A Letter of Congratulations to the Federal Government from the Social Affairs Commission Regarding the International Debt

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The Honourable Paul Martin, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Finance
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0G5

Dear Mr. Martin:

I wish to congratulate you and, through you the federal government, for your leadership on the question of the international debt at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Prague this past week. In particular, your call for a moratorium on debt payments from the world's poorest countries is not only a welcome proposal for multilateral lenders to adopt but, by the same token, a worthy step for the Government of Canada to immediately undertake itself. This action could well be seen as yet another positive step toward the ultimate goal: the cancellation of debts of the poorest and most highly-indebted countries that has been advocated for many years now by church leaders and the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative.

Once again, we thank you for the thoughtful consultations you undertook during the summer months with staff of our Conference, other church groups, and non- governmental organizations. We see your actions in Prague as evidence that you listened to many of our proposals. We very much appreciate your personal willingness to lead our country, and many others, further along the journey to facilitate real poverty reduction in the Global South.

We are aware that every long journey begins with the first small step. We acknowledge, with you, that debt relief to date has been frustratingly slow. We realize that debt relief alone cannot alleviate poverty in the poorest countries unless accompanied by a large increase in overseas development assistance transfers such as were suggested by the Prime Minister during the G-8 meeting in Okinawa this summer. We look forward to continuing consultation with you, and to hearing further announcements of Canadian actions on debt cancellation and increases in overseas development assistance over the weeks and months ahead.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber
Archbishop of Winnipeg
Chairman, Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs

For More Information Contact:
Deacon William Kokesch
Director, Communications Service


Last Updated on Tuesday, August 15 2006  
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