The pictures and descriptions showing the devastation of towns and villages and the unrelenting grief of the victims in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan after the latest environmental disaster to hit our global community are horrifying. And as we sit wondering how we can provide some solace and comfort, our government has come forward with a paltry 300 grand and a few Hudson's Bay blankets. With estimates of over 40,000 lost lives, 10's of thousands injured and millions homeless, the Government of Canada has once again blown it............on Thanksgiving weekend, no less. Our undignified offer is a hard slap in the face.
Didn't this Liberal government learn from the outpouring of discontent after the Tsunami disaster when initially they offered a couple of Johnny-on-the-spots and a Coleman stove to Sri Lanka? Eventually, they managed to get a plane over there with the DART team and a water cleaning system. Whoopeee! It was the efforts of the individuals of all ages that rallied to provide donations that prompted the government to jump on board and match the amount raised. Shame on them! Lessons..............in one ear and out the other........................Does this Government suffer from short term memory loss? Yes they do, along with many other ailments.
I recall a story last Christmas about a qualified Sri Lankan born Canadian doctor who was ready and willing to offer her skills to her home country but she needed assistance to do so. The lackeys in Ottawa couldn't arrange to help her. And yet...............Martha Stewart was cleared to cross the unsecured border between Canada and the United States to paddle a pumpkin in the Anapolis Valley this weekend cause it was a "good thing." Cost of Senior bureaucrat and Cabinet Minister's salaries to right this wrong: Priceless............well, probably more than 300 grand.
Our Minister of External Affairs, whose constituency is located on the Left Bank happened to be slumming it in Montreal this weekend when the disaster struck. Now that's a first. He, who pads his expense accounts to pay for his chaffeur/lover/Left Bank cafe companion, used his "sharp as a tack" political acumen, arranged to make his generous announcement on behalf of all Canadians in the middle of a Pakistani grocery store. Slap, slap, slap!
Who thought up this great idea? Can't you just hear the "experts" in Ottawa directing Pettigrew from their Blackberries while sitting in front of their fireplaces in their summer homes in the Gatineaus............."Surround yourself with grieving, emotionally distraught relatives far away from the worst disaster in their cultural history, and make the announcement. It'll look good on the evening news." Yeah, right! It's like offering them the equivalent to an olive on a toothpick.
And as this horrendous disaster unfolds; as the local villagers use pickaxes to chip away at the rubble in search of the bodies of their children who had just arrived for a new day of learning; as they use their hands to clear away landslides that have blocked the only roads to some villages; as the President of Pakistan pleas for international help, all other large countries rallied quickly with money, helicopters, food, water, and skilled searchers. We offered an olive. It's shameful.
One last thought that keeps cropping up...........can't seem to shake it.........................Dorkhead Dingwall's expense account? Excuse me? Tell me that it's not larger than the international aid we are offering to three countries that are burying their children, neighbours and family members as we sit around our dining room tables and share our thoughts about what we are all thankful for?