Wider View Archive

Hopes and concerns: Canada’s involvement in Haiti

December 1, 2015 Thirdway

By Rebekah Sears, MCC Ottawa Office policy analyst I love watching our Canadian political processes unfold: elections, tracking the promises, critiquing the results, the whole game of politics. In a time of transition – a change in Prime Minister and also a change in the governing party – there are endless things to watch and monitor: who is in charge of what file, what are the governing party’s plans and promises, when can we expect results? For us at MCC’s Ottawa Office, some of the files in which we are especially interested include those relating to Canada’s role in the […]

Paris climate talks could be a turning point

November 27, 2015 Tammy Alexander

Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office During the next two weeks, we could see an important turning point in global efforts to address the causes and effects of climate change. From November 30 through December 11, delegates from 195 countries will meet outside Paris, France, and, for the first time in more than 20 years, attempt to create a legally binding agreement to address climate change. In the year leading up to the Paris talks, many countries have made pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal to keep the rise in the average global temperature […]

Responding to the Syria crisis

November 12, 2015 Thirdway

By Katherine Crosby As civil war in Syria continues, the accompanying humanitarian crisis continues to grow. More than half of Syria’s population has either left the country to seek safety or remains displaced within Syrian borders. Those who attempt the journey abroad face transportation controlled by a $26 billion smuggling industry, spending large sums of money on a dangerous journey toward many unknowns. Upon their arrival, those seeking asylum often are met by a complete lack of services to assist them in the resettlement process and encounter systems that make it difficult to connect with relatives or create sustainable livelihoods. […]

Sanctuary city policies make communities safer

October 30, 2015 Thirdway

Lakka Benti, Domestic Policy Intern, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office In 2008, the Bush administration started a program called Secure Communities by which the fingerprints of someone booked into a local jail were shared with federal immigration databases to determine if the person was an undocumented immigrant. Immigration authorities could then request a “detainer” or “hold” be placed on the person until Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials could pick them up and put them into deportation proceedings. The program was expanded under President Obama and led to the deportation of tens of thousands of immigrants. (In 2014, the […]

Seeking alternatives: Are nonviolent responses to terrorism possible?

October 23, 2015 Thirdway

By Jenn Wiebe, director of MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office We live in a context of growing fear—fear about terrorism. Few terms have so furtively made their way into our daily discourse. Yet while the specter of terrorism has gained a sense of urgency in our homes, churches, and communities, most of us have only a vague impression of what it is. The term “terrorism” has been used in distinct ways throughout the centuries to describe a wide range of actions and actors. First popularized during the French Revolution (1793-94) when it was used (rather positively, I might add!) to describe the […]

A question of priorities

October 19, 2015 Joshua Russell

By Joshua Russell How a country spends its money says a great deal about the direction it is going, the values it embraces, and which citizens are exercising the greatest influence. One way to determine a country’s priorities is to examine how it spends its money. In the United States, one of the largest and longest-standing budget priorities is the military. U.S. military spending is projected to come close to $600 billion in the 2015 fiscal year, which is by far the most of any country in the world. The United States spends almost three times more than China, the second-highest […]

Making peace practical

September 25, 2015 Thirdway

By guest writer Anna Vogt In Colombia, Mennonites demonstrate every day that being a peace church means taking concrete actions to stop violence. Colombia has been in armed conflict for over 50 years. Seven million people have been victims of the resulting violence. This violence has been supported in part by Plan Colombia, a multi-billion-dollar military aid package from the United States to Colombia. Three years ago, the Colombian state and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, began a peace process. Colombian churches, while applauding the talks, urge the two parties to stop active fighting immediately, out of respect for life. […]

Elections and matters of the heart

September 18, 2015 Thirdway

By Rebekah Sears, policy analyst for MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office. (originally posted on Ottawa Notebook, https://mccottawaoffice.wordpress.com ) Canada’s federal election takes place on October 19, 2015. As I was drafting this post, the global refugee/forced migration crisis – an issue very close to my heart – FINALLY captured the full attention of media outlets around the world. It also finally made its way into the Canadian federal election campaign. It’s incredible how one heart-breaking story can capture the attention of so many people, even though a full year ago the UNHCR reported that the scale of people forcefully displaced around the world […]

“The bombs kept following us”

September 10, 2015 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach

By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach A photo of a Syrian three-year-old boy, who drowned trying to flee to Greece, captured global attention last week. But sadly, he and his family represent just a fraction of the millions of Syrians whose lives have been devastated by the civil war that has now been raging for more than four years. In June I met some of these refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. The stories they told were heartbreaking. One family was from Damascus, Syria. When the war forced them to leave their home, they moved first to several other parts of Syria, but “the […]

Profiting from prisons

September 1, 2015 Joshua Russell

By Joshua Russell The United States considers itself to be a leader in many areas. One of the areas that we lead in, however, is a shameful one. The United States incarcerates more people (currently 2.2 million) at a higher rate than any other country in the world. Misguided policies and laws, including mandatory minimum sentences, are one of the main reasons for this high incarceration rate. The past few decades have seen an unprecedented growth in the prison population in this country, followed by a huge growth in prison construction. This led to the development of private, for-profit prisons. […]