Mr. Speaker, the recent federal budget comes as a major disappointment to Canadians who care about the poorest of the poor in our world.
The Prime Minister talks big when he travels abroad but under his watch, Canadian overseas development assistance has fallen off dramatically. Canada's target was to provide .7 of 1% of the gross national product to foreign assistance. Under this government we have slipped back to about one-third of that target and the budget does not improve things.
The Canadian Council for International Cooperation tells us that we will be spending a smaller and smaller percentage of GNP on foreign assistance through to the year 2003.
The development needs are enormous in the areas of food, nutrition and agriculture, for basic education and health care, especially for women.
In the budget the government has lost an opportunity to do something really constructive for the poor and the vulnerable in other countries. Canadians are a generous people but the government has not matched their generosity.