Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Alfred-Pellan for the question.
I was very proud this morning to unveil Canada's new feminist international aid policy. From now on, all of our partners will have to ensure that they contribute in a tangible way to gender parity and to the empowerment of women and girls.
I am confident that our new feminist approach will help reduce poverty and inequality, and create a more inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous world.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, we are deeply concerned with the ongoing flooding in Sri Lanka and our thoughts are with those affected. I can already announce an initial envelope of up to $250,000 to respond to the humanitarian impacts of the flood. Obviously, we remain in close contact with our humanitarian partners.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Davenport for her question.
Today, we launched the famine relief fund to help 20 million people facing starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia. The government will match every eligible donation made to registered Canadian organizations between March 17 and June 20.
I encourage all Canadians to give to the famine relief matching fund. Information is available on Canada.ca or by following #zerofamine.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of a ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act.
Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for the question.
Absolutetly, I believe that there is no doubt that Canada is back on the world stage and on the international development scene. We conducted a major consultation over the past year, and 15,000 people from 65 countries took part. Most of the participants were Canadian, of course.
People asked us three things. Naturally they asked us for more money and a more direct contribution, but they also asked us for leadership and good policies. We have already demonstrated our leadership on several occasions. I will give just one example, that of the global fund. Through that fund we brought together our international partners and raised $13 billion to put an end to tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. They asked us for good policies. I look forward to presenting in the House my new policy, which will be focused on women and girls.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, we are indeed finalizing the international development policy for release before the summer. I will summarize into three basic points what we heard during all these consultations and what will be found in this policy. First, we have human dignity and human rights. Then we have the emancipation of women, which is an extremely important issue. When we invest in making women agents of development and peace, that changes things. Finally, we have the importance of working with local communities and building up their means. These points that were brought forward during the consultations will certainly be reflected in the new policy.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I can assure my colleague that nutrition and vaccination are important components of our international aid policy. Actually, we are very proud of the organization that used to be called Micronutrient Initiative and is now known as Nutrition International. This is a Canadian initiative that we are very proud of and will continue to support. One of the programs we are supporting is the special project for the nutrition of adolescent girls.
With respect to vaccination and other major topics for which Canada is known, we will ensure that all of our partners find the best way to include women and strategies to empower them in their programs.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, my colleague will be pleased to know that we are continuing with the maternal and newborn child health initiative. In fact, we have enhanced it with that additional $650 million to make sure we look after the health of mothers and newborns together with all aspects of sexual and reproductive health. This is one way to get our existing partners involved and help them provide a broader range of services.
Regarding the $100 million over five years for small and medium-sized Canadian organizations, the goal is to establish a variety of partnerships. We also want to re-engage with Canadians because communication has been lacking there in recent years. One way to do that is to work with small organizations. We are targeting a certain kind of partner that will deliver projects that are in line with new policy priorities.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, after conducting an in-depth analysis of the situation concerning the development finance institute, the DFI, we concluded that it would be best to establish DFI as a subsidiary of Export Development Canada in the interest of effectiveness and efficiency, given that EDC has expertise that we can leverage.
This Export Development Canada subsidiary will have its own board of directors and its own CEO, guided by a mandate focused on development. We know that Export Development Canada legally reports to the Minister of International Trade, but we work together and are complementary. I can guarantee that DFI's mandate is truly to ensure positive outcomes in development with private investment.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I cannot say whether that will be outlined in a mandate letter, but there will be a well-defined mandate. We are currently in a period of transition and implementation. Certain directives have been issued. We will share more of that information on another occasion.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, we consider the $300 million to be starting capital. Over the years, we will have the opportunity to see how this new tool is working and the results it is producing. We have a lot of confidence in it.
The goal is to get the private sector interested in investing in developing countries and to make sure that those investments are made in keeping with all the rules and with the values that Canadians hold dear. We also want to ensure that these investments have a real impact on development. We therefore have to take the necessary time to assess the situation and determine whether to increase funding.
I also want to assure members that we are very committed to finding new funding mechanisms and engaging in financing innovation. I know I can count on the co-operation of our Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, who co-chairs a committee on financing sustainable development goals.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, we renewed the general funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and are allocating $20 million to that cause, including $5 million specifically for humanitarian aid.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I would like to remind my colleagues that my mandate involves refocusing Canada’s development assistance on helping the poorest and most vulnerable. There is no doubt that Palestinian refugees are among the world's poorest and most vulnerable. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is the only agency that provides humanitarian assistance to that group.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, once again, I would like to remind the House that this is the only United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees. Since Canada renewed its funding to the agency, there has been a vast improvement in terms of follow-up and monitoring, including with respect to school books.
Our funding has paid for training for employees, managers, and teachers, and for background checks for employees in finance. We are following up on the school books issue. Our participation is making changes possible.
View Marie-Claude Bibeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I am pleased to be here to present the international assistance provisions in the main estimates. We have also accomplished many things in the past year. That is why I would like to share some thoughts on what we have achieved and our next steps.
My colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, already talked about planned spending on peace and security, climate change, and trade. The $6 billion allocated to international assistance this year includes sizeable contributions to development assistance and humanitarian measures.
Let me give some highlights.
The 2017-18 main estimates includes funding of $2.3 billion for the international development program. Through this program, Global Affairs Canada contributes to reducing poverty and inequality in developing countries, including in fragile contexts, through Canadian, international, and local partners. This year, Global Affairs Canada is implementing a new international assistance policy that protects and promotes the human dignity of the poorest and most vulnerable.
The empowerment of women and girls will be at the heart of Canada's new approach. Canada's international assistance will also support the achievement of the sustainable development goals as part of agenda 2030.
Through our assistance, we will also help developing countries transition to low carbon economies and adapt to climate change. To do so, Canada has committed $2.65 billion over five years. This year, $41.3 million will be used to target developing countries to help them address the impact of climate change through the climate fund for the private sector in Asia.
The 2017-18 main estimates further includes funding of $726.4 million for the international humanitarian assistance program. Through this program, Global Affairs Canada reduces the vulnerability of people in crisis situations, such as during armed conflicts, acute food insecurity, and natural disasters by providing timely and appropriate funding for food, water, shelter, protection, and other humanitarian assistance.
Canada also plays a key role in addressing the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. As part of our three-year commitment of $1.6 billion to the region, we will provide $200.3 million this year in bilateral development programming and humanitarian assistance to help address the crisis in Iraq and Syria. This funding will help those hardest hit by the conflict, by giving them access to food, shelter, health care, water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as protection and emergency education.
Our investments are linked to the mandate the Prime Minister gave me, namely, to refocus Canada’s international assistance on helping the poorest and most vulnerable people, and supporting fragile states. To that end, our government has already begun a major shift, which specifically involves putting women and girls at the heart of Canada’s new approach.
I would like to point out a few of our recent achievements that illustrate this shift. First of all, we ensured that our efforts in the area of maternal, newborn, and child health are evidence- and outcome-driven. That is why I asked our partners to include a full range of sexual and reproductive health services in their programming. This includes contraception, family planning, and safe and legal abortion services as well as post-abortion care.
In order to bridge the gaps that prevent women and girls from accessing these services, on March 8, the Prime Minister and I announced an investment of $650 million over three years. The programs that will benefit from this funding will help prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. They will also help support women's right to choose safe and legal abortions and access to post-abortion care.
Through our partnerships, we are also making Canada a leader in development in the area of innovation, transparency, and efficiency. In that regard, Canada was elected chair of the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
We are also working closely with the Minister of Finance in order to develop innovative funding mechanisms by creating new partnerships, especially with the private sector. In that regard, we have just launched the new development finance institute, which has a $300-million envelope.
In partnership with small and medium-sized companies, this institute will fund projects to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and foster women's empowerment, the ultimate goal being to reduce poverty.
In conjunction with this type of initiative, Canada is also engaged in supporting inclusive and responsible governance, peaceful pluralism, respect, diversity, and human rights. We will also be involved in the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie in order to provide millions of youth with prospects that will help them integrate into and fully participate in society.
Canada recognizes that the global context for international assistance has changed. This is why we need to adjust our response accordingly. To do so, soon after being named Minister of International Development, I launched a review of Canada's international assistance, the most significant review in the last 25 years.
More than 15,000 people from across Canada and in more than 65 countries contributed to these consultations in person or online. We carefully reviewed all of the input we received and summarized what we heard in an online report last December. I can summarize this report in less than 10 words, in three points: human dignity, building local capacity, and focus on women and girls.
These consultations strengthened our willingness to adopt a feminist approach in development.
Over the coming weeks, I will have the opportunity to share with the House our new feminist international assistance policy. By all accounts, gender equality leads to significant and positive change for entire communities. This new policy reflects who we are as Canadians, an inclusive and open people ready to do our fair share.
We know that the time has come for a policy shift. Together with our partners, we have a collective duty to meet the international challenges that no longer know any borders because those challenges have an impact on the lives of Canadians. By working for a better world, by combatting epidemics or climate change, and by welcoming refugee families fleeing war and conflict, we are working for and with Canadians for a healthier, safer, and more prosperous world for future generations.
When it comes time to help women, men, and children faced with unprecedented humanitarian challenges, I believe that every party in the House shares the same values of compassion and generosity that compel us to play an active role on the international stage. Canada's international assistance is a vital tool that allows us to share these values and elevate and protect human dignity.
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