Mr. Speaker, in London yesterday, on the eve of a meeting of G-7 finance ministers, Nelson Mandela challenged the leaders of the rich countries to reduce the debt of the poor countries, to significantly step up international aid, and to make international trade more equitable.
Mr. Mandela emphasized the urgent need to act promptly. Hon. members will recall that the Prime Minister made drastic cuts to international aid when he was finance minister. Now he has a duty to heed the heart-felt plea of the former president of South Africa, who said in his speech “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times—that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils”.
The Prime Minister must show some leadership and remedy his past errors. It is high time the government put a realistic plan in place to enable it to reach at least the minimum objective of 0.7 of GDP by 2015.
When the budget is tabled a few weeks from now, it will give us a good indication of how serious the Prime Minister is. This may be an opportunity for him to put his money where his mouth is.