The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement regarding dramatic cuts to federal government funding of Development & Peace:

It is with great regret that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has learned of a significant reduction in funding for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).  During the 5-year period from 2006 to 2011, CCODP’s regular program received $44.6 million in CIDA funding support.   It has reduced this contribution for the coming five years to $14.9 million.

The CCCB is extremely disappointed with this decision which will greatly curtail CCODP’s good work. With our full support, for forty-five years, it has faithfully and successfully made important contributions to all the areas where it has been present. The CCCB President, Archbishop Richard Smith, and Vice-President, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, saw this first-hand during their recent visit to Haiti. Tragically, with a smaller annual budget, CCODP will have to decrease (and possibly even eliminate) the amount of funding for a number of projects supported in the South and reduce their programs in the North.

The President, Vice-President and the General Secretary of the CCCB will continue discussing this matter with government officials in order to develop a better mutual understanding of the many effects of such a decision.  At a time when the fabric of society and of our world is torn apart by the collapse of economic systems, the growing divide between the rich and the poor, senseless war and violence, the need for the Church and society to respond is even greater. The need for the mission of Development and Peace to promote integral human development is more important than ever

In reacting to this development, Archbishop Smith said that “In light of the serious financial difficulties caused by this decrease in funding, I call on all Catholics to do everything they can to increase their support of the vital work that is carried out by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace during the current Share Lent collection which is being taken up at this time.”

March 22, 2012