Blog and Commentary

Sunday, October 5, 2014
Today at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Geneva, I was bound to intervene in my role as Special Representative on Gender Issues, during the Session on New Security Challenges: the Role of Parliaments, Human Dimensions.

The gist of my intervention focused on human rights abuses against women and young girls in Syria. Perhaps the most heinous ‎practice by jihadists and Islamic extremist groups who flourish under the Assad regime is the use of rape as a strategy of terrorism.

‎There are an alarming number of female headed households in Syria and in refugee camps since the men have either been killed or gone to fight. A woman or girl who is raped becomes triply victimised: by the rape, the shunning, and forced marriage.

Culturally a girl who has been raped dishonour her...
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The untimely passing of Jim Deva‎ leaves a large void in Vancouver’s LGBTTQ community. Jim was an activist, but more than that, he was a fighter. He never gave ground on principles concerning equality and social justice.
 
To say that Jim was the champion of equal rights for his community would only understate Jim's contribution to Canadian society as a whole. He was an instrument of change that impacted everyone across the nation.
 
I remember when I first met Jim. It was in 1993. I was a rookie politician, running against Kim Campbell in Vancouver Centre on a platform of ‎equality for LGBTTQ Canadians. Everyone said I had to talk to Jim Deva. He educated me about the blatant...
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Last night, hundreds of Canadians gathered in Toronto to celebrate the Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien’s 50 years of public service. How many politicians can make such a claim? It is not his longevity alone that is worth celebrating; Mr. Chrétien’s contribution to Canada's history, the legacy that he left behind, is extraordinary by any measure.
 
As Canada’s Minister of Justice, he negotiated a then-controversial Charter of Rights and Freedoms with provinces, territories, and with federal opposition parties. In this role, he demonstrated profound skills of leadership, of compromise, and of finding common ground. Today, that Charter is the gold standard by which many countries gauge a democratic balance between legislation and the rights of the people against arbitrary whims of governments.
 
When serving as Minister of...
Friday, December 6, 2013

NELSON MANDELA'S GREATEST gift to the world is to show that it is possible for humans to end centuries of hate, to reconcile, and deliver peace.

Friday, November 2, 2012

 

Thank you for your all your e-mails, Tweets, Facebook questions and phone calls concerning the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) between the governments of Canada and China recently tabled by the Conservative government.
 
The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) raises an array of serious concerns. While the Liberal Party is not opposed to trade agreements in general, this particular agreement requires greater public scrutiny and review.
 
A Liberal motion at the Standing Committee on International Trade resulted in a single-hour briefing on FIPA, which raised more questions than answers.
 
In light of these questions, Liberals call for an open and transparent process to examine FIPA and its implications for Canada. We are concerned about the following:
 
Transparency:
 
Since 2004, all FIPAs have allowed hearings and documents to be made publicly available. This one does not. Public disclosure is in Canada’s best interest. Why the concession to China’s demand for total secrecy?
 
FTAs have always been preceded by an economic impact assessment. None was undertaken or attempted prior to this tabling of this agreement. In effect, we do not know whether the agreement will benefit Canada because the government...
Thursday, October 18, 2012

While the national media attention over Amanda Todd's tragic suicide, shone the light, as it were, on the insidious and dangerous effects of bullying, let's hope it’s not just a 24 hour story. Sadly, Amanda's death is not a lone incident.  

Evidence shows that the incidence of suicide and death caused by bullying has risen alarmingly over the last decade. Canada has now one of the highest rates of bullying, ranking 9th out of 35 countries. Evidence also shows that there are life-long mental and physical effects on those bullied and that bullies often have a history of abuse and low self-esteem. So bullying is not a "childhood rite of passage"; it is a chronic problem.
 
In the age of the Internet, bullying is not limited to youth. It is now a powerful tool used by...

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