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I'll call the meeting to order.
For the official witnesses who are here—and many have presented submissions—I'll just make you aware of what we'll do for the next 15 minutes. When we're on the road and out of Ottawa, we usually have what we call open mike sessions, which give people the opportunity to come to a floor mike and make one-minute presentations on issues of concern to them. They do go into the record. There are no questions from members on those open mike sessions. We'll start with that session first.
I notice that we have quite a number of young folks here this morning. It's great to see you folks participating in the parliamentary process.
We'll start with Ronald Smith.
I consider myself a typical Canadian. I am also a CA with nearly 40 years' experience as a forensic accountant. I have two issues to bring up that I and many Canadians cannot get our heads around.
The first issue is the Phoenix payroll debacle. Blame is not the issue. I'm sure there's enough to go around. The bigger questions are these: How did it happen? How did the estimates keep increasing exponentially? Most important, how can this be prevented in the future?
The second issue is offshore income tax evasion. The public is not seeing enough done by the government. Why does it not appear that professional advisers are being held fully accountable? Without them, these schemes could not take place. “Too big to fail” is not acceptable; “too big to ignore” is the issue. To put this in human terms, with all these billions of dollars wasted, how many first nations could now have drinkable water or homes without mould? How many veterans could have their much-needed counselling?
Thank you for this opportunity.
Thank you, Ronald, for your points and your directness.
Now we'll turn to Miss Eden Hildebrand.
Welcome, Eden. The floor is yours.
Dear members of the finance committee, hi.
Good morning, my name is Eden Hilderbrand.
I am a Millennium Kid. Thank you for letting me speak today.
Last year I came to the pre-budget consultation meeting and mentioned that 260 million kids ages six to 17 do not attend school around the world. I did research again, and I was disappointed that there are still 260 million kids who don't get to attend school. I am grateful that Canada has spent millions on global education, but I think we have to do better for these 260 million kids.
All of you had the privilege of an education that led to your position in government. I hope that by 2030 every child will have a quality primary and secondary education. Your decision on Canada's budget can help make this happen.
I'm studying percentages in my grade 7 math class now. If our economy continues to grow and our foreign aid is still around $5 billion with small increases each year, as Canada's income goes up, our aid will go down as a percentage if we do not increase it a lot. Please do.
Thank you very much, Eden.
Next is Tyson Brown.
Welcome, Tyson. Go ahead.
Hi. My name is Tyson. I'm 10 years old, and I live in Milton, Ontario.
I'm here to ask you to keep your promises about the sustainable development goals that were made in 2015.
This weekend I will eat two huge Thanksgiving meals. I've never known what it's like to be so hungry and not have enough food or clean water to drink. I'm also lucky to get an education at school.
I'm asking you to work towards giving 0.7% of Canada's yearly income towards SDGs so that other kids in the world like me can also get an education and not go hungry.
Thank you for what you've done and what you will continue to do.
Thank you, Tyson.
Now we'll turn to Miss Samantha Carson.
Go ahead, Samantha.
Dear members of Parliament, my name is Samantha Carson, and I am a Millennium Kid.
The only way to make sure the world's population has enough to eat is to honour our commitment. Please remember all of those people.
We hope to fulfill all 17 United Nations sustainable development goals by 2030. I am grateful that Canada spends over $5 billion in foreign aid. However, I'm concerned that Canada has decreased its foreign aid to 0.26% of our gross national income instead of living up to our promise and commitment of 0.7% of GNI.
Just last year the UN warned that the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, with more than 20 million people facing starvation in four countries: Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. How can we fulfill the second sustainable development goal—to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition—when the need is increasing but our support is decreasing?
The only way we can make sure that all people around the world have enough to eat is by fulfilling this commitment. Please make sure that you remember these people as you make your 2019 budget.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you, Samantha.
We will turn to Vanessa Vittoria.
Go ahead, Vanessa.
Good morning, everyone.
I am a Canadian youth who believes in equality, peace and prosperity for all. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in Canada, where I have received excellent education and health care. Perhaps even more importantly, I have felt safe.
After attending a World Vision youth leadership trip to Rwanda, I was shaken to realize the harsh reality that children live each and every day. I have seen first-hand the impact of Canada's investments globally.
I want to emphasize investments, because each dollar spent in overseas aid provides a return of $1.19 in Canadian growth. The growth communities experience the health of individuals who are thriving as a result. Development efforts are not solely a charity; they are about strengthening the global community and creating sustainable opportunities.
I am encouraged by the recent increases to international assistance; however, to effectively deliver on Canada's promises and Canada's feminist international assistance policy, more must be done. Therefore, I urge you to recommend annual long-term increases to international assistance in your report to Parliament on budget 2019.
Thank you for your time.
Thank you, Vanessa.
Jointly, we have Matthew Lahey and Afraa Mustafa. Please give us your names again as I might not have them correctly.
Honourable committee members, my name is Matthew Lahey and this is Afraa Mustafa. I am here on behalf of summerlunch+. We work in partnership with school food programs, providing healthy meals for kids over the summer months to ensure children don't fall behind academically.
We are one of more than 40 members of the Coalition for Healthy School Food, which is coordinated by Food Secure Canada.
Evidence shows that a national, universal, healthy school food program would increase children's consumption of healthy food, reduce their risk of chronic diseases, improve mental health, improve educational outcomes and increase graduation rates. Also, a national school food program would create jobs and grow local economies by investing in local agriculture and food businesses.
Matthew Lahey - 8:53
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