Development group ranks Canada last in commitment to environmental protection

Matthew Coutts

Canada's commitment to helping the world's poorer nations appears to be on the decline, according to a new study that ranks the country dead last when it comes to environmental protection.

The Center for Global Development released a study on Monday detailing the affect the world's most wealthy countries have on the poorest. The Commitment to Development Index 2013 ranked Canada a middling 13th out of 27 countries assessed in the study.

Denmark and Sweden ranked at the top of the list.

“Canada’s main contributions to the development of poor countries come through its low barriers against non-agricultural exports, large share of foreign students from developing countries, few arms exports to poor and undemocratic governments, and a tax policy that encourages private charitable giving,” writes the Center for Global Development.

“But the Canadian government’s positive impact is reduced by imposing high tariffs on textile, apparel and dairy, and impediments to importation from developing countries, its relatively small contributions to international peacekeeping efforts, and its poor environmental record from the standpoint of developing countries.”

The ranking scores each country on foreign aid, openness to trade, environmental protection policies, security, finances, openness to migration and support for technology creation and uses those indicators to rank them in terms of their impact on poor countries.

Canada ranked 12th overall, falling one position to 13th. But the most notable score on Canada's report card was a dead last in the environment category.

According to the Center for Global Development, Canada failed on the environmental front in the following ways:

  • It had a high greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel production rate per capita
  • It has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change
  • It has comparably low gas taxes (34 cents per litre)
  • It has a poor compliance rate when it comes to biodiversity-related environmental agreements.

On the other hand, Canada was credited with limiting the amount of tropical lumber it imports.

The country ranked in the middle of the pack when it comes to aid, finance, technology and security. Canada’s best marks came in migration, considered third-best among the country's assessed, and trade, ranked fourth.

The index ranks 27 of the world's richest countries on their dedication to support poorer nations.

If Canada's middling level of international respect when it comes to helping poor countries bums you out, consider where we sit on the list. The United States ranks six spots behind us at 19, and Japan and South Korea come at the absolute bottom of the list.