International Cooperation

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told this House that Canada legally withdrew from the treaty to combat drought and desertification because it was “…not an effective way to [use] taxpayers’ money”. The cost of the treaty, $300,000 a year, is roughly equivalent to half the cost of a G8 gazebo or 109 days of the care and feeding of a rented panda, less than 4% of the PMO office budget, a third the cost of shipping an armoured vehicle to India, or two days of government advertising to tell us how happy we should all be with the way the government is spending our money.

By what criteria is that spending more effective than pulling our weight in the world to confront drought and expanding deserts?


Hon. Julian Fantino: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the criteria. That is making Canada’s assistance more effective and efficient so we can dedicate those resources to the people most in need.

We are supporting concrete measures to help developing countries deal with drought instead of paying for conferences, salaries, and bureaucrats. Our commitment is to help the poor in a tangible way. We are doing that. It is not about talk shops or travel.