Brian LILLEY

‘Cana­di­ans now can see the choice’ Scheer vows to cut dic­ta­tors off from for­eign aid

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS -

Cana­dian tax­pay­ers sent $7.1 mil­lion to China in for­eign aid last year. The Trudeau Lib­er­als also sent $5 mil­lion to North Ko­rea, $4 mil­lion to Iran and even Putin’s Rus­sia got $200,000.

None of those coun­tries are demo­cratic, all are run by dic­ta­tors and none have val­ues in line with Canada. So why are we fund­ing them?

For that mat­ter, why are we fund­ing coun­tries like Italy? Yes, we are giv­ing for­eign-aid money to a wealthy mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union.

Un­der a plan an­nounced by Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer on Tues­day, that kind of for­eign aid would be cut. Scheer promised a 25% cut to for­eign-aid fund­ing that would see high-in­come coun­tries and dic­ta­tor­ships get the boot.

“Cana­di­ans now can see the choice be­tween send­ing more of their hard earned tax dol­lars to coun­tries that rank rel­a­tively high on the de­vel­op­ment in­dex — coun­tries like Italy, like Brazil, like Tur­key, and hos­tile gov­ern­ments like Iran,” Scheer said.

If you find it hard to be­lieve that we are fund­ing some of these coun­tries, here are the num­bers from the gov­ern­ment’s own fig­ures for last year: Mex­ico, $6.8 mil­lion; Tur­key, $4.5 mil­lion; Brazil, $4.3 mil­lion; Ar­gentina, $2.1 mil­lion.

Why on earth would Canada fund any of these coun­tries with for­eign-aid money?

They are wealthy trad­ing part­ners, not coun­tries with the ba­sic needs of their cit­i­zens not be­ing met.

Scheer’s plan was de­nounced by Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau as not do­ing enough for cli­mate change. I’m not sure what giv­ing mil­lions to rich coun­tries like Italy and Mex­ico — or dic­ta­tor­ships like China and Iran — has to do with cli­mate change.

Other crit­ics said if Scheer wins and im­ple­ments his plan, Canada will lose out on a shot at a seat on the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. I hap­pen to think that Trudeau start­ing fights with Saudi Ara­bia and em­bar­rass­ing us in In­dia would have pretty much lost us the seat.

Wear­ing black­face likely lost Canada a bunch of votes from African coun­tries.

Still, Scheer an­swered ques­tions on that and didn’t shy away from say­ing the UN is not his pri­or­ity.

“It’s more im­por­tant to me that I help Cana­di­ans get ahead than curry favour at the United Na­tions,” Scheer in­sisted. Hear­ing that some­one as­pir­ing to be our PM is more in­ter­ested in Cana­di­ans than the United Na­tions will leave many Lib­eral sup­port­ers hor­ri­fied. Some peo­ple in this coun­try still have a rose­c­oloured glasses view of an or­ga­ni­za­tion that gives as much weight, some­times more, to dic­ta­tors and despots as it does to demo­crat­i­cally-elected lead­ers.

China, Pak­istan, Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia are all cur­rent mem­bers of the United Na­tions Hu­man Rights Coun­cil — all of them are se­rial hu­man rights abusers. This is the or­ga­ni­za­tion that Trudeau has put most of Canada’s sup­port be­hind since be­com­ing prime min­is­ter.

“Justin Trudeau has spent the last four years hu­mil­i­at­ing him­self and all Cana­di­ans on the world stage with his weak, un­prin­ci­pled lead­er­ship,” Scheer said.

We can laugh at the cos­tumes in In­dia and we can wince at his state­ments on the world stage, but Trudeau’s ac­tions have real-world con­se­quences.

What Scheer is propos­ing is sen­si­ble. Most Cana­di­ans don’t ob­ject to for­eign aid in prin­ci­ple if it is go­ing to help peo­ple in need. What they worry about is money be­ing squan­dered or go­ing to coun­tries that don’t need it or that keep the fund­ing for those at the top while let­ting those at the bot­tom suf­fer.

This idea will be at­tacked by those that think we need to fund all coun­tries and all pro­grams, but when con­fronted by that, just ask them if they would want to live un­der the Mul­lahs in Tehran.

Their an­swer will tell you ev­ery­thing.

Jonathan hay­ward/the Cana­dian PRESS

An­drew Scheer makes an an­nounce­ment dur­ing a cam­paign stop at the Abil­i­ties Cen­tre in Whitby.

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