The Canadian government has boosted its contribution to the Global Fund created to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to $650 million over the next three years, The Globe and Mail reported. That’s a boost of more than 20 per cent to the fund, whose representatives asked international donors for $15 billion to keep it going until 2016. The Canadian contribution is part of the commitment the Harper government made to maternal and child health through the G8 Muskoka Initiative. Aid groups praised the pledge.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a trip to Israel, one of his biggest allies, The National Post reported. Mr. Harper made the announcement while attending a Jewish National Fund dinner in Toronto along with Foreign Minister John Baird and Employment Minister Jason Kenney. The trip is being scheduled for 2014, and will be Mr. Harper’s first trip to Israel, despite the close ties of the two counties. Mr. Harper proceeded to play piano and sing classic rock songs for the crowd of 4,000.
Industry Minister James Moore has announced that the Canadian government’s official space plan will be unveiled in early 2014, and observers are cautiously optimistic, The Canadian Press reported. The former president of the Canadian Space Agency said it’s been a while since Canadians knew what the government’s policy was on space, and where it saw Canada fitting into the world outside of Canada’s atmosphere. But another former head of the agency, now a Liberal Member of Parliament, Marc Garneau said the space budget has been cut by 10 per cent.
Auditor general Michael Ferguson’s fall report, tabled in Parliament on Nov. 26, has found that Canada’s border controls are insufficient, and have allowed dangerous people into the country, Postmedia News reported. Part of the problem is that airlines are not providing enough advance information on their passengers to Canada, such as full names and complete passport data. The report also determined that the Canada Border Services Agency could be doing a better job of monitoring “lookouts:” people or products that have been flagged as potentially dangerous or high-risk.
The Conservative government said it would appeal a World Trade Organization decision that sides with the European Union’s ban on importing seal products, CTV News reported. The WTO agreed that the ban violates international trade rules, but that it is justified in doing so because it addresses public moral concerns about the ethical treatment of the animals. A WTO panel issued its decision on Nov. 25, in a dispute that has lasted four years. The federal government says the ban discriminates against Canada and its Inuit population, and the government says the practice is humane.