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Are we a country of Fools? PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Thursday, 01 December 2005 08:12
Are we a country of Fools?

Today is World AIDS Day. Canada should be holding its collective head high. We looked for awhile like we would be. Singer Bono even came to Canada to cheer us on. What happened?

"What the world needs is more Canadians," Bono.

Canadians use to have a reputation for caring, for doing the right thing. In many ways we are trading on that reputation. We use to be the honest broker, bringing opposite sides together and stood with our friends.
Today we are into a federal election. Lets reflect on the Liberals as it applies to International Aid, peace keeping and HIV/AIDS. Canada now ranks 33rd on peace keeping, a concept we perfected and lead the world on. Today we can't even get our rapid response team, DART anywhere rapidly unless we hitch a ride with someone or wait for a big enough taxi to come along.

International aid has also been less than what would or should be happening. Canada has cut foreign aid from the level maintained by the former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. Yes the so called "liberals" have been outdone by a conservative when it comes to helping out internationally.

Canada under Lester Pearson pledged to give .7% of our gross domestic product in foreign aid. Prime Minister Martin said we would work toward it, yet the only significant addition to spending was the the money Jack Layton and the NDP put in their budget amendment. Canada remains the only G-8 country to balance budgets and show continual growth, yet our leadership have decided that foreign aid is not important.

Many of you will recall Paul Martin traveling the world, demanding third world countries have access to generic HIV meds. Canada passed a law supposedly supportive of this initiative. Canada again was seen to be doing the right thing. As it turns out we did nothing. People in third world countries are dying because they have no access to cheap HIV medications.

If Canada has made it easier for cheap pills to be made then you might ask why are people still dying due to a lack of access to HIV meds? The answer is simple. Canada has not produced one single generic pill. Not one and many of you will recall Prime Minister Martin calling it a travesty that people were dying due to the fact they could not afford or get HIV medications. Canada will lead the world.

We did not, like foreign aid, Canada was all talk and no action. The law makes it darn near impossible for any generic manufacturer to make the drug. On World AIDS day, Canada should be able to hold its head up high, we had so many things to hope for, to be proud of.

It would appear that we need to bring back ACT UP chapters. It would appear the Liberals will have all the right words, we are in an election after all. How many times have they promised us they would act on AIDS, International Aid, Childcare, healthcare, and first nations issues?

As Bono stated, what the world needs is more Canadians. I would like our leaders to look at that. Lets be proud again.

"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me."

Rick Barnes is the GLBTQ editor for PEJ News. Rick lives in the Okanagan and works in communications for progressive voices.
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2005 08:12

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