Friday, January 15, 2010

Stephen, you did good

I've never been a big fan of our prime minister but this time he did a good thing and kudos to him.

According to a report on Canada AM, Mr. Harper was in the air flying home from Quebec City when the news of the quake in Haiti arrived. Before he had landed, he had ordered Canada's resources to that tiny island. When a senior bureaucrat reminded him that Canada had not yet received a request from Haiti for help, Stephen retorted that the phone lines were down. A request could not be made.

Following the tsunami five years ago, when Canada did not own cargo planes to get our aid to the stricken region, it was weeks before our response.

In this latest disaster, Canada may well have been first on the ground. The government -- if I heard correctly -- has offered to match Canadian's donations to help Haiti and has earmarked $50 million for this commitment.

In addition, Canada has foregone the need for Russian planes to obtain a visa before landing in Gander for re-fueling on their way to Haiti.

Thank you, prime minister.



  1. I've only seen one story about it, and that one story was trying to get clarification from CIDA, but it suggested that because Parliament is prorogued, the government can only use money already budgeted for this emergency. If that runs out, they can't send any additional funding without recalling parliament.

    So while I'm pleased with the government's response, there is the possibility that it's less than it should be.

    In any event, this situation is heartbreaking. Jared Diamond's Collapse explains why Haiti has always been heartbreaking.

  2. Holy Crap, Harper the idiot does something good!

  3. Richard: That may be true and you know I'm no fan... but even if it were more and we delivered it weeks late it would mean many more dead. Let's hope the other issue (a closed parliament) will be taken care of soon enough to deliver more aid.

    Becca: Hard to believe, but it seems to be true.

  4. Hey Colleen:

    I guess I didn't make my point very well. First of all, I'm thrilled that Canada has acted so quickly, and I support the government's efforts completely. And I'm thrilled that they're matching our donations.

    But the one story I read (on a CBC blog) suggested that Canada has just a certain amount in its emergency assistance budget, that we're near the end of the fiscal year, and that fund can't be replenished while parliament is prorogued.

    So the point becomes... what if we could have sent four navy ships to Haiti instead of two? What if we could have 500 people on the ground now (on Saturday), instead of 144?

    This is actually one time when I'm praying there's no smoking gun. I hope that we're doing absolutely everything we possibly could be doing.

  5. Richard: I agree. I too hope we are doing everything we can. Not only because of the devastation but also because of the history of that country and how Haitians have suffered. I hope that the PM listens to Canadians anger at his motivation behind prorogued and apologizes and gives us some answers. I also hope to become a millionaire and find the cure for AIDS.

    Stephen Harper, if you need to reconvene Parliament to get more money for Haiti, you had better do it. It would be a moral crime otherwise.