The deceased grandfather of Nikashant Antane, a young Innu man, came to him in a dream and said, “Get up and help your people.” So Antane, also called Michel Andrew but known in his community as “Giant,” started walking to raise awareness about diabetes in Innu settlements and to reconnect Innu youth with Nutshimi, the country. Continue Reading
Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry criminal industry in the world. The International Labour Organization estimates that criminals make a profit of almost US$ 32 billion per year from trafficking, mainly from sexual exploitation.
Although trafficking is commonly identified with Asia or Eastern Europe, the domestic aspect of the problem is mostly absent from current discourses on sex trafficking in Canada. Up to 60% of prostituted women are aboriginal girls, and more than 75% of aboriginal girls under the age of 18 have been sexually abused. Since 1980, over 500 aboriginal women have disappeared, presumably murdered or involved in sexual exploitation. Continue Reading
Targeted, effective, accountable. These are the seemingly notable goals behind the dramatic reforms made in the last two years to the way Canada finances development assistance. The changes follow decades of calls from domestic and international think tanks to reform the old system, which gave a little slice of the pie to almost anyone who asked.
In the 1990s, Canada was operating in over 135 countries on a wide variety of issues, making it hard to gauge effectiveness or achieve large-scale results.
“All of the reforms are consistent with what the donor and NGO community have been telling CIDA for years – that it was too scattered and too top heavy,” says Stephen Baranyi, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies. So why is that same donor and NGO community up in arms over the results? Continue Reading
The creation of the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (CPCCA) in 2009 sparked debate over the meaning and implications of the “new anti-Semitism.” Critics wonder where the line will be drawn between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism. The coalition was formed to confront and combat anti-Semitism in Canada. According to the CPCCA “new anti-Semitism” is exemplified by individuals and governments who call for the destruction of the State of Israel and its inhabitants.
The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) is among organizations that support the CPCCA. In its submission to the committee they wrote that “anti-Semitism may now no longer speak of a goal to make a country cleansed of Jews but instead it may aim for a world that is cleansed of a Jewish State.”
Independent Jewish Voices (IPV), on the other hand, regards the views endorsed by CPCCA and its supporters as problematic because they conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Israeli sentiment. Continue Reading
Several Canadians have, for one reason or another, been captured or imprisoned abroad. These include Amanda Lindhout, Brenda Martin, Mohamed Kohail, Huseyin Celil, Abousfian Abdelrazik, Bashir Makhtal, Ratnarajah Thusiyanthan, and Suaad Hagi Mohamud.
The government has intervened in the cases of Martin, Kohail, Celil, Makhtal, but has been reluctant to help in others.
When Abousfian Abdelrazik was imprisoned in Sudan in 2003 and again in 2005, the government refused his repatriation, even after his release, because of alleged ties to terrorism (he is the only Canadian on the UN no-fly list). He was returned to Canada in 2009, after the Federal Court ordered the government to provide him assistance.
Suaad Hagi Mohamud made headlines in 2009 when a Canadian embassy official in Kenya declared her an imposter and she was jailed and charged. She was granted bail, and then returned to Canada after the government was pressured into doing a DNA test that confirmed she is who she says she is. Continue Reading
Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 1.)
In June 2006, Canada was one of only two countries on the UN’s Humans Rights Council to vote against the adoption of a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration was also opposed by Canada, along with the United States, Australia and New Zealand, on Sept. 13, 2007 when it passed the UN General Assembly 143-4.
After years of Canadian participation in working groups creating the draft document, the votes were a dramatic reversal that stunned the international community and disappointed native groups in Canada.
The reasons for the government’s opposition to the convention were provided by the head of Canada’s delegation to the UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Paul Meyer, in a letter to the President of the Council on the eve of the 2006 vote. Reflecting the Harper government’s concern that obligations under the agreement are too restrictive of government policy, the main objections are that: Continue Reading