April 11, 2013
Today, before a group of 1,250 delegates attending the North American YMCA Development Organization conference in Vancouver, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, highlighted Canada's international assistance priorities in securing the future of youth globally and praised the YMCA for the work it does in providing youth with the tools they need to become engaged citizens.
"Here in Canada, the YMCA has been at the centre of youth activities and involvement in communities across the country for decades," said Minister Fantino. "The Harper government is committed to supporting initiatives that empower young people in developing countries through leadership and vocational training."
Minister Fantino recognized the long-standing partnership between the Harper Government and the YMCA. For example, the government is currently collaborating with YMCA Canada to improve the health, safety, and financial security of developing-country youth, particularly young women in countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia, and Haiti. The project, which runs until 2014, aims to prevent the marginalization of children and youth by facilitating their participation in civil society. It also creates opportunities for Canadians, particularly YMCA members, to learn about, participate in, and support international development activities.
During his speech, Minister Fantino also highlighted the creation of the International Education Strategy, a new initiative by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. As part of Economic Action Plan 2013 (EAP 2013), the strategy promotes Canada as a country of choice for study and world-class research, and encourages Canadian students to take advantage of training opportunities abroad. International students spent more than $8 billion in Canada in 2010.
"Our government recognizes that international education is a key driver of Canada's economy and future prosperity," said Minister Fantino. "International students and researchers bring skills and expertise to Canada. They also help to strengthen our ties and deepen our interaction with other countries, including those in the developing world."
By enshrining the responsibilities of the Minister and the priority of international development and humanitarian assistance into law, EAP2013 has enhanced Canada's ability to support children and youth most in need around the world. Furthermore, the creation of the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will improve the coordination of international assistance with broader Canadian values and objectives, and put development on equal footing with trade and diplomacy.
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For more information, media should contact:
Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation