The number of Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries is expected to reach two million in the coming weeks. Approximately half of these human beings are children. In some ways, helping the Syrian refugee children is remarkably simple. But what do you offer a child who wakes screaming in the middle of the night, reliving a rocket attack on his house?
Amani may know nothing about the trillions of dollars' worth of minerals hiding beneath the ground of her country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). But she may reap the benefits of her country's mineral wealth in the future, thanks to a new Canadian G8 commitment announced by Harper in London last week.
Stephen Harper's decision to protect those who use international tax havens to evade paying their taxes is inexplicable and unacceptable. Canadian companies should be good global citizens paying their fair share of taxes in countries where they operate, not hiding behind tax shelters and shell companies. After all, tax evasion is hurting the Canadian economy as well -- one estimate puts the cost at $7.8 billion per year, or slightly more than the amount the government will spend on infrastructure in First Nations communities over the next decade. Yet the government will not even provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with the data necessary to calculate an official figure.
A tax haven (or "fiscal paradise" in french) seems like a benign, if rampant, breach of the law. It's just a matter of shifting money around, right? Except when a secret company/tax haven is used to shield the activities of a notorious African dictator. Suddenly, the mysterious offshore world no longer seems so harmless.
All too often, the Conservatives designate a minister with little knowledge of a file to defend it against opposition attacks. Quite often this is done by one of their attack dogs. Other than the present administration, I don't recall that happening under previous Liberal or Conservative governments.