Cut Foreign Aid By Half, Spend It At Home

March 1st, 2021 | RR

In 2020, Canada increased its foreign spending to $6.5B. This is a steady increase from previous years, with much of the increase going to fight the pandemic in other countries. During the 2019 election campaign, Conservatives promised to cut foreign aid by 25%, pleasing many of their supporters but antagonizing the mainstream media and Liberals. The media went into attack mode and began finding “experts” to explain why cutting foreign aid would be a mistake, but the idea of cutting foreign aid has been circulating in conservative circles for years and it is not going away. In fact, the savings generated by cutting foreign aid could help a lot of Canadians—especially as poverty and debt continue to become bigger problems at home.

By the end of this year, Canada will have a $1 trillion national debt. For a country of 37 million people, that's huge. To pay that debt off, without drastic tax increases, we will need to rapidly increase our population in a short amount of time (which Liberals plan to do), or find ways to cut spending. The social implications of both options can be negative. A quick and massive influx of culturally diverse people can have a negative impact on Canada's social fabric, which is something Liberals and media would never admit, but it's something we have seen in many European countries. The strains on our healthcare system and welfare infrastructure would also be heavy and could end up costing more than it would be worth.

Spending cuts and extreme austerity can also have negative impacts, as we've seen in countries like Greece.


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The common sense solution to such a massive debt would be to temporarily stop foreign aid all together, but we aren't living in an era of common sense. Instead, our government continues doling out more and more money to other countries while poverty, homelessness and debt continue to reach crisis levels here at home. Many First Nations don't have clean drinking water or electricity, drug overdoses have reached historic levels, homelessness is the highest it has been in 30 years and household debts have put 48% of Canadians on the verge of insolvency.

The Liberal solution to all of this is to send more money to Africa.

For a massive, highly influential and powerful country with a lot of geopolitical interests, like the United States or China, foreign aid helps secure friendships and bribe important countries around the world. For Canada, foreign aid makes less sense. In our case, foreign aid is more about virtue signalling, white guilt and the advancement of a prime minister's own personal ambitions. In Canada, foreign aid only serves one of those three purposes.

How much of our foreign aid goes to private organizations and NGOs that funnel it elsewhere? How much of it is meant to signal virtue and to impress powerful people at the UN? How much of it is meant to redistribute wealth and to pay a penance for a bunch of guilty, privileged white people?

How much of our foreign spending really creates a valuable return for Canadians?

So far, Justin Trudeau's generous handouts to foreign countries haven't helped Canadians stay on their feet. Canada's place in the lineup for coronavirus vaccines has tumbled, we're still unable to get our oil to market, we're still losing jobs, we're still being bullied by China and our global competitiveness has dropped to the lowest point ever. Justin Trudeau even lost Canada's bid for a seat on the UN's security council.

Most of that money would be better spent at home. It's unlikely that the Liberals will take an axe to foreign spending any time soon, but other parties might in the future. The Conservatives under Scheer proposed a 25% cut—which is a good start—and it ended up being one of the party's most popular promises in the 2019 election. Erin O'Toole, being a closet liberal, probably won't make a move on foreign aid during his short career as leader. However, liberals and socialists can be convinced to support significant cuts to foreign aid if they're given good ideas about where else that money could be spent.

Real change, after all, never comes from politicians. It comes from the people. If we can tilt the scales of public opinion, we can change the direction of the country. These are some ways the money from our foreign aid budget could be better spent.


Healthcare

The holy grail of Canadianism is universal healthcare. Unfortunately, Canada's health system has been falling behind other countries that have the same kind of universal healthcare. For instance, Canada is one of the biggest spenders on healthcare but ranks near the bottom for wait times, available beds and its supply of doctors. Of 28 countries with similar universal healthcare systems, Canada ranks 26th. Overall, countries like Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand have shorter wait times, more doctors per capita and far more available beds.

In 2013, a separate study found the same results.

The 2013 study also found that 15% of Canadians did not have a family doctor. Since 2013, those numbers have gotten worse. In 2019, a report found that 19% of Canadians did not have a family doctor, with that number being highest in Quebec at 25%. The same report found that rural towns and cities across the prairies have the fewest doctors and that younger doctors are refusing to work the same long hours as their predecessors. Go figure.

If there is a system in Canada that needs dire reform, it is our healthcare system.

With doctors working less hours and healthcare costs increasing year by year, we need to spend a few billion to fix our system. What better place to take the funds than from Canada's bloated foreign aid budget. We could hire more doctors, increase their salaries to keep them in the country and buy millions of more beds and billions worth of important equipment. By cutting Canada's foreign budget by half, we could use the $3 billion in yearly savings to pump up our declining healthcare system. While we're at it, we could work on an incremental plan to reform it.

"So far, Justin Trudeau's generous handouts to foreign countries haven't helped Canadians stay on their feet."

Now, we just need to find some politicians brave enough to cut foreign aid and to overhaul our sacred healthcare system. We'll need some newcomers that aren't just grifters looking for cushy careers in public service.

Lower Tuition And Subsidized Trade Schools

One of the biggest setbacks for anyone graduating from high school is the cost of tuition. Many will either hold off on university or get their rich parents to pay for it. Those who don't have rich parents will either get themselves deep into debt, or be forced to work part-time jobs at the expense of studying and reaching their full potential. Some will forego university all together and go straight into the workforce or make an attempt at trade school.

Not everyone needs a post-secondary education, but investing in those who do would benefit both our economy and our society.

Having more homegrown doctors, scientists, engineers and professionals is never a bad thing. As long as we can keep them here, we would be doing ourselves a massive favour. Having more homegrown plumbers, welders, electricians, mechanics and trades people is also a win for Canada's economy and social fabric. Making education more affordable and appealing to high school graduates would be far more beneficial than sending billions to African dictators and third-world shitholes.

A more ambitious (and expensive) proposal would be to send everyone who graduates from high school with an 80% GPA or higher to a university of their choice—for free. Expanding existing scholarship programs would be a good start.

Don't take my word for it. So-called experts and scholars have been pushing for free college and for education reforms for years. The only thing that has stopped their utopian dreams from coming true is money. If we dramatically cut foreign aid, we can find the money they've been needing to make education more accessible to everyone.


Zero Federal Income Taxes For Low Earners

There are a number of ways to help Canadians at home by axing the foreign aid budget. With $3 billion in savings from cutting the budget in half, the government could afford to slash taxes for Canadians who earn less than $30,000 a year. In fact, completely eliminating federal income taxes for anyone who earns less than $30,000 is the best option. Furthering the tax cuts for lower brackets is also a good idea.

The new tax brackets could look something like this:

$30,000 or less: 0%

$30,001 to $48,500: 10%

$48,501 to $98,000: 15%

$98,001 to $150,500: 25%

$150,501 to $215,000: 30%

$215,001 to $500,000: 35%

More than $500,000: 40%


Small Businesses And Entrepreneurs

Now, after the government has decimated small businesses across the country, it would be a good time to bail out small businesses and to fund the creation of new ones. I say the government decimated small businesses because it's true—it wasn't the pandemic. A virus that kills 1% of the people it infects is not the cause of the economic devastation that's currently being experienced. It was governments and their responses to the virus that killed the economy and bankrupted small businesses.

By infusing small businesses and encouraging people to start new ones, we could put to good use the $3 billion saved by cutting our foreign spending by half.

These are just a few ways to spend our money more wisely. We can't do all of what was shown here, but we could do one of these things. Most of us can agree that sending billions to foreign countries and dictators does little to lift real Canadians out of poverty. Especially now, in a time when governments choose to decimate livelihoods with fear and unnecessary lockdowns, we could use some support and empathy from the clowns who caused it all.

Maybe they can start with an apology.


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