Hélène Laverdière
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Hélène Laverdière is NDP MP for Laurier – Ste-Marie and Official Opposition Critic for International Cooperation, Americas and Consular Affairs. She is a former Canadian diplomat who was posted to Chile, Senegal, and Washington, D.C.

She holds a doctoral degree in Sociology from the University of Bath in England and speaks French, English, Spanish and a bit of Mandarin Chinese.

Entries by Hélène Laverdière

Canada Must Meet Our Obligations to Support Developing Countries

(24) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 8:58 AM

This year's federal budget was a major disappointment. Despite repeated requests from the NDP and Canadian civil society, the Conservatives refused to increase the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget. The government's proposal to create a development finance initiative raises serious concerns and continues their faulty approach to funding for international...

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Agricultural Development Plants the Seeds for Long-Term Poverty Solutions

(2) Comments | Posted April 30, 2015 | 7:49 AM

This week many Canadians are participating in the Live Below the Line campaign by living on $1.75 a day, to raise awareness of the 1.2 billion people in the world living in extreme poverty. While last week's Conservative budget continued to neglect aid as a priority-...

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Canada Could Do More to Help the Women of Darfur

(2) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 1:17 PM

A decade ago, the world came together and mobilized for immediate humanitarian intervention to end the genocide in Darfur. The present reality, however, is that the battle is far from over. Unfortunately, the Government of Canada is missing in action, reducing its international assistance to Sudan even as the human...

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Canada Should Partner with Canadian NGOs to Help Rebuild Gaza

(42) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 5:25 PM

Consider for a moment what it would be like to live under the following conditions: daily power cuts for hours at a time; salaries unpaid; restrictions on movement; limited access to clean water; overcrowded schools; high unemployment. Add to that the fact that many homes are destroyed and there is...

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Central African Republic: A Humanitarian Crisis with Security Implications

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 11:59 AM

The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is now entering its third year. Despite the deployment of a new United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2014, violence continues. In recent weeks armed groups have targeted humanitarian workers and resurgent sectarian violence has led civil society actors to warn...

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Why Isn't Canada Doing More to Help Lebanon Deal With the Syrian Refugee Crisis?

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 9:05 AM

The Syrian conflict has passed two sobering milestones. The civil war -- now entering its fourth year -- has now claimed more than 200,000 lives and forced more than three million people to flee the country. Of those displaced by the violence, more than one million have sought...

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Now May Not be the Time for a Development Finance Institution

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 12:07 PM

In the last few months there has been much discussion about the Canadian government establishing a Development Finance Institution (DFI). Organizations like Engineers Without Borders should be commended for sparking an important conversation about the future of Canadian development assistance with regard to the creation of...

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Fighting Tuberculosis Is Everyone's Responsibility

(1) Comments | Posted February 5, 2015 | 4:55 PM

How much do you know about tuberculosis (TB)? Did you know that more than nine million people around the world become ill with TB every year? One-third of these people fail to get a diagnosis or treatment -- and 1.4 million die from this curable disease every year. Every untreated...

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Canada Is Failing to Fight the Greatest Health Emergency of Our Time

(4) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 1:20 PM

This week, the World Health Organization increased its estimates to warn that, within the next two months, there may be up to 10,000 new cases of Ebola every week. The United Nations Security Council has called the Ebola epidemic "a threat to international peace and security."...

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The Conservatives Need To Stop Attacking Canada's NGOs

(9) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 12:33 PM

We're all familiar with the adage "actions speak louder than words." It is clear, however, that this is a foreign phrase to the Harper government. How else to explain the glaring dissonance between International Development Minister Christian Paradis' recent remarks at an international conference on aid effectiveness in...

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Canada Can Afford to Help South Sudan, But Won't Pay Up

(14) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 5:27 PM

In recent months members of Parliament have debated three of the world's major crises, in Ukraine, Syria, and the Central African Republic.

There is another crisis, though, that Canada has neglected so far -- the political and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

South Sudan is the world's newest...

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Why Isn't Canada a Leader in International Development?

(2) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 5:10 PM

This week is International Development Week. This year's theme is "We are Making a Difference." Canada should be making a difference -- a real, sustainable difference. Unfortunately, under the Conservative government, we are going in the wrong direction.

Under Prime Minister Harper, Canada's aid budget has suffered significant cuts....

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Girls Are Dying From Unsafe Abortions, Why Won't Canada Help?

(24) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 12:44 PM

In the past three weeks, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird made repeated statements committing Canada to address the issue of early and forced marriage.

His announcements come just days before the release of the United Nations Populations Fund's (UNFPA) 2013 State of World Population report, for...

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International Development Should Not Happen Behind Closed Doors

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 12:34 PM

When Parliament reconvenes on October 16, all eyes will be on Stephen Harper's "new" agenda as articulated in the Speech from the Throne. What role will international development play in this speech -- and will it matter? I believe that the most important decisions on the international development agenda continue...

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Canada Must Improve Corporate Responsibility Overseas

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2013 | 11:37 AM

The shock felt by Canadians following the recent tragedy in Bangladesh shows that we, as a country, care deeply about the welfare of others, and we want to see responsible business practices and an end to exploitation of workers. In the wake of this tragedy, the NDP has...

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The Mandate of Poverty Reduction Must Not Be Lost in CIDA's Merger

(1) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 12:10 PM

In yesterday's budget the government announced that Canada's International Development Agency (CIDA) will be merged within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). A new Department -- possibly with the amusing acronym DFATD -- will be created, although we have no idea how soon and at what cost....

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Let's Learn From the U.K. and Commit to International Aid

(3) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 4:05 PM

This week in the United Kingdom, David Cameron's Conservative government will announce that they have achieved the targeted 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) in their international aid budget. It will be the sixth country in the world to do so. This is an extraordinary achievement that should...

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The Conservatives: Tough on Crime, Soft on Violence Against Women

(39) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 12:19 PM

When the UN's Commission on the Status of Women meets this month their focus will be violence against women. While the U.K. has launched a campaign to tackle this issue and is encouraging the international community to do the same, Canada has not.

Every six days a Canadian woman...

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How CIDA Is Changing -- For the Worse

(30) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 3:19 PM

The Conservative government's recent decision to use Canadian development dollars to subsidise the activities of the extractive sector is troubling. Under the direction of its new Minister Julian Fantino, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is, shockingly, changing its focus from poverty reduction to promoting Canadian extractive industries abroad.

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