LETTER: We should celebrate the ongoing decline in global poverty rates

Christmas is a good time to be generous, both at home and abroad

It is a pity that good news doesn’t sell. As a result, few people know that huge strides have been made in eradicating extreme poverty.

As world population has increased exponentially, poverty has been decreasing, according to an Oct. 8 article in The Economist entitled “How the Other Tenth Lives.” It states that between 1993 and 2013, the number of people living at the poverty level decreased by one billion, from one in three to one in 10.

The greatest strides have been made in China, while at the same time, the greatest challenge to eradicating poverty is the deeply embedded caste system in India. In some ways it could be likened to the problems facing Canadians in finding ways to lift some of our northern First Nations out of the grips of poverty.

It is complicated. But that does not afford us the excuse to do nothing. While 767 million people worldwide still go hungry, the progress is worth noting. It should give us more than just a glimmer of hope that we can, if we choose to, eradicate poverty. A boost to our International Aid would be a great first step, as would a strong commitment to our First Nations.

We’re back, remember? Isn’t it time that we joined the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates in donating at least 0.7 per cent of our gross national income? Should we not follow the great example set by the Danish government in caring for their Inuit Greenlanders?

Christmas is a good time to be generous, both at home and abroad, to continue to create a good news story. With budget time just around the corner, let’s remind our leaders to think globally and act locally.

Connie Lebeau

Saanich