Today I donated $150 to Save the Children and Last Mile Health. In doing so, I gave proportionally more of my annual income to global health and international development than the government of Canada did. How can that possibly be given Canada's impressive global health credentials?
This is the country that developed an effective Ebola vaccine! We have a bold feminist foreign policy agenda! We hosted the replenishment event for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and donated nearly $800 million!
And yet, Canada spends only 0.26% of its gross national income on official development aid, a rate well below other like-minded countries. When the United States reinstituted the dangerous Global Gag Rule, Canada pledged $20 million to replace a portion of the lost funding. Now, as the United States shows decreased interest in international engagement in general, it is time for Canada to step up and fulfill its role as a global health leader. The first step in this journey must be to fund global health research and international aid at a level commensurate with Canada’s standing and wealth.
I'm living on a graduate student stipend at the moment so I can't hope to make up for Canada's shortfall. But I can demand that in the coming year my government stand up for the health and dignity of people around the world. I wrote to my MP, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Minister of Science, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking them to increase spending on global health research and official development aid. You could too, feel free to use my letter as a jumping off point.
The world needs more Canada, now more than ever.