Canadians should be generous both at home and abroad

In the 20 years between 1993 and 2013, those subsisting on $1.90 or less per day decreased by 1 billion, from one in three to one in 10

Editor, The Times:

It is a pity that good news doesn’t sell. As a result, so few people know that we have made huge strides in eradicating extreme poverty worldwide.

At the same time as the world’s population has increased exponentially, poverty has been decreasing, according to an article in the Economist, dated Oct. 8, entitled “How the Other Tenth Lives.”

The article states that in the 20 years between 1993 and 2013, those subsisting on $1.90 or less per day decreased by 1 billion, from one in three to one in 10.

The greatest strides have been made in China, while at the same time, the greatest challenge to eradicating poverty is the deeply embedded caste system in India.

In some ways it could be likened to the problems facing Canadians in finding ways to lift some of our northern First Nations out of the grips of poverty. It is complicated. But that does not afford us the excuse to do nothing.

While 767 million people worldwide still go hungry, the progress is worth noting. It should give us more than just a glimmer of hope that we can, if we choose to, eradicate poverty.

A boost to our international aid would be a great first step, as would a strong commitment to our First Nations. “We’re back,” remember?

Isn’t it time that we joined the U.K., Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates in donating at least 0.7 per cent of our gross national income? Should we not follow the great example set by the Danish government in caring for their Inuit Greenlanders?

Christmas is a good time to be generous both at home and abroad to continue to create a good news story. With budget time just around the corner, let’s remind our leaders to think globally and act locally.

Connie Lebeau

Victoria, B.C.