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Kirsty Duncan, MP

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Letter to Ministers Baird and Paradis regarding Central African Republic (CAR)

Posted on July 7, 2014 | No Comments
The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.

 

Dear Ministers Baird and Paradis,

I am writing to you in order to (1) highlight that renewed Central African Republic (CAR) fighting is displacing thousands of civilians, (2) focus attention on the plight of children in CAR, and (3) ask how “the government will respond expeditiously in support of the new UN mission”, as the Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs stated on June 16 in the House of Commons.

As I am sure you are both aware, thousands of people are fleeing new violence and reprisal attacks in and around the town of Bambari in CAR, and that the security situation remains volatile. There are fears that the cycle of revenge will pick up again soon, as tension has been at “boiling point” in Bambari since May, when widespread fighting displaced more than 13,000 people.

As you know, over 140,000 people have been killed in CAR to date; 80 per cent of the Muslim population has been driven from their homes or murdered. The fighting has left 2.5 million people needing humanitarian aid. The children of CAR continue to witness terrible violence, and the number of children being treated for severe malnutrition in the capital has tripled since January. This year, UNICEF and partners have already secured the release of more than 1,000 children from armed groups or more than five times the number of children released in 2013.

As you know, on April 10, 2014, the United Nations Security Council at last adopted a resolution to authorize the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation of almost 12,000 by September 2014 to build on the work of the African Union-led International Support Mission in CAR, French forces, and the EU forces that have joined them. We should all be asking whether the number of peacekeepers enough? Is September too late for these forces to make a significant difference? Canadians and the international community are asking where Canada’s voice has gone on UN peacekeeping and the responsibility to protect. For five months, I have repeatedly asked what more the government could do to provide humanitarian aid, reduce the violence, rebuild civil society, and support peace and reconciliation in CAR? And we have repeatedly asked about Canada’s potential participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR.

On June 16, I again asked the Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs: “Will the parliamentary secretary confirm tonight whether Canada will provide such peacekeeping support, and what kind?”

For the first time, the government provided a somewhat clearer answer regarding support for the UN mission: “The UN team was recently on the ground in the Central African Republic to finalize the operational planning for MINUSCA. Based on this recent assessment, the UN will begin to ask member states to support the specific needs of this mission. Based on these needs, our government will decide on how Canada can best contribute to that mission. As we have already stated publicly, Canada will not be sending companies or infantry troops of the Canadian Armed Forces. However, there are other ways in which we can and will support the UN mission and the overall objective of ending the conflict in the Central African Republic. As we did when the EU mission was established in December, the government will respond expeditiously in support of the new UN mission.”

Exactly in what other ways will the government support the UN mission? What options are being considered? Will the government provide additional, non-budgetary, assistance beyond its assessed and financial contributions? Will Canada send specialized military assets and will it help build the capacity of Francophone African peacekeepers as we did in Mali? Our allies — and not just France, the UK, and the US — are stepping up by taking a more active role in CAR. For example, Germany has authorized the deployment of up to 80 troops, air transport, and a hospital plane to support the EU’s efforts; it has ruled out the use of German forces in combat.

It is time that Canadians are told how Canada will be supporting the UN peacekeeping mission, as what we do now or fail to do will have an impact on society for years to come, and we will be judged on how we choose to act.

 

Yours truly,

 

Kirsty Duncan

Member of Parliament, Etobicoke North

Letter to Minister Paradis regarding Global Partnership for Education

Posted on June 24, 2014 | No Comments
The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development
Place du Centre, 12th Floor
200 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0G4

 

Dear Minister Paradis,

As the Liberal Critics for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, we are writing to you to ask that the Government of Canada take a leadership role and make a robust pledge at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) pledging conference on June 25-26, in Brussels.

As Liberals, we believe in the transformational power that education can play in the lives of children. Education is widely recognized as the foundation for the long-term success of a host of development goals, including health, nutrition, gender equality, economic stability, and peace and security. Simply put, education is an essential investment in the future of individuals, communities and nations.

Furthermore, we believe that the GPE is an effective vehicle for this investment.  The Partnership has a proven track-record of strengthening education systems in order to increase access to quality, basic education in 59 developing countries.  Since 2003 the Partnership has helped educate more than 22 million children and increased the number of children completing primary education in conflict-affected and fragile states by 16 percent.

While significant progress has been made in increasing access to education, there is still much work to be done.  Currently,  57 million children are deprived of education, many of whom live in fragile or conflict-affected states such as Syria, Mali and Afghanistan.  In addition, if we maintain current trends, it will be 70 years before every girl around the world has access to a quality basic education.  This is unacceptable.

Ongoing United Nations global surveys show that education remains a top development priority, yet there is a funding crisis in the sector. Globally, Official Development Assistance (ODA) to education has fallen 10 percent since 2010, which is 7 times faster than overall decreases in aid.  At home, Canadian ODA to the education sector has fallen faster than any OECD country.

Recently released data by UNESCO showed a US$627 million decline to basic education funding between 2011 and 2012.  Much of these cuts were to the lowest income counties and those with the highest populations of out-of-school children. Even in humanitarian crises –where we know that education can be vital for stability and hope for the future –assistance to education has fallen to only 1.4% of humanitarian aid.

Given these recent shortcomings, we hope the Global Partnership for Education’s upcoming replenishment conference will act as a call to action to halt the decline of aid to education that is putting the significant gains we have made at risk. We support GPE’s call for a global $3.5 billion investment in the GPE Fund, which will help leverage $16 billion in domestic resources. We also support the Education Cannot Wait call for 4 percent of humanitarian assistance to be allocated to education. Finally, we support the call for a data revolution in the education sector that is essential to ensure sound policy and good governance of education systems that have equity, results and efficiency at their core.

As you may know, Canada has long supported bilateral aid to education and continues to show leadership on the GPE board and committees. We would like to encourage you to recognize the essential role that education plays in achieving development goals by increasing Canada’s investment to $120 million (2015-2018).  This modest investment could have a dramatic impact on the lives of approximately 29 million girls and boys in 66 countries, including 23 million children in fragile and conflict-affected states.  A fully financed GPE will also work to increase the primary completion rate of girls, to decrease repetition and drop-out, and to dramatically increase learning outcomes in reading and numeracy skills.

Minister Paradis, with only two weeks remaining until the Global Partnership for Education’s replenishment conference, we urge the Canadian government to take leadership on this foundational issue by making a bold set of commitments for 2015-2018.

Thank you for your consideration

Sincerely,

 

Kirsty Duncan                                                              Marc Garneau

M.P. for Etobicoke North                                          M.P. for Westmount – Ville-Marie

Liberal Critic for International Development        Liberal Critic for Foreign Affairs

Letter to Minister Paradis on the Abduction of Nigerian Schoolgirls

Posted on June 20, 2014 | No Comments
The Honourable Christian Paradis, P.C., M.P.
Minister for La Francophonie, Minister of International Development
Place du Centre, 12th Floor
200 Promenade du Portage
Mail Stop:MIN
Gatineau, Quebec

K1A 0G4

Dear Minister Paradis,

Hello and warm wishes.

 I am writing to you for an up-date on Canada’s contribution to helping find the kidnapped Nigerian school girls.

 Like all Canadians, I am heartbroken about the abduction of the school girls; I cannot begin to imagine how frightened they are. My thoughts and prayers are with the girls, their anguished families and communities, and the people of Nigeria who want to bring their daughters home.

 As you know, the clock began ticking April 14th, when the 276 girls were abducted from their dormitories. Two months have now passed, and 219 girls remain missing. The more time passes the greater the risk, including the girls being sold into marriage or engaged in the worst forms of child labor, sexual exploitation and violence and recruitment into armed groups.

 As the House rises for the summer, I ask that you up-date Canadians on the search for the missing girls, what Canada is contributing to the search, and what we can do to support the government’s efforts. In these girls, we see all our children, their hopes and their dreams, and our hearts ache.

 What specific resources has Canada sent to Nigeria to help search for the school girls, when was each resource “on the ground”, until what date will each resource stay, what is the monetary value of Canada’s contribution, and are supplementary requests expected or required?

In addition, I continue to hear from Canadians across the country who want to know whether or not Canada was invited to the Paris Summit to boost the search for the Nigerian school girls, and whether their country attended or not, and if not, why not?

In closing, let us all work together to push for more action, both nationally and internationally, regarding this brutal act of violence, this crime, this terror attack. And let us take whatever steps we can to ensure that the girls are returned to their families unharmed, and that they and all girls in Nigeria can continue their education in a safe environment.

Yours truly,

Kirsty Duncan

 Member of Parliament, Etobicoke North

 

Question on the Central African Republic

Posted on June 19, 2014 | No Comments

 

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Adjournment proceeding on CAR

Posted on June 17, 2014 | No Comments

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Question on Northern Gateway

Posted on June 16, 2014 | No Comments

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Liberals hold roundtable on potential role for Canada in South Sudan and Central African Republic conflicts

Posted on June 13, 2014 | No Comments

                      RELEASE Liberals hold roundtable on potential role for Canada in South Sudan and Central African […]

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Petition on Eating Disorders

Posted on June 13, 2014 | No Comments

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Adjournment Proceeding on South Sudan

Posted on June 13, 2014 | No Comments

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Question on 20 Kidnapped Nigerian Women

Posted on June 11, 2014 | No Comments

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