Canadian Parliament passes a motion to increase support for microfinance

Yesterday a motion calling on the Canadian government to dedicate new funding for microcredit lending in the world’s poorest countries received unanimous support from all Canadian Members of Parliament.

John McCallum, the Member of Parliament for Markham-Unionville, sponsored the motion and said that he was excited by the high level of interest and support he has received from politicians in all four parties.“In Canada, as in the United States, microcredit tends to draw support from people across the political spectrum,” said McCallum. “While microcredit is by no means a panacea, it can play an important role in alleviating poverty in the developing world. It’s really a hand up for people who are willing and eager to work but just do not have the opportunity.”

McCallum recently attended a microcredit summit in Nairobi, Kenya where he witnessed firsthand how not for profit and charitable organisations are using microloans to help improve communities, give hope and reach the very poor (those who live on less than a $1.25/day) people in the world. He was invited to attend the conference by RESULTS Canada.

“While in Nairobi I met with people who have championed microcredit for years, but it was as I spoke with the locals who have benefited from microloans, I came to appreciate the true potential of this approach to international development,” said McCallum. “When I returned to Ottawa and began discussing my experiences with my parliamentary colleagues I quickly realized that this was something that we could all agree on.”

The unanimous motion read as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House the government should consider providing additional funding, within the next twelve months, to competent organizations for the purpose of carrying out microcredit lending targeted at people living on less than $1.25 per day in least-developed countries.

“This is a day to celebrate the commitment of parliamentarians from all political parties who have united in support of the world’s poor,” said RESULTS Canada’s Executive Director Christina Dendys.  “MP John McCallum’s Private Members’ motion has the potential to provide a ladder out of poverty for hundreds of thousands of the 1.4 billion who live on less than $1.25 a day. More than 100 million families world-wide are benefiting from access to microloans. They are an irrefutable chorus telling us that there is demand and need for microcredit for the very poor.”

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