The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “child and maternal health

Credit Due

Posted on December 22, 2010

Just in time for Christmas, Stephen Harper and the UN Secretary General have opted to give the world a gift that has some goodness and purpose in it. Last week, Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of a special commission designed to push those nations that made commitments to child and women’s health to keep up their end of the bargain. All too often promises made at G8 and G20 summits chronically under-deliver, but with maternal health showing the worst advancement of all the Millennium Development Goals, the Secretary General believed it needed some serious work and follow-up. His selection of the Canadian PM to co-chair the commission along with President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, is an attempt to throw a lifeline out to the entire…

500 Year-old Problems

Posted on May 18, 2010

Finally, a realistic approach.  In an op-ed in today’s National Post, development observers Brett House and Desiree McGraw effectively said “enough already.” Reminding all of us of the propensity for successive G8 gatherings to make broad and expansive promises that they likely will never attain, they stake out a clear challenge to simply fulfill the promises already made in past years rather than raising the bar even higher with no hope of completion. Neither of the authors of the piece are lightweights. McGraw is a professor of international development at McGill University and former senior policy analyst in the CIDA minister’s office, while House is the Senior Macroeconomist at the Earth Institute, Columbia University and former Principal Advisor to the present United Nations Secretary…

Getting Past The Promises

Posted on April 28, 2010

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Canada’s hosting of this year’s G8 and G20 summits has placed a significant amount of pressure on the Harper government to show clear leadership at a time when international development in poorer countries is more required than ever.  When the Prime Minister announced that child and maternal health would form the subject of that leadership, many were heartened that a subject long-neglected would finally get due attention. The meetings here in Halifax this week provided International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda with an opportunity to move other G8 partners towards a clear consensus on how to move ahead on the file in time for the official meetings in a few weeks in Ontario. For Oda though, there is one elephant in…

A Clear Answer But A Present Danger

Posted on April 27, 2010

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – As I arrived at the G8 Development Ministers summit here today, protestors were still making their sentiments felt from a small park across from the hotel. It was an eclectic group, comprised of critics for financial transactions, trade reform, and workers rights organizations. One group apparently came to life later in the afternoon after the government’s parliamentary secretary for International Development rose during Question Period and stated firmly that his government would in no way fund abortions in its G8 child and maternal health initiative as part of its CIDA funding. This marked the first time the Harper Conservatives had disclosed that abortion was excluded. By the time news of that pronouncement reached the protestors here in Halifax it pumped…

Mile Wide, Inch Deep – A Sunday Read

Posted on March 28, 2010

This past October, I completed a book on the personal story of a woman in Darfur, whose entire life was turned repeatedly upside down whenever Western governments made “moral” edicts on those perpetrating the violence in that troubled region of the world.  Actions such as the indictment of the Sudanese President by the International Criminal Court inevitably meant more tragedy for the woman in the story.  The book concluded by stating that it remains unfair for us to make moral declarations when in reality we aren’t there on the ground to assist the woman whose life is inevitably endangered by our pronouncements. That conclusion came to my mind again a few weeks ago as the debate on child and maternal health swirled around Parliament…

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