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Oxfam: Billions to Oil Companies and Crumbs to Fight Poverty?

Oxfam: Billions to Oil Companies and Crumbs to Fight Poverty?

November 12, 2010

With new reports showing billions in tax breaks going to the lucrative oil, coal and gas industries, Oxfam campus groups are wondering how the government can justify freezing the aid budget.

“Why is Canada freezing aid to the world’s poorest people while at the same time giving tax breaks to the richest industries?” asked Bill Hynd, Oxfam Canada’s Acting Youth & Campus Outreach Officer.

Beginning Nov. 15 at universities and colleges across the country, Oxfam Canada campus groups will lobby their fellow students to demand the government take action.

Canada announced in March that the international aid budget would be frozen at the 2010 level for the next five years. Meanwhile, recent reports from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Greenpeace and the Climate Action Network all show that the Canadian government continues to support the gas and oil industry with a billion dollars in tax breaks, even while claiming they’re not.

“It is hard to understand why we would give billion-dollar breaks to dirty industries,” said Oxfam Canada Policy Coordinator Mark Fried.

“The poorest people in the world are reeling from climate change, which is playing havoc with planting seasons and causing floods and droughts. We need to help them cope by reducing our emissions and by providing direct assistance.”

Canada has committed to contributing $400 million to a climate adaptation fund, yet recently revealed it will give the money only in the form of loans, and mostly for mitigation projects as opposed to adaptation. Money lost to oil and gas tax breaks could easily fund this commitment, and turn loans into much-needed grants, Fried said.

For more information, please contact Bill Hynd at 709-749-3293.

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