Statement from Minister Paradis: International Development Week, February 2-8, 2014

Every year, Canadians come together to celebrate International Development Week. Canada has a rich legacy on the international stage, both in terms of development and humanitarian assistance. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for all of us to share our achievements, to talk about challenges and to build a better way forward.

This week is a celebration of people helping people. It's about connecting the dots from women, men and children in the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe all the way back to the organizations and individuals that help them. It's also about engaging Canadians in international development and showing them how they can make a difference in some of the world’s poorest countries.

During my time as Minister of International Development, I have visited some of the developing countries where Canada works, and I have seen first-hand how our assistance saves lives, helps families and transforms communities. In the Philippines, I accompanied our men and women in uniform as they delivered life-saving assistance to those who were affected by Typhoon Haiyan. In Haiti, I met with Canadians who are working alongside Haitians to rebuild the country following the devastating earthquake in 2010. In Senegal, I spoke to women who received maternal health services for the first time.

It is a humbling experience to witness the strength of humanity and the drive to overcome, to grow and to build a better future. I have had the privilege of witnessing the direct results Canadian actions are having on women, children, and entire families around the world. I have rarely been more proud to be Canadian.

This year's theme is "We are making a difference", and we are.

Much has been accomplished in this past year, but we still have a long way to go. I invite you to join me as we look to new and innovative ways to help those in need.

Whether you are a student thinking about a career in international development, a professional who wants to share their expertise, or a retiree looking for volunteer opportunities, I encourage all Canadians to participate and get involved. For more information about IDW, as well as a list of events being held throughout Canada, visit the International Development Week Web page.

Together, we are making a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world. This is something we can all be proud of. 

Christian Paradis
Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie