Syrian refugee women living in an informal settlement line the side of a road mid-morning waiting to depart to the tomato fields in Lebanon's Bekaa valley. Photo credit: Maya Hautefeuille / Oxfam

Early reviews of last night’s Munk Debate on foreign policy have been positive. There was a substantive airing of some important issues. And there was glaring oversight too. Slightly more than half of all Canadians were not represented on the debate stage.

Up For Debate has a very clear goal: to put women’s rights and gender equality on the 2015 electoral map.

Wake up and smell the issues

Election season is heating up. The leaders debate on economic policy is almost upon us. And my mother wants me to say a few things to those who aspire to lead our country.

Hanin Al Halayal, 26, sit with her four week old baby Sana, 4-weeks , in the tent in which they now live in an informal settlement for Syrian refugees in north Bekaa Valley in Lebanon on September 10 2015.

On September 15th, 2015 in Ottawa there was an important event featuring three female Nobel Peace Laureates: Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland), and Jody Williams (USA).

A woman and her child take shelter as a Syrian air force jet bombs the streets surrounding her home in Aleppo. Photo credit: Sam Tarling/ Oxfam

The searing images of three-year-old Alan Kurdi have moved through cyberspace and galvanized reaction around the world. People everywhere are shocked and saddened in witnessing the tragedy of a little boy who will never live the long, healthy, happy life he deserved.

Privthyva was born April 25th - an hour after the earthquake. Photo credit: Anthony Scoggins, Oxfam Canada.

It was early August when Pryvthyva’s mom told me – an outsider - her dramatic story.  We had stopped by the local village health post as part of an inter-agency tour of earthquake affected communities to see how people are coping almost 4 months later.


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