For the past two weeks of school vacation, many Canadian children have enjoyed lingering in bed in the mornings, snuggled under the covers. But for children forced from their homes by violence in Syria and Iraq, warm blankets are more than a holiday luxury. On some mornings, it's just too cold to leave their beds.
How likely are we to see a true paradigm shift -- one that recognizes the shared sustainable development challenges all countries and people face? What does this look like in practice? And what does it really mean for Canada?
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.
Canada is the only G7 country that doesn't have a publicly-owned, profit-driven development finance institution (DFI) that can help private business invest in jobs, growth and markets in low-income countries. We're not just missing an opportunity to raise people out of poverty: we're also missing a chance to build Canadian business while earning returns for Canada's stretched taxpayers.
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.
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.
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.