Straight Talk
EDITORIAL - Grapes' gripes bodycheck aid

Credits: QMI AGENCY

EDITORIAL | QMI AGENCY

Love him or hate him, Don Cherry obviously packs a lot of rock 'em, sock 'em punch in the political arena as well as in a hockey rink, no doubt leading to a vast number of professional editorialists and commentators pulling out their hair in frustration.

Why has he such clout, and not us?

He ain't no writur.

But Grapes nonetheless goes on his Twitter account to diss Canada's $50-million aid package to Haiti by calling it "nuts" and, almost before his series of tweets come to an end, Ottawa is sending out missives to both defend and re-evaluate Canada's assistance to Haiti after first denying reports that aid to the earthquake-battered Caribbean nation had been frozen.

Would any editorial get that kind of immediate response?

Or any political columnist?

For here is what Cherry tweeted to his 120,000-plus followers in just one of his funding-bashing outbursts.

"We nickel and dime our doctors, nurses and veterans plus a million other services," he wrote. "Yet we can send almost 50 million to Haiti."

Sentiments similar to Cherry's have been expressed over the years in many ways, and in various newspapers, as a means of legitimately questioning the success of a multitude of foreign and emergency aid programs -- with most resulting in little or no answer coming from either the government or the bureaucrats.

But not so when it comes to Don Cherry.

No sooner had he rattled off in a bunch of 132-characters-or-less tweets than International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino was responding on the Canadian International Development Agency's website and admitting that, while the Canadian taxpayers' aid to Haiti was somewhat successful overall, it had also fallen short of expectations.

Coincidence?

"Our government has a responsibility to maximize the value of Canadian taxpayer dollars," said Fantino. "That is why Canada is reviewing its long-term engagement strategy with Haiti.

"(But) we remain concerned with the slow progress of development in Haiti, in large part due to weaknesses in their governing institutions (and) want to improve the results achieved."

This is code, of course, for suspicions of corruption, misdirected funds, and dubious accounting practices.

But don't hold your breath for the government to confirm or deny.

Maybe Don Cherry should ask.

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