Press Release - Sunday, March 28, 1999

Government action on debts of poorest countries a progressive move
says Halifax Initiative Coalition, and backs Canada to take a stronger position at the World Bank, IMF.
For immediate release 28 March, 1999
Ottawa -- Today's announcement that Canada will cancel 100% of debts owed by the poorest countries in the world is welcomed by the Halifax Initiative, a national coalition of environment, development, social justice and faith groups.

Press Release: Wednesday, November 4, 1998

Canadian organizations and individuals today called for an immediate stop on debt payments coming out of Nicaragua and Honduras.

4 November 1998 - In letters to the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Finance Minister Paul Martin and External Affairs Minster Lloyd Axworthy, they asked that a freeze on debt payments be enacted for 90 days, in light of the disaster affecting the people in Central America.

Both Nicaragua and Honduras are considered heavily indebted poor countries by the international financial institutions, and pay out millions of dollars each month to outside creditors. Much of this money goes to the IMF, World Bank, and IDB. The two countries sent out US$888 million dollars last year - or $2.43 million per day.

Mythologies of debt relief

Four \myths\ of debt relief were outlined in an article written in The Guardian in November, 1998, by Jack Boorman, Director of the IMF�s Policy Development and Review Department.

The following information dispels these arguments maintained by the IMF surrounding debt relief.

As the IMF delays and minimizes debt relief available through the HIPC Initiative, it is using the program to increase its control of national economic policies and creating myths to justify its actions�