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Headlines
September 25, 2009

1. Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Debate


The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was the first order of parliamentary business as parliament opened on September 14.  Debate on the Agreement was taken off the agenda by the close of the week. Civil society organizations are concerned at the apparent abandonment, by the Liberal Party, of the commitment made last May to insist on a full independent human rights impact assessment (HRIA) before proceeding to a vote on implementation. Other opposition parties continued to raise strong objections to the deal given Colombia’s record on human rights. There are strong concerns about impunity in Colombia and an in depth report on attacks on human rights defenders was released just last week by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.


2. End of Canadian Efforts to Ship Affordable Medicine


The last shipment of lower-cost, life-saving AIDS medicines made possible through Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) was sent to Rwanda on September 18. Canada’s largest generic drug manufacturer has indicated it will no longer attempt to use the flawed CAMR because it requires years of work to achieve one single licence authorizing the shipment of a single AIDS drug to a single developing country. There are two private members’ bills currently before parliament (Bill C-393 in the House of Commons and Bill S-232 before the Senate), which aim to streamline CAMR with a simplified “one-licence solution” as proposed by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and many other groups. This past May, over 40 Canadian and international groups marked the 5th anniversary of CAMR by issuing a statement calling for the reform of CAMR.

Upcoming Events

3. Climate Justice Speaking Tour


Bollywood celebrity, Oxfam Ambassador and climate activist Rahul Bose along with Solomon Island teenager and award winning public speaker, Christina Ora  will be touring both the greater Toronto (October 15 to 20) and Vancouver (October 22 to 24) areas calling for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement at the climate summit in Copenhagen later this year.  South Asia will be severely affected by climate change and Canada has failed to propose a vision for supporting adaptation and the adoption of clean energy technology in developing countries.  For information contact Lauren Drainie at Climate Action Network.

4. The Asia-Pacific Working Group Fall Symposium


The “Convergence of Crises: Impacts of the Financial, Food, and Climate Crises in Asia” will be the focus of the Asia-Pacific Working Group” (APWG) Fall Symposium on October 19. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Walden Bello, Senior Analyst at Focus on the Global South and Member of Congress in the Philippines’ House of Representatives. The event will be held at the Best Western Victoria Parks Suites, 377 O’Connor Street, Ottawa. The morning will be a public meeting featuring Dr. Bello and other speakers, the afternoon will be a working meeting of the APWG. For more information see the agenda. Register online by October 12, 2009.


5. Africa-Canada Forum Colloquium – Africa in Canadian Foreign Policy


Africa and the global economic crisis, agriculture, sustainable rural development and CIDA’s priority for food security, and Canada’s role in supporting women’s empowerment will be the issues discussed at the Africa-Canada Forum (ACF) colloquium.   The colloquium will take place October 27 and 28 in Ottawa. For an agenda and to register, contact ACF’s Sylvie Perras.

6. The New Africa – Redrawing the Blueprint for the New Canada-Africa Partnership

 

The New Africa” conference, organized by the Canadian Council for Africa, aims to engage Canadians in a new partnership with Africa. CCIC’s President and CEO, Gerry Barr, will be a guest speaker at the conference to be held in Ottawa October 2 and 3.  For more information see the conference program. Register now at the NGO rate of $325.

Worth Looking At

 

7. Promoting Gender Equality

 

Members of the Informal Working Group on Women’s Rights, organizations committed to women’s rights and gender equality, have produced a civil society response to the evaluation of the implementation of CIDA’s 1999 “Policy on Gender Equality”.  The paper, Strengthening Canada’s International Leadership in the Promotion of Gender Equality, soon to be available on CCIC’s web site, calls for stronger Canadian international leadership in the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality.

Ethics in a Flash

 

8. Dear Ms Ethics

 

Dear Ms Ethics: What, if any, ethical issues are involved if our organization’s resources are used to send Board members to visit overseas programs?  Globetrotter

 

Dear Globetrotter:  Visits to overseas programs could play an educational role for Board members and help establish and strengthen partnerships between organizations.  Trips that are merely development tourism, however, could be very damaging to partnerships and to public perception for how your organization spends money.  An organization definitely should not use overseas visits as a gift for the services of Board members.  Voting members of your governing body are volunteers and serve without compensation.  Receiving any benefit from the organization also takes us into conflict of interest territory.  When the people making the decisions about where to spend an organization’s tight resources also benefit from the trip, the warning flag should go up.  While every case will vary, it is better to have transparent policy guidelines.  They could cover such things as number of trips available per year, selection criteria, maximum expenditure allowed, etc.  The ethical issues to consider include respect for partners, managing conflict of interest situations, responsible governance, transparency and prudent fund management. 

If you have an item for Flash, send it by e-mail to Katia Gianneschi. Please note that Flash items should be no longer than one paragraph.

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