Like political campaign contributions, today’s self-interested foreign aid often supports badly-designed development projects, imposes foreign investor-friendly policies on recipient countries, facilitates access to intended beneficiaries’ resources, helps aid-giving countries to look good on the world stage, all the while making unquestioning taxpayers in aid giving countries feel good about their supposed generosity.
Last week’s decision by an all-white jury to acquit Gerald Stanley, the killer of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, calls for an overhaul of Canada’s settler-based legal system, and an investigation into the racism embedded within Canadian society and police forces.
While many Canadians often associate the continuing rise in white supremacist hate in Canada to US President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, the right-wing extremist movement was already “alive and well” in Canada, “with more than 100 active groups and well over 100 reported incidents of right-wing extremist violence in the country between 1980 and 2015.”
BC’s Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) withheld information confirming that fossil fuel industry fracking operations could contaminate surface waters and groundwater sources, and absolved companies of the responsibility to act responsibly. A public inquiry into fracking in BC must be instituted as soon as possible.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed plan to dismantle net neutrality threatens democracy and the free exchange of ideas and information via the Internet. Even if the FCC votes to repeal net neutrality this week, the fight to save the must continue.
In 1982, the late NDP MP Margaret Mitchell was laughed down by her fellow MPs when she stood in the House of Commons and presented evidence showing that one in 10 men battered their wives in Canada. In 1989, Marc Lepine killed 14 female engineering students at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. Today, every six days, a woman is killed by her intimate partner in Canada.
Canada is a signatory to nearly a dozen international legal instruments upholding human dignity and the rights of Indigenous women. But the agreements have yet to influence the current analysis of nearly 1200 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Canada.
Even though elected politicians, especially those who end up holding cabinet positions, often prioritize corporate interests over those of their electors, David Suzuki still encourages us to overcome political cynicism and participate in the democratic process.