Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 32

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

International Cooperation

Foreign Aid for Maternal and Infant Health in Developing Countries

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

In June 2010, at the G8 summit, Prime Minister Harper stated:

Canada will champion a major initiative to improve the health of women and children in the world’s most vulnerable regions. It is therefore time to mobilize our friends and partners to do something for those who can do little for themselves, to replace grand good intentions with substantive acts of human goodwill.

My question is: Exactly how much money has been dispensed by our government to these vulnerable regions, and which regions has it been dispensed to?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the honourable senator for the question. As we know, the Child and Maternal Health Initiative was one of the Prime Minister’s main pillars at the G8, G20 in June 2010. We committed to international development that focuses on tangible results and provides the best use of Canadian aid dollars. Through our maternal, newborns and child health commitment, we are focusing aid to 10 specific countries to reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children in the world’s poorest countries.

The Muskoka Initiative includes key elements such as the treatment and prevention of diseases, basic nutrition and safe drinking water, among other areas. According to the World Health Organization and the World Bank estimates, the Muskoka Initiative will, over the next five years, prevent the deaths of 1.3 million children under the age of 5 and prevent the deaths of 64,000 mothers.

The honourable senator was asking specifically for the amounts in each of these countries that have been expended. I will be happy to provide her with that information by written response.

Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. May I also please ask that when the honourable senator provides the response, she set out how much we have dispensed in multilateral agreements and how much bilaterally?