Canada has betrayed its role as an international leader and can expect protesters to take that message to the streets during the G8 and G20 summits, activists said yesterday.

Stephen Lewis, former ambassador to the UN, said Canada will be showing up empty-handed at the summits in Huntsville and Toronto this June.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is out of step with other world leaders on foreign aid, climate change and global economic recovery after last week’s budget flatlined Canada’s contributions until 2014, Lewis said.

“(It) is a reversal of our claim to international leadership,” said Lewis. “All of us will have to work 10 times as hard to get Prime Minister Harper and his adjuncts at the table to respond to the human condition.”

Harper is also breaking a promise to commit 0.7 per cent of Canada’s gross national income to help halve world poverty by 2015, Lewis added.

Gerry Barr, president of the Canadian Council on International Co-operation, says currently, Canada is giving less than half that amount.

Canada could have made a tremendous impact on poverty, maternal and child care, HIV-AIDS and climate change, said Lewis, but added with the Harper budget that is highly unlikely to happen.

A spokeswoman for Bev Oda, minister in charge of foreign aid, defended the government.

“In 2010-11 alone, (foreign aid) will increase eight per cent and total annual foreign aid spending will reach $5 billion,” said Jessica Fletcher. “This increase brings Canada’s total annual foreign aid spending to a record high.”