Candidates who put #PoliticsAside
Elected MPs who participated in the campaign
Ridings where Canadians challenged their candidates to put #PoliticsAside
There are few issues on which you’ll find universal agreement—but this year, we were thrilled to announce that Canadians almost unanimously think poverty reduction is important.
In April 2015, we published, with the Inter-Council Network, “Canadian Perspectives on International Development.” Based on a survey of more than 1000 Canadians, we found that 66% of Canadians are concerned about levels of poverty in poor countries, and 94% think it is important to improve health, education and economic opportunity for the world’s poorest.
That report was launched with a cross-party Parliamentary reception (pictured, left) and formed the basis for our campaign in the lead-up to, and during, the recent federal election campaign. Drawing on the energy of our community of thousands, we challenged candidates to put #PoliticsAside to end global poverty.
The way our community mobilized around the campaign was extraordinary. Canadians contacted their candidates—in person, by phone, by email or on social media—and 171 of those candidates pledged to put politics aside. This means that EWBers, our allies and citizens in 90% of ridings across the country participated, resulting in 46 elected MPs who took the pledge—including two party leaders.
But there was much more than just individual actions. Our community also organized and hosted forums and debates from St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between. Foreign aid is often overlooked during elections, but this year, we fostered and witnessed a lively debate, which bodes well for our collective desire to get involved. With such success coming from a previous campaign, we look forward to working with the new government and building upon members’ pledges to put #PoliticsAside.
Over the past several years, EWB has strongly advocated for a way to harness private sector engagement in international development—and in the 2015 Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada announced the creation of a Development Finance Initiative (DFI) to support entrepreneurs working to drive growth in developing countries by building markets and creating jobs. This accomplishment was the result of EWB lobbying in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and others. The DFI has the potential to fix the finance gap in low- and middle-income countries, where private lenders find it too risky to provide affordable capital to entrepreneurs in these regions.