities."

  4. U2's Bono Reacts to Canada's Federal Budget: On May 5 Bono released the following statement through Make Poverty History Canada. "With this budget Flaherty and Harper seem to be breaking an election pledge to increase Canadian aid by more than the previous government. This isn't about abstract aid targets and vague promises. This is about effective initiatives to save lives, provide AIDS drugs, get kids in school and make a better world. This government has a small window to turn this around. Many lives depend on whether it does."

  5. Private Members' Bills on Aid Legislation Tabled: Private members' Bills calling for aid legislation that would make ending poverty the guiding objective of all aid spending were tabled by Alexa McDonough of the New Democratic Party and Daryl Kramp of the Conservative Party. Both CCIC and Make Poverty History have been calling for such legislation. Gerry Barr, CCIC's President and CEO and the Co-chair of Make Poverty History said that "Legislation will help ensure that aid spending is accountable, transparent and effective."

Upcoming Events

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility Roundtables: The Canadian government, in November 2005, agreed to hold five roundtables on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The roundtables, scheduled to take place in five cities between June and December 2006, will develop recommendations for action by government, industry and civil society on the ways in which the Canadian international extractive sector can improve its corporate social responsibility performance. The roundtables will hear from expert witnesses from industry, civil society, and Aboriginal peoples, as well as the general public. For updates on the roundtables, contact Andrea Botto, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, cnca@halifaxinitiative.org or (613) 789-9368.

  2. Reminder - Africa-Canada Forum Colloquium on HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Development: Building on the growing momentum of the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, CCIC's Africa-Canada Forum (ACF) is organizing a one-day colloquium in Ottawa June 5: "Understanding HIV/AIDS in the Context of Development and Poverty in Africa." The colloquium will provide an opportunity for ACF members to deepen their understanding and analysis of HIV-AIDS issues and their links to broader processes of poverty and development. For more information, contact sperras@ccic.ca.

  3. Who Cares? The Human Dimension of Global Health: The 13th Canadian Conference on International Health will explore the field of human resources, across all aspects of the health system, and encourage a broad, but critical, approach to the theme stressing the links between research, advocacy and action. The Canadian Society for International Health, in partnership with the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research, invites practitioners, researchers, educators, policy makers, and community advocates to debate some of the most controversial issues related to global health. The call for abstracts is available on the website (www.csih.org). The deadline is May 15.

Worth Looking At

  1. Aid and security: Two new fact sheets from CCIC address the relationship between aid and security, and debunk the myths around the need to expand aid criteria to include more military and security expenditures. See www.ccic.ca or contact esimpson@ccic.ca for more information.

  2. Youth Opinion Poll: Conducted by Environics Research Group, the War Child Canada Youth Opinion Poll is a national public opinion survey of young Canadians' attitudes towards human rights and international issues. In total, 750 Canadian youth (5 to 24 years old) from all parts of the country were surveyed. Survey results show that peacekeeping and foreign aid are seen as Canada's most positive contributions to the world and that youth in Quebec appear to be better informed about global issues than youth in the rest of Canada. For more information go to www.warchild.ca/news_article.asp?ID=158.
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