Regular readers of rabble have noticed a new look on our front page today. The change is more than skin-deep and it signals another important step for Canada’s progressive community. Our news site, an independent project of the Montreal-based NGO, Alternatives, today participates as our sister sites and are officially launched.

Canada now has a vital new window onto civil society — the non-profitorganizations and social movements that have become essentialguardians of the common good. In English, it’s known In French, it’s Together, they debuttoday as the new Canadian edition of is already the world’s most popular and trusted civilsociety network. Since 1995, that network has spawned 10 regionalcentres spanning five continents and publishing in 12 languages. Andnow the “Canadian point of view” is joining the growing globaldialogue on everything from the AIDS crisis, to the war in Iraq, tothe state of democracy around the world and here at home. is a daily news source and an onlinecommunity. It functions as a platform that helps justice-seekingorganizations reach readers across Canada and around the world. Itaims for nothing less than to transform how Canadians interpret andengage in the stories that affect their lives.

OneWorld draws its content and financial support from 1,500-pluspartner organizations around the globe. Canada enters the networkwith an initial pool of 80 Canadian partners. These range fromnational forces like Amnesty International Canada to smaller researchNGOs like Alberta’s Parkland Institute. All share a commitment tosustainable development, human rights and social justice. is launching at an exciting time. Civilsociety is increasingly making its many voices heard. That’shappening during trade talks and UN summits (like this week’s WorldSummit on the Information Society), and it’s happening in more localpublic policy debates. But Canadians want — and need — to hearmore directly and more often from these third-sector sources.Enabling that is OneWorld’s strength. That’s why, in Foreign Policymagazine (May/June 2003), UN Secretary General Kofi Annanrecommends as one of his favourite websites.

With staff and partners from coast to coast, is building bridges across regional andlinguistic divides. Promoting exchange between francophones andanglophones is a key goal. “We may not always agree, but we finallyhave a platform where we can talk, share and even work together,”says Pierre Beaudet, Executive Director of Alternatives which is incubating the project.

In the words of Anuradha Vittachi, Director of OneWorld InternationalFoundation, the network’s governing body: “ will providea gateway for a nation of highly net-literate citizens to use theInternet to find out about the lives of people in developing countriesand to connect with the growing worldwide movement working forglobal justice.”