2015 promises to be a transformative year on the international development front and is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on a noteworthy milestone. The United Nations enters its 70th year -- and like some 70-year-olds, the beleaguered UN has found new vigour and relevance in people's lives, with Canada playing a role in some noteworthy accomplishments.
Dear World Leaders, There are moments in history that become turning points. In our view, 2015 will be such a moment. We believe it's just possible that we could end 2015 with a new global compact -- an agreed pathway to a better, safer future for people and planet that will inspire all the citizens of the world. We can choose the path of sustainable development. Which side of history will you be on?
Have you noticed that when politicians in the U.S. and Canada talk about education reform, they say it's what "the economy" needs. They tell us the only way to do that is for schools to produce the kinds of workers that corporations want. Given the fact that there can be no economy without a healthy environment, isn't this focus on what the economy needs a bit short-sighted?
Although the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that every child, everywhere, has the right to survive, grow and be protected from all forms of violence, a new report by UNICEF of 190 countries shows that emotional, physical, and sexual violence is "ever present" in children's lives.
In the 14th century, the Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population -- at the time nearly 100-million people. And then there is Ebola, which has infected over 2,400 and so far killed 1,229. True, this is the largest, most severe outbreak of the disease we have seen, but that doesn't mean this isn't controllable.
In my recent travels and discussions with seasoned foreign policy experts and politicians in the U.S. and Europe, I haven't met one who took Canada seriously anymore, except as a posturer, a poseur, a political game player. Canada is seen as the international equivalent of a Ted Cruz filibuster in the Senate. Is this really the best we can do?
The thuggish Putin thinks that Obama and the U.S. are so weakened, that he had the chutzpah to pen a highly critical Op Ed Piece in the New York Times, criticizing, among other things, America's view of itself as exceptional and unique. And criticizing hypocritically the U.S. for contemplating a military action, when Russia has been supplying arms to Assad to assist his regime in killing and gassing 100,000 of his own people. According to liberal CNN on Wednesday night, all the panellists agreed that Putin's Op Ed piece in the New York Times, was Putin's way of flipping the bird to Obama and the American people. This is what happens to the U.S. when its President leads from behind, or worse.
When we talk about natural resources that can drive economic benefit the conversation usually turns to gas and minerals, or sun and wind. What if I were to tell you that the world's most underutilized and highest potential resource is all around us? She may be standing next to you, she may be in a village far away, she may even be you.
This week, plenty of critics took the Harper government to task over its decision to withdraw Canada from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Even though the Conservatives' method of backing out of the convention was typically cowardly and arrogant, it's actually encouraging to see Canada asserting itself as a country grown-up and morally self-assured enough to act as a free agent on these kinds of matters. Given the UN's record, if Canada took the initiative for creating a new framework for principled, voluntary international co-operation, it might be doing the whole world a favour.
This is a larger, more esoteric blog than merely defending my use of North Korea and Canada in the same sentence. But, okay, I am also defending my use of North Korea and Canada in the same sentence. The analogy is that in one context only -- global environmental treaties -- Canada is acting rogue, and since North Korea is the most shocking example of a rogue state, the analogy is to North Korea. Given the challenges of Twitter, I think saying Canada is the North Korea of environmental treaties captures it very well. Not literally true in any respect. But as an analogy, it explains just how shocking Stephen Harper's actions really are.