My conversation with Sierra Leone shows once again that there is much work to be done, and that international community must urgently step-up its response. Canada can and must do more to help the people of West Africa, and must turn its announcements into commitments on the ground. As the United Nations said, a humane world cannot allow Africa to suffer on such an extraordinary scale.
Kirsty Duncan is the Liberal member of parliament for Etobicoke North and the Canadian Minister of Science. She was an Associate Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto and the former Research Director for the AIC Institute of Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management. Ms. Duncan sat on the Advisory Board for Pandemic Flu for the Conference Board of Canada, and the University of Toronto, and has helped organizations throughout Canada and the United States prepare for a possible flu pandemic. Ms. Duncan sat on the boards of the Indigenous Cooperative on the Environment, the Scottish Studies Foundation, the St. Andrew's Society of Toronto, and the Toronto Foundation for School Success. She co-chaired the 2006 Fraser Mustard Awards Gala in support of student nutrition and in October 2007, she chaired "Feeding Toronto's Hungry Students Week". Ms. Duncan holds a doctorate in geography from the University of Edinburgh.
Will the Government of Canada make a second humanitarian contribution to South Sudan to avoid yet another human catastrophe? Moreover, given that nutrition is one of the key pillars of the Every Woman Every Child Initiative, it is counterproductive to wait until South Sudan is classified as a severe famine before intervening.
10/17/2014 05:06 EDT
October 11th marks the International Day of the Girl Child, a day to promote the rights of girls and address the unique challenges they face. It will also mark the 179th day since more than 270 Nigerian girls were awakened by gunfire and kidnapped from their Chibok boarding school by Boko Haram.
10/11/2014 11:54 EDT
Will the government show leadership in responding to this deadly outbreak and offer help needed to contain and control it, including much needed field hospitals and other equipment? And will the Government consider deploying more health care specialists and armed forces personnel in collaboration with the U.S. to face the outbreak?
09/24/2014 12:32 EDT
South Sudan, the world's youngest country, did not mark its third anniversary on July 9 by celebrating, but by struggling to survive what the United Nations (UN) recently described as one of the gravest humanitarian and political crises in the world's history. The question that begs to be asked is will the Canadian Government now provide a second round of humanitarian funding? Thousands of children are at risk of dying this year.
07/14/2014 05:33 EDT
Self-congratulations and blanket statements of support are not helping the children of CAR, who face crimes against humanity and war crimes. What we do now or fail to do will have an impact on society for years to come, and we will be judged on how we choose to act.
06/26/2014 01:23 EDT
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.
06/25/2014 12:52 EDT
Frustrated Canadians living with eating disorders, families and health practitioners also want to have a greater presence at government and the Mental Health Commission discussion tables. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders. Women with anorexia are 12 times more likely to die than women of the same age without the condition.
05/08/2014 05:37 EDT
Will the Government send a high-level Canadian Government representative to South Sudan (and/or in coordination of other international actors as part of a delegation) to demonstrate that Canada is taking the conflict seriously, and will not accept the status quo?
05/01/2014 05:50 EDT
Will Canada support the organization and monitoring of fair and free elections that will take place in one year? CAR must not become another Rwanda. As the Government considers what action to take, it must remember that what we do now or fail to do will have an impact on CAR society for years to come, and we will be judged on how we choose to act.
04/25/2014 08:00 EDT
Will the Government of Canada support the threatened peace talks in Addis Ababa by offering mediators to the warring parties and other stakeholders? Will it support civil society coalitions, which are working for reconciliation inside South Sudan? If the violence does not stop, South Sudan could slip further into ethnic conflict.
04/09/2014 05:30 EDT
Youth leaders ask tough questions: what studies of the RCMP's "Bias-Free Policing policy" have been, or are being undertaken, to ensure that no bias does exist? Do mothers feel their children's deaths were considered less important because of their background, and do they believe the investigations into their children's deaths were treated the same as other victims?
03/28/2014 06:20 EDT
The international community must strengthen its efforts to work towards a political solution to the Syrian civil war. It cannot afford to lose focus, as the children of Syria cannot afford another year of suffering, another year without education, healthcare, and protection. There are no enemy children, and we must do whatever it takes to save lives.
03/14/2014 12:41 EDT
While the UN Security Council holds urgent talks and Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon urges dialogue to resolve the Ukraine crisis, other areas of crisis fall to the back pages of newspapers. Yet, four level-three emergencies are currently affecting children: the Central African Republic, the Philippines, South Sudan, and Syria. The three conflicts are claiming lives and childhoods.
03/06/2014 05:23 EST
Canadians may be shocked to learn that there are no long-term, publicly-funded residential care facilities in Canada. Wait times for treatment are so long that many Canadians with eating disorders are forced to go abroad for private health care, and return with little follow-up care. It is time that a national eating disorders awareness and education campaign be launched, and that Canada develop a national strategy to address these serious mental health conditions, including early diagnosis and access to the full range of necessary care, a national registry, and a robust research program.
02/27/2014 12:41 EST
A total of 2.3-million children are at risk of becoming victims of attacks, and there are more than 6,000 child soldiers in CAR, many of whom are forced to commit atrocities. And sexual violence against girls is increasing. These attacks against children have reached appalling, indefensible levels. Surely Canada can, and must, do more beyond this week's announcement of an additional $5 million.
02/18/2014 05:46 EST
The United Nations ranks the Central African Republic a level three emergency, among the top three humanitarian emergencies globally. The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are concerned about the lack of awareness of this crisis. What can the government do to raise awareness of the crisis in the international community and at home in Canada?
02/12/2014 12:29 EST
Canadians should know that early and forced marriage is not just an issue of developing countries. For example, recently there were 100 documented cases in Ontario, involving young girls who left Canada and were forced to marry. We need real action, an area where this government often stumbles badly.
02/08/2014 11:45 EST
As we gather with family and friends across our great country to celebrate the end of 2013, and as we look forward to a more hopeful 2014, let this be a New Year focused on Canadians, and not on political drama and scandal. And let parliamentarians work to ensure a brighter future for all women in Canada. Women's help and ideas are needed to see what Canada can do better to increase the participation of women in our economy, to ensure their health and safety and that of their children, and to build a better life for all Canadians.
01/09/2014 05:13 EST
At this time of year, when many Canadians are about to make a child's Christmas a little brighter, a senior federal Minister had to apologize for insensitive remarks about child poverty. Canadians sho...
01/03/2014 11:55 EST
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