NDP Comments on Canada’s Post-2015 development priorities

NDP Comments on Canada’s Post-2015 development priorities

Feedback Submitted to DFATD on May 8, 2015

As Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the Government of Canada’s priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This is an important process that will guide global efforts on development through 2030.

We are disappointed that this public consultation comes so late in the process. The Government of Canada announced its position on the post-2015 process at the UN in September 2013. Since then, New Democrats have repeatedly asked to discuss Canada’s position at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. However, the Government has refused to hold a discussion on this issue with Parliamentarians. We wonder, then, about the usefulness of conducting a public consultation process only a few months before from the UN Summit in September 2015. We believe this is a major opportunity lost, and shows a lack of transparency on the part of the Conservatives.

We also find disappointing the Government of Canada’s lack of consultation with the provinces, territories, and municipalities specifically with regard to universality and applicability of the post-2015 Agenda to Canada.

We generally agree that the core priorities and cross-cutting priorities that Canada is promoting are all important to sustainable development.

However, we note that:

  • At no point in the list of priorities does the Government mention the term “climate change”. This is unacceptable. Addressing climate change is an essential part of sustainable development.

  • Under three priorities relevant to women and girls – MNCH, CEFM, and empowerment – at no point does the Government mention sexual and reproductive rights. We believe this must be a key focus of Canada’s work in these areas.

  • Canada is pushing for Accountability as a core priority. We welcome this; however, we note that the Government of Canada must itself lead the way on accountability, which includes publishing results and reports on aid spending on time, and effectively investing the funds allocated by Parliament for international development.

  • Canada’s priority area of job creation and sustainable economic growth could be improved by specifically noting that not all economic growth is sustainable, nor does all growth lead to poverty reduction. Canada should be ensuring our efforts on job creation and sustainable economic growth benefit those who need it most, including the world’s poorest, and small and medium-sized enterprises in the Global South. Further, Canada should be advocating for jobs that deliver a living wage, workers’ rights, benefits and access to universal public health, education and social services. In accordance with the principle of universality, Canada should be promoting and protecting this programming domestically as well as abroad.

  • With regard to prioritizing investments in children, we believe Canada must do more to address child poverty, including within Canada. Children should be at the centre of global poverty eradication. Here too, we see the need to discuss the impacts of climate change on future generations.

  • We encourage the Government of Canada to advocate for a reduction in economic inequalities. Investing in universal public health, education and social systems in the Global South would go a long way towards reducing the level and impact of social and economic inequality.

  • With regard to the Government’s work on alternative financing, including Canada’s work toward the upcoming Financing for Development meeting in Addis Ababa in July: We ask the Government to hold public consultations, including with Parliamentarians, to discuss Canada’s plans for this conference. At present information is woefully inadequate and we are concerned by the lack of transparency on this matter.

  • We encourage the Government of Canada to embrace Canada’s Civil Society Organizations as full partners throughout the process of developing and implementing this strategic agenda.

  • Finally, once again we encourage the Government of Canada to reverse its cuts to Official Development Assistance and set a timetable to reach the internationally-agreed upon goal of 0.7% ODA/GNI. ODA is not the only step towards eradicating poverty, but it is an essential step and it must be increased in accordance with Canada’s commitments and the best practices of other countries.