Child Development Charities Urge U.S. Administration to Halt Child Separation at the Southern Border (Or Not)

The world is becoming horrified by the news and pictures coming out of the U.S. on the administration’s policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking parents at the U.S. southern border. Lines of tired people, children in tow, are stressed after a migration through two or three countries. Their hopes for a better life, a […]

Charities’ fading moral high ground

I On April 15th, I was part of a panel at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) international conference in New Orleans. Thirty-five hundred delegates—mostly fundraisers— attended the conference from around the world. The question to our panel was Are charities losing the moral high ground? On April 23rd, the Globe and Mail filled in […]

Ninety Thousand Words To Go

In the past four years I’ve fashioned scores of pieces for a regular blog, produced a daily churn of work-related writing, and written and had published two books, a novel and a work of non-fiction. I am a card-carrying writer. Now, I’ve just returned from St. John’s where I spent a week doing research for […]

Will Charities Face a Day of Reckoning?

I A story about widespread sexual misconduct broke in the U.K. last week. This time it involved Oxfam, one of the world’s most respected international aid charities. According to The Guardian, the Charities Commission, the U.K. government’s charity watch dog, has asked for “an urgent clarification from Oxfam after allegations that the charity covered up […]

Trying to Live Life on Yellow Alert

“Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau addressing the Press Club in Washington, D.C. (25 March 1969) on the matter of living […]

It’s Hard To Feel Sorry For A Neighbour Who Keeps Setting His Own House On Fire

The eyes of American lawmakers gazed miserably out from our screens yesterday as television networks provided wall-to-wall news coverage of another mass shooting. Fifty-nine dead and 527 injured this time, the largest body count ever. The response to the carnage? “Heroism,” according to news hosts from Anderson Cooper to Rachel Maddow. “It is tragedies like […]

The Wolf at the Door

The past decade in international development is forcing re-think of the assumptions that have held the sector together for 60 years. The questions are large and unsettling and weigh heavily. Is it time for Western activists to demand that Africans have more direct involvement in setting their own development path? To come to grips with […]

The Have and Have-not World of Charity

“Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation. POPE FRANCIS   A friend came over the other night to cook dinner. Technically, we were cooking dinner together, but at that moment my job was reading news of interest out loud […]

Charity Talk: How can you compete with changing the skyline?

Charities are entrusted with the lives and wellbeing of the poorest, sickest and most oppressed people in the world. In Canada, the sector generated $246 billion in 2014. How do they view their obligations, chose their priorities and interpret the impact of those choices? In February my book, Cap in Hand: How Charities Are Failing […]

And Away We Go: F1 on the Grid for New Season

Prologue  She was tall, thin and tarty And she drove a Maserati Faster than sound I was heaven bound – Rod Stewart, Italian Girls    Have you seen the new Alfa Romeo ad, the one for the Guila (pronounced Julia), that curvy little red rocket of joy whipping around what appears to the Italian countryside? […]