Mr. Speaker, on this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I wish to remind this House that poverty is one of the main obstacles to our democratic ideal and that, as legislators, we have a duty to eliminate the suffering that it generates.
In a country as rich as Canada, it is unacceptable to let one child out of five go to school on an empty stomach. At the world level, the numbers are appalling: 2.8 billion people, or close to half of the world's population, are living in abject poverty with an income of less than $2 per day.
To fight poverty is to promote human dignity in a spirit of elementary justice and kindness.
To fight poverty is to say no to oppression and to exclusion. More importantly, it is to say yes to freedom and peace.
Whenever we take action to eliminate poverty, we strengthen the very foundation of democracy. We have neither the right nor the means to deprive ourselves of this collective enrichment.