Every day, the news through all its venues reaches us with increasing calls to humanity to rise to the occasion and effect change. Our great danger is the temptation to move from one issue to another, like a stone skipping over a quiet pond, instead of sticking to our original commitments, seeing them through to the end. Just such a cause occurred 842 days ago, when the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram captured 276 Nigerian schoolgirls, dragging them off into captivity and the kinds of horror that are too easy to imagine.
It's not surprising that young people are Canada's most active volunteers, representing about 66 per cent of those who give their time for a cause. Time is, after all, on their side. But our country's volunteering numbers might surprise you. In 2013, 4 out of 10 Canadians volunteered, putting in 1,957,000,000 total hours. This week, National Volunteer Week, we celebrate them, while also asking: How do they do it?
My life's story has led me on this path to wanting to make access to decent, empowering work available to women through the acquisition of tradeable skills. Decent employment for women is the main escape route out of poverty in Africa, and it strengthens the link between economic growth and aggregate poverty reduction.
Canada's energy sector service and equipment exporters are in for tough times, and cash flows for oil and gas exporters will tighten significantly. This is already beginning to spill red ink on Canada's trade and fiscal statistics. However, Canada's non-energy sector exporters should see a substantial boost.
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.
Here in Canada, where more than 81 per cent of us now live in urban centres, the challenge is how to create successful communities that are safe, healthy and sustainable. Jobs are of course central, but so too is making cities affordable for the majority. In Greater Vancouver, the average house price now exceeds $801,000, a rise of 83 per cent in the past decade.
Optimism resides in Nigeria, despite the potential horrors of Ebola's global spread. Why so? As of September 23, the Centers for Disease Control has 21 confirmed cases with eight deaths in Nigeria from Ebola. That number is low. This is, in part, because childhood education is essential to the rising Nigerian economy.
The remedy for all ignorance is simple; compassion and education. If you come across a 21st century "alpha" male basking in North American blindness, be kind. They are less-educated in the ways of human behavior, and perhaps it is best to leave them to it. Pick up the torch, speak up, and educate those who are willing to listen. Your voice has power. Never let go of the truth in equal rights.
The clock began ticking April 14, when the 276 girls were abducted from their dormitories. Two months have now passed, and 219 girls remain missing. The more time passes the greater the risk, including the girls being sold into marriage or engaged in the worst forms of child labor, sexual exploitation and violence and recruitment into armed groups.
Freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are rights that are so fundamental to the maintenance of democratic principles of state that it calls for a fervent protection of the rights of atheists and religious persons, alike. The rights of atheists and the rights of religious persons ought not to entail persecution of said persons.
In the United States gruesome murders are common and merit only passing attention. In a shooting spree, also in April, three people were killed at a Jewish community centre near Kansas City. The media did not mention the religion of the accused. Had they been Muslim their religion, and perhaps Muslims in general, would have been maligned.
With every day that passes, the Nigerian schoolgirls could be moving further into dangerous territory of all kinds. Exploitation like the kinds they may be facing can have intensely disturbing effects on a child's social, emotional cognitive and spiritual well-being -- as well as their long-term development.
Cash has been plentiful in emerging markets. Between 2009-2012 as quantitative easing ramped up, there was a massive expansion in borrowing on global bond markets by emerging market (EM) sovereigns, banks and companies. As a result, EM economies are now closely integrated into global debt markets, and thus more affected by actions taken in Developed Markets (DMs), particularly the withdrawal of quantitative easing (QE).
As I write this, the swell of a Western grassroots outcry against the Nigerian outfit, Boko Haram, appears to be forming across social media. There's a specific aspect of war crimes which it is necessary to emphasize, and that's the use of sexualized violence against women as a tool of war. Can we all agree to stop using the phrase "the forcible sale of women into marriage"? Church bells and nuptials this is not. It's profiteering from rape in a triple currency which is simultaneously economic, military and psychological in nature.