Politics

Bono urges Trudeau to boost Canada's foreign aid budget

U2 frontman Bono is urging Justin Trudeau to resist ruling out a foreign-aid boost to help Canada meet a United Nations development target, even though the Liberal government has deemed it too ambitious.

U2 singer will meet Trudeau, Microsoft's Bill Gates at Global Fund conference in Montreal Saturday

Kevin Spacey, Bono and Justin Trudeau take a photo party during the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland. Bono is calling for Canada to increase its investment in foreign aid. (SINA.com.cn)

U2 frontman Bono is urging Justin Trudeau to resist ruling out a foreign-aid boost to help Canada meet a United Nations development target, even though the Liberal government has deemed it too ambitious.

In an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, the Irish rock star praises Canada for showing an openness to the world at a time when many countries have been retreating deeper into isolation.

But Bono, who will meet Trudeau this weekend at an international-aid event, says while he recognizes the UN's recommended spending objective is a difficult goal — he hopes the prime minister doesn't push it aside.

The UN target challenges countries to dedicate at least 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to foreign aid.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says Canada was well below that mark last year when it committed 0.28 per cent of its GNI to development assistance.

Bono is calling on Canada to use the target as a kind of beacon of hope — not only for the people whose lives depend on Canadian dollars, but for Canada to have that place in the world itself.

Bono will appear alongside Trudeau, Microsoft's Bill Gates and actress Danai Gurira at an event Saturday in Montreal, where the prime minister will also host a conference for the replenishment of the Global Fund.

It's an international partnership focused on eradicating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Trudeau has committed 785-million dollars from Canada over two years to the Global Fund — a 20-per-cent increase.

Bono says they're always looking for more — adding he believes Canadians will give broad support to such a cause as long as they believe their money is well spent.

Bono is co-founder of ONE Campaign, a global organization with 7.5 million members that's dedicated to ending extreme poverty and preventable diseases, especially in Africa.

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