A letter to our new PM

CFTC is a proud member of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) – a coalition of Canadian voluntary sector organizations working globally to achieve sustainable human development. We were honoured to be among the co-signees on this important letter written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in advance of the new PM’s first Throne Speech, covering key topics including sustainable development, the Canadian commitment to settling refugees, and climate change.

Read the letter in full:

November 23, 2015

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street Ottawa,
ON K1A 0A2

Re.: The Speech from the Throne and sustainable development

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

On behalf of a broad cross-section of organizations dedicated to sustainable development, we would like to congratulate you on becoming Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister.

We are inspired by your deep commitment to restoring Canada’s leadership in the world and, in particular, to refocusing Canada’s aid efforts on poverty reduction and tackling inequality. Your commitment to the poorest and most in need will ensure that no one is left behind.

We share these values and would like to work with your government to achieve this objective.

Moving the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) forward is a top priority and will require an enormous commitment – something all of our organizations are ready for. We welcome your leadership in implementing the 2030 agenda. To realize these global goals, we will need to use an integrated, multi-sectoral approach that is not just whole-of-government, but also whole-of Canada. This will require us all to place sustainable development at the centre of all of our work everywhere.

An early signal from Canada to the world, delivered in your Speech from the Throne, that demonstrates Canada’sfull commitment to implementing the SDGs at home and abroad will go a long way to renewing Canada’s reputation as a fully engaged partner on the international stage. At this critical juncture in global affairs, we see three key opportunities for the Liberal government.

Financing the Sustainable Development Goals
The success of the SDGs relies on governments committing to development financing commensurate with the ambition of the new 2030 agenda. We welcome your commitment to international development assistance; to spending all funds, avoiding historical patterns of lapsing funds; and to mandating the Minister of International Development to work with the Minister of Finance on this issue. For Canada’s approach to sustainable development to be credible it will be important for us to back up commitment with action. We encourage you to go beyond ensuring that every dollar is spent within Canada’s current frozen official development assistance budget. Instead, we need to adopt a clear and predictable timetable and strategy for financing these goals and for fostering a regulatory and policy environment conducive to the achievement of sustainable development. In short, we feel these steps are necessary to restore Canada’s reputation on the world stage.

For this reason, we strongly encourage you to include in the Speech from the Throne a clear commitment from the government to provide international leadership and adequate financing for implementing the SDGs both in Canada and internationally. Canadian stewardship on the SDGs, including continuing and expanding our efforts to improve women and children’s health, nutrition and rights,will tangibly demonstrate Canadian values. It will translate our commitment to equity, gender equality, human rights, inclusive sustainable economic development and combating climate change into meaningful change on the ground.

Beyond the SDGs, we very much appreciate your government’s laudable commitment to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees and your commitment to the UN High Commission for Refugees. This sends an important signal to the world about our leadership on the international stage and opens the way for Canada to more meaningfully engage in Syria and the Middle East. Drawing on our history and experience in peacekeeping, Canada can and must provide stronger leadership toward a more sustainable and peaceful world. Acceding to the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) before the second Conference of States Parties in August 2016 would mark a positive step forward on this front. Equally, we encourage you in the Speech from the Throne to articulate how Canada will provide diplomatic leadership to address the root causes of the conflict, to ensure that the millions of Internally Displaced Peoples and refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries are not forgotten, and to continue our generous support of relief activities in the region.

Finally, we hope you will signal your commitment to official development assistance by ensuring that the costs associated with resettling 25,000 refugees in Canada in the first year will be additional to the international assistance envelope.

Climate change
The upcoming Paris Climate Conference offers our government an opportunity to renew Canada’s reputation on the most critical challenge facing humanity. While we understand that it will not be possible to present a comprehensive plan for Canada ahead of Paris, we strongly endorse the inclusive and nonpartisan approach you have taken to tackling this challenge. We now encourage you to show leadership by contributing towards an ambitious and legally binding universal climate agreement. This should include efforts to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and build sustainable and inclusive economies – ones that clearly recognize “the limits to growth” globally, a concept endorsed more than 20 years ago in Rio. In this vein, we encourage you to support the Green Climate Fund in your Speech from the Throne. We also encourage you to complement that support with efforts at home to green our economy and society, and support the efforts of Canadian CSOs and their partners overseas working on climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction and sustainable livelihoods.

We welcome your government’s commitment to engaging with stakeholders and to fostering a new relationship and collaboration with civil society. We look forward to working with your office and with Ministers Bibeau, Dion, Freeland, McKenna, and Morneau in advance of the forthcoming budget to provide further substantive input on issuesraised in this letter, including aid levels, development priorities and strengthening Canadian policy coherence for sustainable development.


Julia Sánchez,
President-CEO, Canadian Council for International Co-operation


– Brian Tomlinson, Executive Director, AidWatch Canada
– Heather McPherson, Executive Director, Alberta Council for Global Cooperation
– Michèle Asselin, Executive Director, Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)
– Carolyn Whiteway, Acting Executive Director, Atlantic Council for International Cooperation
– Michael Simpson, Executive Director, British Columbia Council for International Cooperation
– Paul LaRose-Edwards, Executive Director, CANADEM
– Michael Casey, Executive Director, Canadian Cooperative Association
– Debra Kerby, President and CEO, Canadian Feed The Children
– Jim Cornelius, Executive Director, Canadian Foodgrains Bank
– Helen Scott, Executive Director, Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
– Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross
– Rita Karakas, President and CEO, Canada World Youth
– Gillian Barth, President and CEO, CARE Canada
– Claudia Black, Executive Director, Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale
– Scott Walter, Executive Director, CODE
– Pierrette Defoy Dolbec, Executive Director, Collaboration Santé Internationale
– Christine Campbell, Interim Executive Director, Crossroads International
– Boris Martin, CEO, Engineers Without Borders Canada
– Ian Hamilton, Executive Director, Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education
– Dominic Mishio, Country Director, Global Citizen & Global Poverty Project
– Hilary Elliott, Co-chair, Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN)
– Robin Montgomery, Executive Director, Interagency Coalition on Aids and Development
– Zaid Al-Rawni, CEO, Islamic Relief Canada
– Marisa Kaczmarczyk, Executive Director, Jamaican Self-Help
– Norm MacIsaac, Executive Director, LEGER Foundation
– Janice Hamilton, Executive Director, Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
– Jess Tomlin, Executive Director, The MATCH International Women’s Fund
– Donald Peters, Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee Canada
– Joel Spicer, President and CEO, Micronutrient Initiative
– Tracey Wallace, Executive Director, Northern Council for Global Cooperation
– Kimberly Gibbons, Executive Director, Ontario Council for International Cooperation
– Julie Delahanty, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada
– Denise Byrnes, Executive Director, Oxfam Québec
– Stuart Hickox, Canada Director, The ONE Campaign
– Marie Staunton, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Plan International Canada Inc.
– Adele Finney, Executive Director, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
– Amy Bartlett, Executive Director, RESULTS Canada
– Jacqui Wasacase, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation
– Patricia Erb, President and CEO, Save The Children Canada
– Susan Walsh, Executive Director, USC Canada
– Josey Kitson, Executive Director, World Animal Protection Canada
– Darrell Winger, President-CEO, World Relief Canada
– Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, Executive Director, World Renew
– Chris Eaton, Executive Director, World University Service of Canada
– Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada
– Laura Palmer Korn, Acting President and CEO, YMCA Canada

Cc: The Hon. Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade
The Hon. Marie Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La francophonie
The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance