Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Matthew Usherwood/The Canadian Press
"Where’s Canada’s voice to protest this decision?"
Chris Wattie / Reuters
Whoever takes charge of the party should think about whether Hélène Laverdière is the right person to keep Canadian foreign policy decision-makers accountable.
Spencer Platt via Getty Images
Not only did Canada vote against starting negotiations for a nuclear weapons ban treaty this fall, but now that the international community is moving ahead with the negotiations beginning March 27, Canada is boycotting them. The Liberals have given three different excuses, but none of them make much sense.
If we really want to support women and really want to be known as a feminist nation, then we need to work hand-in-hand with women and fund their work. We would welcome an announcement for this in the federal budget this week. But for this to happen, it would take courage and vision - not just rhetoric.
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.
Stoyan Nenov / Reuters
Liberals say they will review the directive.
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.
The minister says he raised human rights issues behind closed doors.
Shutterstock / melis
PM asked if he was kept "in the dark" on the export permits for the Saudi arms deal.
Shutterstock / Nzescapes
According to the open letter of protest by HELEM Montreal, an LGBT rights group focusing on the Lebanese and Arabic-speaking community, three restaurants in Canada are hosting Mohamad Eskandar, a Lebanese singer noted for his homophobic and sexist songs.
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.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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.
Khaled Hasan via Getty Images
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.
CHARLES LOMODONG via Getty Images
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.
Sumaya Agha/Mercy Corps
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.
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.
stockdevil via Getty Images
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Conservative government has made the promotion and protection of human rights an integral part of Canadian foreign policy. Canadians expect their government to be a leader in the human rights field by reflecting and promoting Canadian values on the international stage. Venezuela should be no different.
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.
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.
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). CIDA's mandate of poverty reduction is distinct from the mandate of DFAIT, which is to promote Canada's interests abroad. The merger of these departments must be done without watering down CIDA's mandate.
The Harper government would do well to learn from the approach of the Conservative government in the United Kingdom which, in a difficult economic situation, has made the laudable commitment not to cut its aid budget. Scaling back our development assistance is, frankly, out of step with Canadian values.
In the passionate exchange on the role of the Government of Canada via CIDA in Africa between the NDP MP and the Minister of International Cooperation, I side with Julian Fantino in what I think is best for Africa. These days, Africans are more occupied with trade and economical opportunities rather than handouts as often advocated by the NDP.