Prime Minister Trudeau announces Canada’s Development Finance Institute to be based in Montréal
Thank you, Marie-Claude. Thank you, Denis, Mayor Coderre, for welcoming us once again to Montréal. It is always a great pleasure to be at City Hall here in my hometown of Montréal. And I had hoped, I dared to hope that Denis and I would see each other this summer, this spring, to celebrate a Stanley Cup victory, but we will have to do it another time, I guess.
I would also like to take a few minutes to highlight the excellent travail of our Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau. One of her responsibilities as minister is to ensure that our development assistance programs help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. That is why I am very pleased to have her here with me today, as we announce some good news for both Montréal and those in need around the world.
As a country, Canada has long recognized that with success comes a responsibility to give back. Our government shares that belief and you see it in the decisions we’ve made over these past 18 months. We raised taxes on the wealthiest 1% so that we could cut taxes for the middle class. We stopped sending child benefit cheques to millionaires so that more Canadian families, nine out of ten, could have extra help with the high costs of raising kids. And beyond our borders, we’ve also stepped up our efforts to help the world’s most vulnerable citizens.
This year on International Women’s Day, we announced our plan to double Canada’s investment in programs that support sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world, a commitment of $650 million. And last fall here in Montreal, our government pledged more than $800 million to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. And, quite frankly, being a city that was able to convene donors from all around the world for close to $13 billion of donations to end AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis was a great demonstration of not just Canada’s leadership, but specifically Montreal’s involvement and leadership in the international development sphere.
As I said at the time, Canada has a responsibility, as a member of the global community, to do its part to help deliver real, lasting change to those in need.
We have reached a new stage with respect to our last budget by announcing our plan to implement a new Development Finance Institute. By providing funding to small and medium enterprises in countries with limited access to capital, this new institute will help create jobs, stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in developing countries. The Institute will give Canada additional means of providing development support and at the same time allowing it to access tools already being used around the world, tools like loans for public infrastructure or micro financing for small and medium enterprises in developing countries.
The Institute could also help ensure that women entrepreneurs, whose success has the ability to make a big difference to entire communities but who often have difficulty access loans, are not left behind.
To assist with making the Institute operational, our government has decided to invest $300 million immediately. And because of urgent and immediate needs, the Institute will initially be created in Ottawa, where it will be managed as a subsidiary of Export and Development Canada. EDC is already able to grant loans, loan guarantees and funding, and it also has a strong international presence that we will be able to leverage as the Institute launches its activities.
But I am very pleased to announce today that our government plans to establish the Development Finance Institute here in Montréal as soon as it is operational.
Once it is permanently established in Montréal, it will be help to create up to 100 meaningful full-time jobs. We chose Montreál for several obvious reasons. For one, on top of the fact that a number of Canada’s major financial institutions are already well established in Montréal, there is also a solid network of organizations dedicated to international development. Montréal also has a dynamic private sector that has the necessary expertise to ensure the success of the Institute, not to mention the fact that Montréal is a city that has always been fully aware of its place in the world and understands that taking care of our neighbours, whether down the street or on the other side of the ocean, is part of who we are.
To members of the development community who have been asking for this kind of initiative for many years, many of whom are here today, waiting patiently for this program to materialize, I want to say thank you for your persistence. We’ve heard you and we’re going to work hard together to make sure that the Institute delivers the results that are needed in places that need the help the most.
The Development Finance Institute is about doing what Canadians do best. Reflecting on our success and turning that reflection outward in real and meaningful ways to help share our good fortune with others.
We are very happy that this institute will be established permanently here in Montréal, the most appropriate city for it.