moved for leave to introduce Bill C-412, An Act to amend the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act (poverty reduction).
Madam Speaker, as the official opposition critic for international co-operation, I am pleased to introduce an act to amend the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act, seconded by the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.
My bill seeks to ensure that Canada meets the international target for donor countries of spending the equivalent of 0.7% of GNI on official overseas development assistance.
New Democrats believe that Canada can and should do more to help the world's poorest countries and people. In fact, the NDP official opposition is the only party in Canada that remains committed to former prime minister Lester B. Pearson's aspirations of dedicating 0.7% of our gross national income to development funding.
In our 2011 platform, we called for an immediate increase of $500 millions to Canada's ODA envelope, followed by a practical plan to reach the 0.7% over time.
For the NDP, this is not just an election issue. In 2005, our late leader, Jack Layton, was presented with a rare opportunity to rewrite a Liberal government budget. Jack cancelled billions of dollars in corporate tax cuts and invested the funds in priority areas, including a major boost to Canada's ODA.
When we consider that the 0.7% goal was originally set by former Liberal prime minister Lester B. Pearson and that the Conservatives believe in a robust foreign aid system, I hope my bill might find support from all corners of the House.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)