Saturday Morning Coffee

International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.

Baby Steps on the Road to the G8

The G8 is coming, the G8 is coming! Roll down the windows and roll out the policy debate! As early as January when the PM made an appearance at Davos, he un-characteristically unveiled a novel idea that suggested looking to the future and the challenges that lay before the G8 and not simply dwell on the issues of meetings past. And so he set the course to rally behind maternal and children’s health issues – and what a cause to support! One would have thought the PM was taking his leadership role seriously and setting in place an initiative that would reverberate throughout the most influential countries in the world. Little did we know of the plans that the PM was laying in store for the government’s policy, to be fretted over and debated until its unveiling closer to the G8 meetings, avoiding what may have been a backlash from Canadian constituents. And then along came Haiti, and then Chile and all the efforts that Canada laid out to help those in need and a policy in its infant stages rushed to its maturity only to be unveiled by a disorganized and disgruntled government that clearly had no idea of what the other was intending. Or so is what I’m reading this morning – it would appear that the Conservatives are finding it a little difficult to step outside of the box, try on a new policy and run with it. Instead, the ‘maternal and children’s health issues’ that Canada was hoping to address on a wider scale didn’t actually address one of the major issues of the 21st century – contraception – at least not until the PM was hounded by aid agencies, NGOs, journalists and even a UN official citing the importance of contraception for maternal health. The Foreign Minister and the Minister of Int’l Cooperation both were ignorant of the PM’s plans and instead issued statements stating the contrary. So now, the PM is supporting contraception, leaving his Minister’s in the dark, but also condemned strongly abortion.Meh, good enough for now I suppose.

I can understand the difficulties in stepping outside of the box and erring on the side of liberalism (and the better they are for it!) but what I don’t understand is how a policy’s direction could so clearly have been misunderstood by the Minister’s most affected by the policy itself. Is the PM just playing with fire, baby steps here, see what happens, baby steps back? No one likes a PM with no backbone, especially is Cabinet. Recognizing the challenges of a minority government and holding on to the fragile balance of power, political uncertainly is bound to follow, yet the PM’s been at this for quite a while. At this point in his tenure, it would be worthwhile to grow a backbone, show the G8 that it’s PM knows what it wants to achieve and how it’s going to get there. If it doesn’t work out, then it was never going to anyway and if it does that at least you have something to show history you’ve achieved.


One comment on “Baby Steps on the Road to the G8

  1. Abby Plener

    Hi there,

    My name is Abby and I work The Smew (, a satirical Canadian news site which I thought you might be interested in given our overlapping interests. Check out one of our stories here:


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This entry was posted on 19/03/2010 by in AIDS, Canada, Ethics, Health and Body, HIV, International development, migration, policy, Women's Rights.

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