Harper's mean-spirited priorities grate on critics

Re: "Harper fails UN poverty test" [March 29–April 5].

If we hope to build a better world, here's a good place to start–with the one billion children and families who must scrape by on less than a dollar a day.

Such extreme poverty robs children and parents of hope. They have no choices. They must focus on survival today, not on what may come tomorrow. Education and dreams are unimaginable luxuries.

Yet if we want security and democracy in the world, there must be room for education and dreams. Especially for the desperately poor.

The Harper Conservatives' decision to cut Canada's development aid is just wrong.

Ujjal Dosanjh is also wrong about the Liberal record. Sure, the Liberals set targets to increase aid. But in reality, they cut it from 0.44 percent of gross national product in 1993 to 0.25 percent in 2000. Liberal promises are less tangible than the undernourished dreams of the poorest children in the world.

In the most recent Harper budget, Canada's aid will drop from 0.33 percent to 0.32 percent next year, far short of the 0.7 percent commitment our nation made when we signed the UN Millennium Declaration.

This budget also continues the Liberal and Conservative tradition of handing billions of dollars in tax giveaways to corporations that are already making record profits.

Weighed against the huge difference even a fraction of these tax breaks could make in the lives and the future of poor children, I consider their choice to be callous, cruel, and short-sighted.

> Dawn Black, MP / New Westminster–Coquitlam / NDP Critic for Defence and Peace Advocacy

Now I know what it's like to be a voice howling in the wilderness.

The only time I see any criticism of the Harper Conservatives is in the Straight . Your "Harperstein" article [July 6-13, 2006] opened my eyes.

To expect the Harper Conservatives to care about homelessness in Vancouver ["Harper government ignores housing crisis", March 22-29] is to believe they've actually become truly concerned about global warming and climate change or that they've read anything on Afghan history.

These people are ideologues. You better believe they'll make this world in their image, so learn to like it, or vote for somebody, anybody, else.

> Terry McKinney / Vancouver