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You don't always get what you want… But sometimes, you do

Early in 2008, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and Status of People with Disabilities (HUMA) initiated a study on the federal role in reducing poverty. Since then, there has been a federal election and Parliament has been prorogued twice. There were times when we wondered if the results of this study would ever see the light of day. Then, last week Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada was released. The publication of the HUMA report seemed a victory in and of itself, but the content has us really excited.

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The Great Turning: A choice for a brighter future

 From Empire to Earth Community Every day we are faced by choices, both trivial and important. However, in our present times it seems increasingly true that we must be aware that nearly every choice we make is an important one. The world is encountering multiple crises every day and there is a growing awareness that if we as a society wish to avoid the destruction these crises seem to be leading us towards we need to choose a new path. David Korten’s book The Great Turning is an examination of this choice.

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Reforming Canada’s refugee policies: Consultation required!

Reforming Canada's refugee policies Refugee policies are complicated, require sensitivity, and stir up much emotion. As a result, it is crucial that the public be involved in the development of such policies to provide various viewpoints and options. But with the recent refugee bill public debate was only held during the amendment process, not in the drafting of the legislation. Eventually all parties and many refugee advocacy organizations accepted the amendments, recognizing that there were some improvements, but still cautious about the prospects for future refugee cases.

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Moving beyond “We’re sorry” to a legacy of change and hope

June 11 marks the second anniversary of the Canadian Government’s apology for the Indian Residential Schools. But an apology by itself is not enough. Forgiveness, reconciliation and the restoration of broken relationships requires a change in behaviour: repentance. In recent months, there have been more promises and actions to restore relations with Aboriginal peoples and the Government of Canada. But is it enough? Taking responsibility for the past can and should inspire significant and lasting change for the future –building a new legacy of change and hope.

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Budget 2010 falls short by staying the course.

The recession has had a tremendous impact on Canadians. Job losses and a faltering safety net have added hundreds of thousands of people to the population of Canadians living in poverty. Economic stimulus and deficit spending are most certainly required to confront this vulnerability. Measures to create and sustain jobs and to build a strong and healthy country are needed. But this cannot be done at the expense of those on the margins, excluded from mainstream society.

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Gerald Vandezande: Canada's Unassuming Prophet

One of CPJ's founders and a recognized name in religious and political circles, Gerald Vandezande's life has been one of faithfulness, commitment and passion. Starting with his humble beginnings, the article outlines some life lessons from this Christian social activist.

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A New Beginning?

June 11 marks the one-year anniversary of the Government of Canada’s apology to First Nations for the attitudes and policies that led to the Indian Residential Schools.

At this significant moment, several questions arise. What difference has the apology made to the lives of Canada’s First Peoples? Have we changed the way that we, as Canadians and as Christians, engage with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters changed? Have we entered a time when Aboriginal peoples are seen and treated as valued members of Canadian society?

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The Real Benefit of Public Services

Little girl learning to write It’s tax time in Canada and people across the country are crunching their numbers, filling out the forms, and crossing their fingers for a good tax return. Chances are, very little consideration is being given to the benefit of paying taxes, or to the services we receive in return. 

The extent to which taxes have been disassociated from public services is astounding. Across the Canadian political spectrum, taxation is consistently presented in a negative light. Yet the truth about taxes is that they finance the mechanisms by which the health, safety, and well-being of our society are promoted. They also provide us with tremendous personal benefits.

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Language Requirements Counter to Public Justice Values

Two weeks ago, Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney stated that he believed immigrants should be required to speak English or French before being accepted into Canada, arguing that this would encourage newcomers to integrate more into Canadian society. His statement has since sparked a heated debate about immigration policy in Canada. How do we integrate newcomers into Canada? Is a language requirement fair and necessary for integration?

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Loving Thy Neighbour: A Biblical Call to End Poverty

Poverty is an unnecessary injustice, for God created a world with abundant resources to use for sustaining healthy and dignified lives. The cause of poverty does not lie in the availability of resources and capital, but in the scarcity of practices such as stewardship and neighbourly love.

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