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Canada: One Man's Crusade for Aid; Ad Reminds Liberals of Vow

February 19, 2003

University of Calgary sociologist Rick Ponting is on a one-man crusade to ensure that AIDS does not become the Holocaust of the 21st century. Ponting maxed out his personal line of credit to pay for a quarter-page ad in a recent edition of the Globe and Mail that called on Canadian Finance Minister John Manley to increase Canada's share in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Pointing out that Canada has the "healthiest economy in the world" yet is 17th in the world for contributions to foreign aid, the ad calls on Canadians to urge Manley and Prime Minister Jean Chretien to double Canada's foreign aid commitment. Canada is contributing one-quarter of 1 percent of its Gross National Product, although seven-tenths of 1 percent is the standard Canada committed to years ago.

Ponting's campaign has drawn the support of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara, where his brother David serves as director of stewardship and financial development. Other than informal networking through Calgary churches, Ponting stands alone and is not affiliated with any charities or lobby groups. He launched his campaign last summer after hearing UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis ask, at the G-8 Summit, "When are we going to come to our individual and collective senses about this?" "You might question whether this is the most efficient way of doing this but I think there is strength in the fact that I'm not associated with any charitable organization with an axe to grind," Ponting said.

Appalled to learn of Canada's international ranking on foreign aid, Ponting attempted to schedule a meeting with Manley by flying to Ottawa and alerting Manley's staff that he was available anytime. The meeting never happened because Manley had gone to the Liberal convention in Calgary. "Charitably speaking, I could say that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. ... I concluded that something very different had to be done," said Ponting.

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Without lending Ponting's initiative an official endorsement, Andrew Ingatieff, director of the Primate's World Relief Development Fund for the Anglican Church of Canada said that the ad serves as an important reminder to Chretien of his international commitments.

Back to other CDC news for February 19, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Hamilton Spectator (Ontario)
02.05.03; Sharon Boase



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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