Story last updated at 1:55 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2002

Openness fosters awareness
For those who attended the peace walk and gathering, or who approached us afterward for information on the Global 8 meetings in Kananaskis, Alberta, at the end of June: have you been able to get information about the meetings? I watched Anchorage, San Francisco and New York newspapers for three days after the meetings, and there was a little coverage. National Public Radio had one line the day after meetings. This annual meeting had a formal agenda regarding the struggling global economy and the war on terrorism.

Here's what I found from the above sources:

In the meetings, there was no discussion to encourage stronger corporate governance rules, or to address poverty associated with third-world debt, while the World Bank flourishes. The two outcomes that were reported were these: 1) $6 billion in aid over four years to Africa -- already announced several months earlier, and "available only to African countries deemed to have met strict reform requirements." 2) "dismantling of Soviet-era nuclear, biological and chemical weapons" -- while no specific international funding was attached.

These meetings cost Canada approximately $300 million in security measures. No permits were granted for the nonviolent march that had been planned as part of the "Global Justice" alternative summit. Make your own conclusions. I recommend if you want more coverage.

One of the demands for the next WTO meeting at the end of September, by the "Mobilize for Global Justice" organizers, is that all G8, World Bank and IMF meetings be open to the media. Another is an end to all WTO policies that attach "structural adjustment programs" to loans, which force countries to cut basic health, education and environmental safety standards in order to repay loans.

I'm glad we have groups that are watching and working for lasting peace and justice. It seems that multinational corporations' growing ability to dictate governmental policy does foster powerlessness in citizens worldwide and feed terrorism. We need more transparency in our government and through the media, not less.

Sharon Whytal

Kindness without Borders