Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Pledges $785M to Fight AIDS, TB, Malaria; Hosting Global Fund Conference

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Pledges $785M to Fight AIDS, TB, Malaria; Hosting Global Fund Conference

Article excerpt

Cda donates to fight AIDS, TB and malaria

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OTTAWA - The phrase "Canada is back" echoed across an Ottawa conference hall Monday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will host a fundraiser for the Global Fund, and donate $785 million over a two-year period to battle AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

While Trudeau didn't mouth the words himself, the theme first spoken by the prime minister upon his Liberal government's election victory in October was picked up by the beneficiaries in the room.

"'Canada is back' is tangible, measurable and meaningful," Stuart Hickox, the Canadian director of the ONE Campaign, said of the 20-per-cent increase in Canada's commitment to the Global Fund for the 2017-2019 period, recalling the comment made by Trudeau about Canada's role on the international stage.

The ONE Campaign is an organization co-founded by U2 lead singer Bono in 2004, which works to promote maternal and child health projects in Africa and elsewhere.

It is seen as complementary to the Global Fund, which raises an estimated $4 billion US every year as the world's main funding body in the fight to prevent and treat malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.

Bono's visit to Ottawa last year when Stephen Harper was still in power re-ignited a political debate over the Conservative government's development policy, which won praise from the World Health Organization for focusing on maternal and child health. But the Tories were also criticized for freezing overall development spending.

The Liberal budget in March provided little encouragement on international development, committing to increase foreign aid spending by $256 million over two years -- an amount some critics characterized as peanuts in relation to the document's other spending plans.

But at the town hall-style event on Monday, Trudeau said Canada will "lead by example," and host the Global Fund's fifth fundraising conference Sept. …

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