NEWS ~ NEW DEMOCRATS WELCOME MOVE TO MATCH DONATIONS FOR PAKISTAN RELIEF

VANCOUVER – New Democrat MPs Don Davies (Vancouver-Kingsway) and Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster) welcomed the announcement that private donations made for flood aid between August 2 and September 12 will be matched by the government with no upper limit.

Julian and Davies wrote to the Minister for International Cooperation in early August calling on the government to do more to help the people of Pakistan deal with the devastating effects of the flooding at the end of July, which has displaced millions in Pakistan and claimed the lives of over 1,600 Pakistanis. They requested that the government contribute more financial aid and supplies. They also called on the Harper government to begin matching the financial contributions of Canadian individuals to the flood-relief efforts, a type of government financial support which proved so successful in the case of the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year.

"It is critical that Canada donate money, supplies and support to the Pakistani people on the same level as we did for Haiti. Nothing less than that is acceptable,” said Davies.

Three weeks after rising floodwaters began displacing millions in Pakistan, Conservative House Leader John Baird announced that the government would match dollar-for-dollar money donated to registered Canadian charities. This program will be run through the Canadian International Development Agency

Canadians have a strong tradition of contributing to worldwide relief efforts, and were quick to offer aid following the Indonesian tsunami of 2005 and the Haitian earthquake early this year.

“Pakistani-Canadians have a long history of contributions to this country. They have worked alongside Canadians of every ethnic background to build a better Canada. Now they are asking for the government’s assistance as they work to relieve the suffering in Pakistan. We are pleased that the government has listened and considered the NDP’s call to increase its aid contribution and offer to match dollar-for-dollar the donations of Canadians individuals to humanitarian assistance for flood relief in Pakistan,” said Julian.

Davies and Julian attended the Pakistani Independence Day ceremony in Surrey BC at the beginning of August, where they pledged to call on the federal government to match donations by Canadians to flood relief in Pakistan.

The flooding continues even now, but Pakistan officials are hopeful the water will recede nationwide early this week. The United Nations has warned as many as 3.5 million children could be at risk of contracting deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects.

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For more information, please contact:
Office of Don Davies: 778.994.2271
Office of Peter Julian: 604.775.5707