Monday was an important day in Canada, as millions headed to the polls and ushered in a majority government. I am personally non-partisan and always vote for people based on their character and their commitment to vote either with their party or against it, depending on the issue.
Manitoba’s MP Joy Smith, who is a woman of deep character and the champion of the abolitionist movement in Parliament, was re-elected. This is great news. With a majority backing her up, Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking will now be able to move forward withÂ vigour.
However, my years of studying political science and international development at the University of Guelph have taught me that everything is interconnected. When big business and corporate interests gain momentum and power, laws can, in a sense, contradict themselves. For example, one of Joy Smith’s proposals is to introduce penalties for Canadian companies which knowingly import or use products made by forced labour or child labour. Will a majority that is generally known to be pro-corporation and laissez faire support legislation that could jeopardize company profit?
My childhood in Africa and my travels throughout Southern Africa and Central America have imprinted the plight of the poor on my heart. Why is it that women and children from impoverished countries are usually the ones who are trafficked across international borders and exploited? The capitalistic structure of the international economic system has created a glass ceiling which has stunted the growth of many in the developing world. Traffickers are able to use this to their advantage.
I am a huge proponent of preventative strategies, and hope that the new Canadian government will look at structures of economic injustice as they push forward MP Smith’s National Action Plan. I know that her goal is to be as thorough and comprehensive as possible, and it is my hope that the majority will back her up as she seeks to make a difference.
And in the words of Philip Yancey, “Politics can legislate justice but not compassion.”
That’s our job.