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View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Minister, welcome to the committee for the first time.
I welcome myself to the committee as I'm not a regular member of the committee.
Madam, it was very interesting to hear you comment most specifically about your travelling overseas and getting results from the high esteem in which Canada is held in international development.
I'm very happy that you were able to see all the work that was done over the last 10 years, specifically on what you talked about, child and maternal health, which is very important, as well as early and forced marriages, which the government came out against and which, on many occasions we were forced to lead on. I'm glad that your government is carrying on with that.
You mentioned Vietnam and you mentioned Burma. In both cases, I was there on those programs. I was with the Governor General on a state visit to Vietnam, and I led an all-party delegation to Burma to build their democratic institutions.
I have one important question for you. During the last Parliament, the two Parliaments before, one of your Liberal members came out very strongly in directing the aid specifically as per the will of the Parliament, and according to that, there was a law passed, the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act. This act drives how international development will be handled by everybody. Therefore, the question is, is the mandate letter that you got from the Prime Minister complying with this act or not? If it is not complying with this act, then that is wrong and that is going against the law of this country, because this act was passed in 2008. It was proposed by a Liberal member of Parliament. After committee hearings and everything, this act was passed, and this is the official law on how international development will work.
Let me ask you another way. Did you actually read this act to know exactly what is in it? Did you ask your officials, who were there at the time, about this act? In that mandate letter, are we diversifying away from this law of Parliament?
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
You're sure of that, are you? All right.
I don't want to go very deep here, because what you have said is what we have been consistently doing. Governments change, but the policies don't change, and our reputation internationally is fine. May I wish you the best of luck as you continue doing this work.
I will now let my colleague go ahead.
Thank you.
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