Friday, April 17, 2009

'We are becoming spiritually depraved'

Making Spiritual Poverty History
Glen Pearson, MP (London North Centre): It was an offer hard to refuse. Jeffrey Sachs, special counsel to both President Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was speaking at the Millennium Summit in Montreal. Would I consider having a private meeting with him to discuss humanitarian development issues around the world? Tough to turn down.

Since he travels to 40-50 countries a year, I naturally asked him how Canada was viewed from an international perspective. His comments were insightful... and troubling:

* Your country has lost its distinctive voice.
* Canada should be the conscience of the continent, but instead we're just a business partner.
* His discussions with many world leaders revealed that Canada had lost its presence -- the legacy of Lester Pearson is no more.
* Canada has lost its brand.
* Leaders in Canada have become so enamored with financial markets that they have denied this country's own historical DNA that saw it as a beacon of peace to the world.

I could go on, but the points above are pungent enough that we get where he's coming from. And these aren't just his opinions; they were voiced repeatedly by many international, environmental, economic and anti-poverty leaders at the summit itself. This isn't just about a difference of opinion here. An international consensus is emerging that we have severed ourselves from our own past, a history that was powerful enough to define us in the world...

We are becoming spiritually depraved, moved more by the wallet than the world. That is the kind of poverty we need to make history.