Last Thursday, Lieutenant General Paul Wynnyk became the commander of the Canadian Army and quickly stated the Canadian Army could possibly deploy troops in Africa. As a matter of fact, according to Wynnyk, a deployment to Africa was imminent. Although many regions in Africa would benefit from having Canadian soldiers on the ground, Mali has been mentioned on many occasions.
I've witnessed the power that water can bring to a community -- not hydroelectricity, but human empowerment. It happens when a single borehole is drilled deep into the ground, and a pump installed. Clean water becomes a source of hydration, refreshment and strength, freeing people up to do great things.
Imagine a life where a saucepan is your most treasured resource. Where having access to a single a garden hoe can make a world of difference to your family's livelihood. Where that family consists of several orphaned grandchildren, many of whom are HIV positive. And you, an elderly grandmother, are their only hope for survival.
Children under five are more at risk -- they account for 70 per cent of all malaria deaths. More than 300,000 children died last year from an illness that's preventable with things as simple as clean water sources. Let's make sure that kids don't have to fight off a disease that racks their bodies with fever, pain and nausea. Let's stop malaria before it bites.
For so long, popular media has, in a sharp but narrow way equated BHM with "slavery"! So much that new African immigrants to the America's like myself have often struggled with seeing their role in the BHM celebrations. Subsequently, this has led to questions and doubt as to where global Africans fit where BHM is concerned.
When organizations like Heart for Africa and Egg Farmers of Canada work with local farmers, the diets and well-being of the local population greatly improve. Establishing a local, sustainable source of eggs is the perfect way to ensure protein and vitamins are incorporated into the diet of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and adults living in developing countries.
To honour Canada's diversity, how about this year we remember some of the victims of that empire? Our racist and colonial past, as well as Canada's role in exploiting people of colour all over the world, must also be included in our remembrance if we are to build a nation of respect for all people -- the essence of real diversity.
Emily was two and a half years old. She was a beautiful blonde toddler with a shy and quiet nature. For most of her life we lived in Niger. I always thought (and I still do) that it was a wonderful place for our children to grow up. I look back on the nine years we spent in Niger as among the happiest years of my life. I vividly remember the afternoon we spent relaxing at the pool of the old French club. Emily was full of life -- jumping and splashing in the pool with all the others. We went to church on the Sunday evening in a nearby village the night before she died.
Canadian policy in Africa can be summed up in nine words: Do what is good for Canadian-owned mining companies. Despite rhetoric about aid to the poorest people in the world, the Harper Conservatives have worked assiduously to ensure that Canadian corporations profit from Africa's vast mineral resources.
The country is known for its endemic corruption, its history of military coups, sectarian violence and fraudulent ''419'' letter schemes. More recently, the world has watched in horror as the country battled, mostly unsuccessfully, the brutal jihadist group Boko Haram in a five year conflict that is blamed for the death of 36,000 people, with 16,000 in the last year alone. Despite these challenges, rather most probably because of them, in an election applauded around the world as a victory not only for Nigeria, but for all of Africa, the continent's most populous country, 160 million strong, ejected their incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan. His People's Democratic Party or PDP had ruled the country since 1999.