Insulting relief

Dear editor:
The Liberal government insulted the victims of the Pakistani earthquake—and every Canadian—when it initially offered the paltry sum of $300,000 for relief efforts.
Then, reacting to nationwide outrage, they tried to save face and votes in major multicultural ridings by increasing that aid package to a more respectable $20 million.
Put in perspective, the $20 million represents the ridiculous sum of roughly 62 cents per Canadian. Yes, 62 Canadian pennies will really impress and help the hundreds of thousands of victims.
Locally, that’s less than half the price of a cup of coffee. In Toronto or Vancouver, it would buy about 10 percent of a fashionable Starbucks beverage.
The United Nations tells the world that Canada is a great place to live, but how can this possibly be true? Surely we will be measured by our compassion in times of crisis. By any objective standard, our federal government has painted Canadians as uncaring and selfish.
Today (Tuesday) on CBC Radio, I heard the minister responsible attempt to rationalize the half-a-cup of coffee contribution by claiming it puts us near the top of that aid being offered by G-8 countries, on a per capita basis.
Amazingly, the interviewer did not question the ridiculous explanation. Was this a classic example of not biting the hand that feeds our national no-longer-on-strike network?
The 62 cents should be enough to make all Canadians ashamed—and those with family connections in the disaster area furious.
Fortunately, the Liberal government does not reflect, nor represent, true Canadian values in this instance. We will ignore this string of insults and rise to the occasion, pulling far more than a couple of quarters, a dime, and two pennies from our pockets to help those who are suffering.
The same CBC program that carried the minister’s silly per capita justification also featured actions planned by concerned individuals. The contrast was startling. The minister, like the survivors, has no clothes.
The lesson here is crystal clear. The federal government and its high-spending friends talk the talk but do not walk the walk. Despite portraying Canadians as cheap and self-absorbed, we will rise to the challenge by personally supporting credible relief organizations such as World Vision.
Come election time early next year (assuming the PM keeps his word, a debatable proposition), let us remember this example of Liberal governance and hold our MPs’ feet to the fire on this and many other troubling issues.
Bud Edwards
Fort Frances, Ont.