Canada, which has been described as one of the world’s most progressive countries, has legitimized gay rights, vociferously advocated gender empowerment, offered strong support for abortion rights – and recently became the world’s first major economy to legalize recreational marijuana.
Currently the fifth largest donor to the UN’s development agencies — and holding the Presidency of the G7 comprising the world’s leading industrialized nations– it is planning to run for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2021-22.
Host to the 7th International Parliamentarians’ Conference (ICPI) on population and development in Ottawa last week—and having hosted the first such meeting in 2002 – Canada has also launched a Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP).
Sandeep Prasad, executive director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, says Canada is repositioning itself as a leader on gender equality, women’s rights and sexual and reproductive rights, which includes FIAP, and hosting the upcoming Women Deliver conference, scheduled to take place in Vancouver in 2019.
“For Canada’s commitment to be truly lasting, continued support is needed for the feminist and human rights advocates working with their decision-makers at all levels of government to establish and protect laws, policies and programs that safeguard these rights,” said Prasad.
Leading the fight for women’s rights, gender empowerment, and sexual and reproductive rights is Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian Minister of International Development, who is also a strong advocate for increased development financing.
In an interview with IPS, she said international events like IPCI can be a strong catalyst for mobilizing people, ideas and resources.