November 2013 
Why we do what we do   

Last month's newsletter included a call for action on behalf of MCC friend and partner, Ricardo Esquivia. A human rights lawyer in Colombia, Ricardo was threatened with arrest and detention for his legal work on behalf of displaced and dispossessed people. Thanks to all those of you who joined in signing the petition demanding safety and security for Ricardo and his colleagues at Sembrandopaz!


We have learned that, while Ricardo is still in danger and a colleague Jorge Montes remains in prison, Canadian and US embassies in Colombia have raised concerns with Colombian officials about the Sembrandopaz case. Both embassies have indicated that letters from Canadian and US citizens have played a role in drawing attention to this case.


MCC is committed to engaging in a ministry of advocacy because we know that it can make a difference in the lives of people around the world. That is why we invite you to participate in this work.  


But we also engage in advocacy for other reasons:

  • Because partners have asked us to address the structures and systems that contribute to their suffering,
  • Because Mennonite and Brethren in Christ people have themselves benefited greatly from advocacy done on their behalf,
  • Because the biblical record gives us many examples of faithful advocates,
  • Because our faith demands that we speak to the principalities and powers as another way of loving our neighbour.

In the coming months, we will offer more reflections on these reasons in our Ottawa Notebook blog


Parliamentary business    

Elected officials finally returned to the House of Commons on October 16th for the formal start of the fall session. Almost immediately after the Governor General delivered the Throne Speech, Parliament Hill was abuzz with political debates, drama, and media activity, particularly around the ever-evolving Senate expense scandal.

While prorogation was supposed to reset the Government agenda--and wipe the entire legislative slate clean--it was not long before things picked up precisely where they left off in June. An "omni motion" was passed that would allow the government to resurrect any bills that had died on the order paper when Parliament was prorogued. Now we know the fate of our "peekaboo legislation," Bill S-10.

On October 25th,
An Act to Implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions came back in a new form. Resurrected in the House of Commons as Bill C-6, this legislation has been sent to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for immediate study.

The Ottawa Office hopes to offer both written and verbal testimony during committee hearings. For more information, click here.
New resources:
 "Open for Justice" campaign 

A new campaign called Open for Justice has been launched by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability. It is another effort on the part of civil society to demand that Canadian mining companies be held accountable for their activities overseas. Specifically, the campaign calls for:
  • An extractive sector Ombudsman with the power to independently investigate complaints and make recommendations to corporations and government,
  • Legislated access to Canadian courts for people who have been seriously harmed by the international operations of Canadian companies.

Currently, people outside Canada who have been harmed by the activities of Canadian mining companies have no recourse for justice, whether in their own country, in international arenas, or in Canada. The campaign aims to change that. It hopes that instead of being simply "open for business," Canada will become "open for justice." 


Stay tuned for more information in coming months.   

In This Issue
Feature Article
Parliamentary Business
New Resources
Staff Update
of the month

"On Remembrance Day, Canadians are told that we need to fight wars to ensure our safety and our freedom.We need military might to secure peace in the world. But Anabaptist Christians hold to a different story-- the story of Jesus and his nonviolent way of love and compassion."     


-- MCC Peace Sunday Packet 2013 



Our annual Student Seminar will take place February 13-15, 2014 in Ottawa. The theme this year is "Inconvenient" relationships? Indigenous rights, reconciliation, advocacy.

This seminar is especially for college and university students. Travel subsidies are available. For more information, click
Staff update


Paul and Jenn at PJSA  



Paul Heidebrecht and Jenn Wiebe joined several hundred academics and activists at the Peace and Justice Studies Association annual conference in Waterloo from Oct. 17-19. Co-hosted by Conrad Grebel University College and Wilfried Laurier University, this year's theme was "Peace Studies between Tradition and Innovation."

Paul and Jenn presented a paper that traced the evolution of ecumenical collaboration for peace over the past four decades, and argued that substantial changes in the Canadian political context necessitate a reexamination of past advocacy strategies.  
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