Thursday, 21 January 2010

Canada's invisiblity a good thing?

Good News! Canada's Armed Forces is setting up a field hospital in Haiti. Great idea. Now this is the kind of effective mission Canadians do best. And we do it without strings attached.

Let's not change that.

In recent days, pundits have talked about boosting Canada's international reputation and influence in the Americas. One gentlemen, suggests Canada make Haiti a protectorate and share power there with the U.S. (Ok Americans, go ahead and laugh. I know you want to. Canadians, too.)

Aside from the fact colonialism is abhorrent to most Canadians, there are other resasons this would not work. Our different systems of government (constitutional monarchy vs. republic), different political cultures, and the fact that the Americans regard us a country, that Fox News and South Park points out could be invaded (with guns) and still be the punch-line (Ut is kind of funny becuase when US tried to invade Canada, in 1812, the joke was on them.)

The U.S regards Canada just like every other country in the Americas. They may like us as individuals, trade with us, visit us, and pay our musicians and actors big money, but they do not Canada as a equal in the Americas. (That, by the way, is the essential problem for the Americans in the Americas. Fix that, and they've solved a whole range of international issues.)

Now, there is an upside to all this. Freed from competing with Americans for turf and prestige, Canadians do what they do best. Our aid workers and emergency personnel go into other countries where the people we help are assured that we do not have some political agenda for being there.

We can fight for human rights as John Diefenbaker fought against apartheid. We can take a stand on international issues, as Pearson did during the Suez Canal crisis. And we can concentrate on building our economy and sharing our prosperity with each other and the world. Other nations may not see Canada as powerful, but they often do see us as an honest broker.

Haiti needs aid workers, more than soldiers. It needs money and jobs more than military. And while, building field hospitals and clearing runways is important; providing funds to non-profits on the ground in Haiti is the more effective course in the long run -- for Canadian taxpayers and the Haitian people.

So please, no more talk of protectorates and neo-colonisim. It's not only offensive. It's quite frankly delusional.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Please Prove Me Wrong

The BBC is reporting that there are no Canadians providing emergency aid at Leogane in Haiti. The Canadian media reported that HMCS Athabaskan landed in Leogane yesterday while HMCS Halifax and Canada's DART Team landed at Jacmel, the ancestral home of our Governor General. (Translation for non-Canadians: Queen's reprsentative and stand-in when Elizabeth II is not in the country.)

I was puzzled by the discrepency, but British Press often get news wrong when it comes to Canada. (American media avoid making mistakes by not covering Canadian stories at all.) So I scanned the English speaking media from several countries and I found no mention of any Canadian ships in Haiti and few mentions of Canadians even providing aid to Haiti.

How do you miss ships in the harbour unless no one knows they are there?

If we are not contributing enough that anyone on the ground in Haiti knows we are there, then the mission is a failure and shame to Canadians and our Armed Forces. If that is so, the Government of Canada must stop wasting our money and bring them home. Or make the mission effective. Whether that can happen is out of our individual hands.

But Canadians can pray effectively. We can send our money to accredited organizations like World Vision, the Red Cross and Dcotors without Borders, knowing the Government of Canada will match our donations.

Still, I am deeply disappointed. Like milions of Canadians, I thought Canada's DART, Mounties, ships, sailors, and soldiers would be effective in Haiti. But, perhaps we were only deluding ourselves to get a good night's sleep. How very, very sad, for us and even more so for the Haitians.

One last thing,I would be absolutley delighted to be proven wrong. So, please leave your comments. Good news would be welcome.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Thanks N.J.

N.J. Lindquist interviewed me recently regarding my contribution to Hot Apple Cider: Stories to Stir the Heart & Warm the Soul.

N.J. Lindquist is an author, publisher, & advocate for Canadian writers, (especially those with a Christian world view.) I would like to her for allowing me to speak candidly about Canadian publishing, how Canadians view their own stories, and, especially, how that affects the work of Canadian writers with a Christian world view, whether they are Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or Anglican.)

While you are on the HAC site, take a look at interviews by other Canadians who have contributed to Hot Apple Cider: Stir the Heart & Warm the Soul.