September 4, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia
Check Against Delivery
Thank you for coming.
And thank you Conrad for that kind introduction.
I am happy to be here today to announce the next step in Canada’s 40 year relationship with the Canadian Red Cross.
Together we are saving lives, restoring hope and maintaining dignity for millions around the world touched by tragedy.
2013 saw more than 350 natural disasters.
These killed over 10,000 people.
And affected more than 124 million.
Many of the people affected by natural disasters are also affected by:
- civil unrest,
- health emergencies, and
These continue to affect hundreds of millions of people.
Particularly across the developing world.
We all remember the crippling typhoon in the Philippines last year.
The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010.
Or the massive tsunami that hit in Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka in 2004.
Canada responded to all these disasters.
But there are so many more that are not high-profile enough to attract funding internationally.
That is why, in June 2012, our government entered into a strategic partnership with the Canadian Red Cross.
We started working together to increase our capacity to respond to natural disaster and conflicts.
We also wanted to help communities become more resilient and prepared for such events.
And to better able to support local responses to emergencies.
Under this partnership, for every dollar contributed by Canadian Red Cross our Government contributes three.
Our first project was the Enhanced Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund.
This fund is specifically designed to respond to those small and medium scale emergencies.
Through this innovative initiative we have increased our capacity to provide assistance to people in need.
And we are able to respond to disasters within 48 hours.
That is why, today, our government is announcing a $10.8 million grant to the Canadian Red Cross Society.
These funds will allow them to maintain the Enhanced Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund project.
And it will allow the Red Cross to continue to manage Canada’s emergency relief stockpiles.
These are stockpiles of basic, lifesaving necessities ready to be shipped around the world on a moment’s notice.
Because quickly reaching people with food, water and essential supplies can be a matter of life and death.
Canada’s stockpiles are stored in Mississauga Ontario.
And, as I announced last week, Canada now also stores part of its emergency stockpile in Dubai as well.
During the last six years, we have provided emergency relief items in response to 14 humanitarian emergencies.
Maintaining stockpiles on both sides of the globe will allow us to reach people in Africa and Asia more rapidly.
It will allow us to provide relief.
To restore hope.
And, with the help of the Canadian Red Cross, it will allow us to continue to save lives.