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April 24, 2009

1. Canada/Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA)Before Parliament


The Canadian government has tabled the Canada/Colombia FTA and its implementation legislation before the House of Commons. Civil society networks in Quebec and throughout Canada are responding to widespread concern that the deal ignores Canada’s human rights obligations and will aggravate the crisis in Colombia. Make Poverty History, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), Canadian churches, the Americas Policy Group, the Council of Canadians and S.O.S Colombie, among others, are launching a week of action from April 27 to May 1 to urge parliamentarians not to pass the deal, and to insist that a human rights impact assessment be done first. A new publication from CCIC will aid deliberations. Making a Bad Situation Worse is an expert analysis of the text of the FTA by CCIC, the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers, the CLC and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Trade can support development and the realization of human rights, but the authors find that neither the political conditions in Colombia, nor the terms of this FTA meet the criteria that would allow that to happen. (news release) (nota informativa)  CCIC trade analyst Gauri Sreenivasan makes these points in an interview (in French) on RDI en direct sur l’économie « Canada-Colombie » (the interview starts at the 19th minute of the broadcast).


2. Summit of the Americas Reveals Fault Lines: CSOs Pose Alternatives


The Fifth Summit of the Americas, held in Trinidad and Tobago April 17-19, highlighted significant differences in the views of countries in the hemisphere. There were disagreements about biofuels, approaches to trade and security, and relationships with Cuba and Venezuela, among other issues. Prior to the Summit, Canada released its long-awaited Americas strategy and CCIC’s Americas Policy Group (APG) released a civil society statement, What Role for Canada in the Americas?. The APG statement highlights the opportunity for Canada to refocus its role in the hemisphere on justice and human rights and presents recommendations for policies in trade and investment, extractive industries, security, and democracy and human rights. CCIC and APG perspectives were covered in mediaincluding The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star, The Windsor Star and The Calgary Herald.  Of particular note: an Op-Ed in Embassy by CCIC President-CEO Gerry Barr (Time for a Grand Gesture to the South), and a CTV Newsnet interview by CCIC trade analyst Gauri Sreenivasan (On Canada’s Role).

3. Civilian Security in Afghanistan


In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the eve of the recent Strasbourg NATO Summit, CCIC President-CEO Gerry Barr urged him to take a leadership role in "promoting measures to increase the safety and protection of civilians caught in the conflict, and in particular those involved with development and humanitarian work inside Afghanistan." A briefing note on civil-military relations in Afghanistan, Aid in the Crosshairs, accompanied the letter.

Upcoming Events

 

4. Charity Law Education Project


Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is currently revising its directives for Canadian registered charities with overseas operations. To help charities better understand the updated requirements of CRA and the obligations of the Income Tax Act (ITA), CCIC is holding workshops across the country in 2009. These workshops are free of charge and offer an excellent opportunity for registered charities to learn about their obligations under the ITA and discuss the challenges involved. The first workshops will be held in Victoria (April 27), Edmonton (April 28), and Regina (April 29). For more information on workshops in your area, dates and registration, see the CCIC website.


5. Investment Treaties and Extractive Industries: Implications for Human Rights and Sustainable Development, May 13-14


This CCIC policy seminar takes place May 13 in Ottawa.  It’s a chance for CCIC members, officials, researchers and others to learn about alternative policy approaches in the South for regulating investment in extractive industries for development outcomes. It will also look at how Canada’s bilateral investment treaty agenda affects and interacts with those Southern approaches. The seminar will feature CSO and government perspectives from a variety of Southern and Canadian contexts, and expert panelists on trade and investment treaties. There will be a half-day meeting May 14 for CCIC members and CSO participants to discuss next steps and share reflections. Click to register, or for more information.


6. Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty –

October 16-18, 2009


In 2006, 23 million, in 2007, 47 million, and last year, 116 million people Stood Up and Took Action. Organizers hope to break the record again this year with the message: achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With just six years to the 2015 deadline for achieving the MDGs, Stand Up will send an urgent message to world leaders: the MDGs must remain a priority on the global political and public agenda. When? From 12 a.m. GMT (relevant local time) on October 16 to 11:59 p.m. GMT (relevant local time) on October 18, 2009. Where? Wherever there are people who want to be involved in the fight against poverty and support the achievement of the MDGs. What? Stand Up, Take Action, End Poverty Now! For more information or to register your event, click here.


7. HIV in Marriage – Canadian Première


Action Canada for Population and Development, in partnership with the African and Caribbean Health Network of Ottawa, the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario, the Blueprint for Action on Women and HIV/AIDS, the Canadian AIDS Society, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, presents Population Action International’s latest documentary, The Silent Partner: HIV in Marriage. Through interviews, observations of local experts, and the intimate stories of two women living with HIV, the film challenges the belief that marriage protects women from HIV infection. Screenings in Montreal (April 27), Ottawa (April 28), and Toronto (April 30). Admission is free. To RSVP or for more information, contact Johanne Fillion.

Ethics in a Flash

 

8. Ethics Review Committee

 

CCIC welcomes a new member to its Ethics Review Committee (ERC) and bids farewell to an outgoing member. Lorne Braun from the Canadian Network for International Surgery joins the Committee. Lorne brings many years of experience working with various CSOs and networks in Canada and overseas. He joins sitting members John Williams, Joey Hartman, Susan Murdoch and Susan Quinn. Leaving the Committee is Mark Blumberg from Canadian Crossroads International. CCIC is grateful for the strong contribution Mark has provided to the ethics program, particularly the recent update of the Code of Ethics. The next meeting of the ERC is scheduled for May 8-9 and your questions about ethical practice in your organizations are welcomed.  Information about the CCIC ethics program, including short bios of each Committee member, is available on the CCIC website.


9. Draft 2 of Code of Ethics Revision Now Available


Over the last year, the Ethics Review Committee has been reviewing the CCIC Code of Ethics to clarify and simplify its structure and to update areas as needed. Feedback on a first draft, provided by the CCIC Board of Directors in December and by members during the February member meetings, helped the Committee in this process. A second draft of the Code of Ethics and Operational Standards has now been sent to all members and is available on the CCIC website. Further comments are invited. Send them by email before April 30 for the Committee to review at its next meeting. A final proposed update will go to the CCIC AGM in May.

Flash is a members only publication. CCIC members, however, are encouraged to forward Flash to their staff, board, regional offices, Southern partners and volunteers. If you have an item for Flash, send it by e-mail to Peter Puxley at ppuxley@ccic.ca. Please note that Flash items should be no longer than one paragraph.

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