Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions today.
The first petition is from a number of constituents of mine who are calling on the government at this time of the forthcoming budget to protect foreign aid spending by the government. The petitioners bring to the attention of the government that departments are being asked for saving plans of 5% to 10% in preparation for the budget. However, CIDA has $5 billion a year, only 2% of the budget, which has been frozen for two years. This results, in effect, of nearly 5% in real terms when measured against inflation.
CIDA's work results in substantial improvements in the lives of many of the world's poorest people and goes towards training teachers, regional education, improving health care and providing access to clean water. Many non-governmental organizations in the development sector depend on CIDA as a source of funds in order to run their own programs.
These are young people who recognize that youth are suffering from the recession in Canada, but they still support a strong foreign aid budget. The petitioners call upon the government to exempt the Canadian International Development Agency from budget cuts in the 2012-13 federal budget.