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Hélène Laverdière

NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs

Hélène Laverdière is NDP MP for Laurier – Ste-Marie and NDP Critic for Foreign 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.
CP

When It Comes To Arms Exports, Canada Isn't 'Back'

Canadian-made military equipment initially sold to Saudi Arabia has been used in Yemen, where thousands of civilians -- many of them children -- have died. Canadian-made arms have also been used to violate the human rights of Saudi dissidents. Canada may even be at risk of complicity in Saudi violations of international law.
10/04/2016 01:29 EDT
Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

World Refugee Day: Canada Should Lead By Example And Do More

I believe Canada must do more and become a global model. Canada should increase its acceptance of refugees, regardless of their home country. A refugee is a refugee, regardless of their origin. Settling a larger number of refugees each year is just one solution Canada could consider. Canada should also provide increased humanitarian assistance in crisis situations, and increase its development assistance in fragile states.
06/16/2016 05:59 EDT
Shutterstock / Nzescapes

Canada Must Meet Our Obligations to Support Developing Countries

Despite repeated requests from the NDP and Canadian civil society, the Conservatives refused to increase the Official Development Assistance budget. Canada now ranks among the worst OECD countries for ODA spending. Not only does this directly limit our ability to fulfill our mandate of poverty eradication, it hurts our credibility as a reliable partner for international development.
05/26/2015 08:58 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Agricultural Development Plants the Seeds for Long-Term Poverty Solutions

While the right to food is a basic human right, food insecurity is a serious problem around the world. The global evidence is clear. Countries that make investments in agricultural development are better equipped to eliminate hunger, reduce rates of undernourishment and accelerate their economies. What's more, increased farm incomes stimulate employment both on farms and in the broader community. Further, the World Bank found that GDP growth originating from agricultural development is twice as effective in reducing poverty as GDP growth stemming from alternative industries.
04/30/2015 07:49 EDT
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Canada Could Do More to Help the Women of Darfur

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 needs on the ground continue to grow.
04/21/2015 01:17 EDT
Khaled Hasan via Getty Images

Canada Should Partner with Canadian NGOs to Help Rebuild Gaza

Now is the time for Canada to focus on long-term recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Gaza. Housing, health, water and sewage facilities, provision of social services, education, and psycho-social support are all areas where we can help. Canada must commit to long-term development programming in Gaza -- and a quick survey of some of Canada's NGOs suggests there are many positive and effective options for partnership.
03/24/2015 05:25 EDT
CHARLES LOMODONG via Getty Images

Central African Republic: A Humanitarian Crisis with Security Implications

We must reclaim our position as a strong advocate for human rights and peace. In order to do this, we must do more than increase our financial support to the Central African Republic. We must condemn the abhorrent acts of violence against women and children. We must advocate for religious tolerance and reconciliation. And we must denounce the international apathy that has allowed this crisis to drag on for so long.
03/12/2015 01:02 EDT
Sumaya Agha/Mercy Corps

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

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. The Canadian government can and should be playing a more direct role in addressing the refugee crisis in Lebanon by immediately increasing our humanitarian assistance.
03/10/2015 09:05 EDT
CP

Now May Not be the Time for a Development Finance Institution

In the last few months there has been much discussion about the Canadian government establishing a Development Finance Institution (DFI). DFIs definitely have some potential to work for development. But would it really fill an important gap in Canada's development toolkit? And is this the right time and the right government for this move? I am not yet convinced.
02/27/2015 01:07 EST
stockdevil via Getty Images

Canada, Fighting Tuberculosis Is Everyone's Responsibility

As a founding partner and the only major donor, Canada committed to the Stop TB Partnership, and contributed a five-year grant of $120 million to the TB REACH initiative in 2010. Unfortunately, TB REACH is now under threat. New Democrats are alarmed by indications that the Canadian government has decided not to renew its funding to TB REACH past 2016.
02/05/2015 05:42 EST
Fuse via Getty Images

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

In September, I was granted my request for an emergency debate in the House of Commons to address the Ebola crisis. Unfortunately the Canadian government's response to date has been scattered and slow. Only a fraction of the protective equipment donation announced a month ago has actually made it to Africa, while health workers there are at risk because they have run out of face masks and gloves. What was heralded as a promising Ebola vaccine developed in Canada has taken too long to get to clinical trials and it will be months before it is available in affected communities.
10/21/2014 12:37 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Conservatives Need To Stop Attacking Canada's NGOs

The words "enabling environment for civil society" must mean something different to Minister Paradis than they do to the rest of us. His message does not reconcile with the Harper government's methodical actions to silence progressive civil society organizations with a disturbing combination of funding cuts, reputation assassination and appropriation of government agencies for their intimidation scheme.
05/23/2014 12:33 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS

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

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. It's not as though the money is not available; we are nearing the end of the fiscal year, and last year the Conservatives allowed nearly $300 million of the aid budget to lapse. South Sudan is supposed to be a priority country for Canada.
03/12/2014 05:27 EDT
Shutterstock

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

Deaths as a result of unsafe abortions are preventable. Unfortunately, the Canadian government has no intention of saving women's lives through the provision of access to safe abortion services. The government will not fund safe abortion services in its overseas initiatives, as part of Canada's contribution to the 2010 Muskoka Initiative on maternal and child health. In addition, they also refuse to provide funding to organizations that would give women and girls referrals to safe abortion services. Canada's refusal to fund abortion services, even in cases of rape as a weapon of war and for young women and girls in early and forced marriage, is unacceptable. The WHO clearly states that in countries where there are few restrictions on the availability of safe abortion services, deaths and illness are dramatically reduced.
10/29/2013 12:44 EDT

International Development Should Not Happen Behind Closed Doors

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 to be made quietly and behind closed doors, with no public scrutiny.
10/08/2013 12:34 EDT
AP

Canada Must Improve Corporate Responsibility Overseas

The shock felt by Canadians following the recent tragedy in Bangladesh shows that we, as a country, care deeply about the welfare of others. In the wake of this tragedy, the NDP has called for stronger corporate accountability rules. Action to strengthen corporate accountability for Canadian companies operating and contracting work overseas is well overdue.
05/17/2013 12:36 EDT