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National

Advocates hoped for more concrete G7 gender equality commitments

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to make gender equality a key focus of the G7 summit, but some women’s rights advocates are lamenting a shortage of concrete commitments to action.

The final communique of the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que., included promises to work toward removing barriers for women in social, economic and political spheres and resolutions to end sexual and gender-based violence.

The summit also produced a commitment of $3.8 billion for girls’ education — a fund the U.S. did not agree to participate in.

Beyond the money, no other concrete actions to advance gender equality materialized — an outcome many women’s advocacy groups that participated in the so-called W7 summit in April pushed hard to avoid.

Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s manager of policy, said while she’s glad to see strong language in support of gender equality in the communique and leadership from Canada in putting gender issues on the agenda for discussion, her organization would have liked a much broader range of commitments from G7 leaders.

“The communique is full of lots of nice words, but it doesn’t really come with very concrete actions that the G7 is going to do to address some of these gender equality issues,” Sarosi said.

“I think it would have been good to be a bit more responsive to the recommendations of the gender equality advisory council in terms of addressing some of the neglected areas that form part of really moving the needle on gender equality.”

The G7 gender equality advisory council, made up of business and social leaders, including billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, released a comprehensive list of 60 recommendations for the G7. The recommendations detailed numerous actions and investments that would help advance the rights and opportunities of women, girls and LGBTQ citizens around the world.

Katja Iversen was a member of the advisory council and is the president and CEO of Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization for investment in gender equality with a specific focus on maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights.

She said she does not believe tensions between world leaders and U.S. President Donald Trump on trade distracted from the discussions on gender equality at the summit.

The leaders who took part in a breakfast session on gender equality at the summit were engaged in the conversations, which Iversen characterized as frank.

“Being in that room with the leaders that breakfast morning, I can tell you it was a very comprehensive presentation that they got, and they went in and discussed it,” she said.

“We did not mince words and we did not leave out any of the so-called controversial issues.”

The fact that two hours were set aside to talk about advancing gender equality at a meeting for world leaders shows the gender conversations did not get lost in the shuffle, Iversen added.

“There can always be more … but for me the most important thing was the time they spent on this and how much they engaged in this in the conversation.”

But while there are indications there could be further support for gender equality being on the agenda of next year’s G7 summit in France, the focus for women’s rights advocates will now turn toward the actions that individual countries will take to make improvements, rather than words they agree to in joint communiques.

Many are also hoping the Women Deliver conference, which Canada will host in Vancouver in 2019, will offer some more concrete next steps and solutions for advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls.

“I think it’s really within the countries and the women’s rights organizations that are working tirelessly within the countries to move things ahead,” Sarosi said. 

“They will be the ones really making the difference.”

— Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press


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Construction

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

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OTTAWA — Cities, provinces and territories building new roads, bridges, water and transit systems funded with federal dollars will have to let Indigenous Peoples, veterans and recent immigrants have a hand in those projects under new rules being unveiled today.

The idea of so-called community benefits will be a mandatory requirement for many infrastructure projects the federal government will help pay for through its $33-billion spending envelope.

Provinces and territories will have some leeway to decide what projects are to be subject to the rules. Those projects that are will have to explain publicly how far they have come in meeting the government’s goals.

Under the new guidelines, provinces, territories and cities would have to hire apprentices, Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women, or procure goods and services from small- and medium-sized businesses or social enterprises.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi will be in Toronto to unveil the new rules alongside the MP that first brought the idea to him two years ago — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

Community benefit agreements have been used for years in the United States and were applied to the construction of the athletes’ village for the Vancouver Olympics. The agreements require projects to hire locally or create jobs for groups facing high unemployment rates, such as young people and Aboriginals.

The deals are usually negotiated among private companies doing work, the public body funding the project and community groups like unions, faith-based groups or social services.

The Liberals inserted broad wording about community benefit requirements into infrastructure funding deals that provinces and territories signed over the past year.

Once construction starts on projects funded through those agreements, the Liberals want to see how many hours the targeted populations work, or the value of the contracts provided to targeted businesses, to see how well proponents are doing at meeting their goals.

There will also be requirements to explain the challenges and successes provinces, territories and cities have in meeting the community benefit goals.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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National

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

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VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who sold bottles of “Hot Dog Water” for nearly $40 each says he was trying to see how marketing of health claims backed by supposed science amounts to quick sales.

Douglas Bevans said he boiled about 100 organic beef hot dogs and put each one in a bottle of the water he sold at an annual car-free event.

Each bottle of the “keto-compatible,” unfiltered water sold for $37.99, but two bottles cost only $75 because of a special deal last Sunday at his booth, where he wore a hot dog onesie and promoted himself as CEO of Hot Dog Water.

Bevans promised the water would lead to increased brain function, weight loss and a youthful appearance, even erasing crow’s feet when applied to the face in the form of a lip balm, which he also happened to sell.

“We noticed that some people were rubbing lip balm on their crow’s feet and they were swearing their crow’s feet were disappearing before their eyes,” he said.

One man who rubbed the lip balm on his “dome” sent him photos suggesting it promoted hair growth, Bevans said.

While many people laughed, he said others were impressed by the health benefits they’d experience with his unique products, including body spray and “Hot Dog Water breath freshener.”

Bevans said he sold 60 litres worth of the products.

He told people the water creates quicker sodium uptake for good health, uttering sheer quackery: “Because Hot Dog Water and perspiration resemble each other so when you drink Hot Dog Water it bypasses the lymphatic system, whereas other waters have to go through your filtering system, so really, Hot Dog Water has three times as much uptake as coconut water.”

Bevans, who is really a tour operator and a performance artist, said he came up with the idea as he questioned the ridiculous marketing and health claims behind some products and thought to himself: “I bet I could sell hot dog water.”

“We’re helping people, empowering them to use informed decisions in their purchasing choices,” he said about his marketing stunt. “That is the message behind this.”

His aim is to get consumers to bypass slick marketing and think about what they’re buying, especially in the age of social media clicks and ‘likes’ involving celebrities pitches.

Bevans said he thought of his project as an art performance to create awareness about critical thinking.

“Art, I think, has a way of doing this better than if this was a public service announcement. There’s an image attached to it, that it’s ridiculous.”

— Follow @CamilleBains 1 on Twitter.

 

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


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june, 2018

wed30may - 26sepmay 303:30 pmsep 26ATB Financial Downtown Market(may 30) 3:30 pm - (september 26) 6:30 pm

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