Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh Canada! What Happened to Us?

I was just reading an article about the Haiti earthquake, and how despite the fact that Canadians gave generously, and Stephen Harper used it to try to score political points, very little aid has reached the country.

Six months after Haiti was struck by a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake, questions are being raised about how the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money is being directed. Many Canadians gave generously following the Jan. 12 quake, which killed more than 200,000 people and devastated the Caribbean country's capital. The Canadian Red Cross alone raised some $200 million, while the federal government has pledged $600 million for reconstruction efforts. But many aid workers who have recently visited Haiti say there is little sign of progress. People are still living in tents and the streets remain littered with rubble ...
I've read similar stories the past few days, but what struck me were the comments at the end of the article. Things like:

"Haiti was a devastated nation long before the earthquake hit. I am encourged that aid funds are being released very slowly. Throwing money at a nation which, for decades, has run on corruption, abuse, greed and oppression is NEVER going to be cost effective."
To Haiti people: It is US and Canada that still support your corrupted Haiti government that doesn't care for the people of Haiti but survival of its own power. It is another puppy government for the West.

Ahem ..... We are speaking of Haiti n'est pas... I mean 'quel surprise eh !!!! Anything done should have been from the 'bottom up' as the stench of political corruption in Haiti knows no bounds !!! Wise up !!!
Haiti is poor because we helped to make them poor. And the story is that Canadians opened their hearts and their wallets to help the victims of this earthquake. So where did our money go?

I started giving thumbs down to the comments but found that I just didn't have the energy.

I was getting some things together for my book and came across a story I had filed. I've blogged on it before, but it was a column from an American newspaper.

Reading and listening to the Canadian news media during those family trips could be a tad boring, but it also was touching, like remembering your earnest grade-school civics teacher lecturing about the wonders of the American democratic process. But in my visit this past summer, I noticed that the tone of Canada suddenly had changed. There was a nastier edge to the commentary.

... Standing out starkly against the bland traditions of Canadian governance was the pugnacious ‘tude of American political combat, wedge issues pounded in with a zeal that put the goal of winning and holding power over everything else. It was as if a virus that had long infected the people south of the border had overnight jumped containment and spread northward establishing itself in a new host population. But – as I began to study this new phenomenon – it became clear that this infection did not just accidentally break quarantine.

Rather, it was willfully injected into the Canadian body politic by conservative strategists and right-wing media moguls who had studied the modern American model and were seeking to replicate it. ...

Judging by those comments they are no longer seeking to replicate it. They have succeeded.

I have to watch videos of the Canada I know and love for encouragement. Otherwise, I think I'd just give up.

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