Friday, January 4, 2013

Canada gives up on Haiti, freezes foreign aid

Michaëlle Jean, Stephen Lewis, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the 1000s who do well out of doing good... Colour them astonished! Mouths were agape in Ottawa, Paris and New York (wherever the lovely and fragrant Ms Jean is these days), and of course Port-au-Prince, when Canada's International Co-operation Minister said today that Canada will stop funding new aid projects in Haiti until Ottawa finds a better way for the struggling nation to, errr, help itself. Imagine that!

In an interview with La Presse, Julian Fantino said he was "disappointed" with what he considered the lack of progress he saw -- or rather, didn't see -- during his November visit to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

So great was the consternation in the homes and offices of the chattering classes, that Canada's lamestream media [meaning the Globe and Mail. Ed.] asked its token francophone if perhaps there had been some error in translation. Or was it possible that the minister was just making it up as he went along? Speaking out of his ass, as the French say? After all, this sort of thing would normally be announced in the House of Commons, and some sort of notice would usually be given to the agencies and dips involved.

But not this time. Fantino indicated that Canada has poured $1,000,000,000 ($999 million in real money) down the Haitian rathole since 2006. And as a former chief of both the Ontario and Toronto police forces, Fantino knows how quickly money can disappear when you have a potent mix of ignorance, incompetence and corruption. Nevertheless, he said, his department will continue to fund programmes in Haiti that are already in progress, provided that even the most minuscule signs of life can be detected.

Minister Fantino, who took over the portfolio from "Limousine Bev" Oda last year, said Canadian taxpayers cannot take care of Haiti's problems forever. (Hey, they can't even take care of their own!) Fantino also compared Haiti's terrible state with much-better conditions in the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Fantino remarked about the filth and garbage he saw during his recent visit to Haiti. He wondered aloud how a country with so many unemployed people had not found a way to clean it up, like the neighbourhood shown in the picture.

The Canadian International Development Agency said Mr. Fantino would not be available for further comment until he gets his prescription refilled.

Further reading, highly recommended by Walt: 'Most everything went wrong': Three years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, the reconstruction has barely begun - from the New York Times and National Post Wire Services. It's quite possible Minister Fantino may have read this [with his lips moving? Ed.] before giving his bombshell interview to La Presse.   And here's the interview: «Nous ne sommes pas une oeuvre de charité», dit Julian Fantino. For all the Canadians (especially readers of the Niagara Falls Review) who don't speak French, that means "We aren't a work of charity" says Julian Fantino. Indeed.

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