Friday, August 31, 2007

Nope, No Problems Here....

The emaciated young girl in the picture is a patient at the Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar City, Afghanistan. She is but one of many supposed beneficiaries of approximately $5 million contributed by Canada for supplies, food, and infrastructure at the hospital. If the girl seems a little underwhelmed, she can be forgiven. You see, no one at the Mirwais Hospital can confirm that any of Canada's aid money (given to the Red Cross via CIDA) has ever been received.

Video evidence collected by the Senlis Council has documented child starvation and a largely dysfunctional hospital, lacking in beds, equipment, medications and staff. According to Norine MacDonald, lead researcher for the Senlis Council: "We could not find evidence of CIDA's work or CIDA-funded work at the hospital. We were not able to find the maternity project, or evidence of the $5 million that CIDA says it has given".

Bev Oda, deftly picking up the reins of ineptitude from Josee Verner, has replied merely that she doesn't have those concerns "at all". Demonstrating that peculiar blend of incompetence and arrogance, she remains convinced that "progress" is being made. I don't mean to nitpick here, but wouldn't it be in the government's interest to ensure that Canadian money isn't being funneled directly into the pockets of corrupt administrators and Afghan officials? Don't we owe at least that much to the innocent victims of the NATO misadventure in Afghanistan?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What a Sorry Loss This Will Be

First Lady Laura Bush has informed Janette Howard that, sadly, she will be unable to attend the upcoming APEC summit due to a pinched nerve. However will the show go on?

Janette Howard is of course the wife of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who will be hosting George W. Bush and other regional leaders at the APEC meeting in Sydney this September. Howard has for the past few years been living in the shadow of Tony Blair as one of Dubbya's international cadre of professional bootlickers. He gained some notoriety recently when he quite gratuitously offered up his thoughts on Barack Obama's presidential candidacy.
"If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats."
On the domestic front, Howard is feeling some political heat. Richard Farmer (former advisor to PM Bob Hawke) has offered Howard some perspective...with a Canadian twist.
[In 2004] Minority government seemed comfortably within the Conservative grasp. So, there was plenty of egg on lots of faces, especially those of political journalists and pollsters, when the [Paul Martin] Liberals were returned to office, albeit with a decline in members, having gained 37 percent of the national vote. That six percentage point error, where the predicted vote of 31 per cent became 37 per cent, is the kind of boost John Howard needs.
Keep plugging away John, but don't think about the Canadian election of 1993 when a Conservative Government did the same thing and ended up with two members in a Parliament of 295!

Farmer's examples are a tad on the irrelevant side. Although both had to battle voter fatigue with their respective parties, neither Martin in '04 nor Campbell in '93 were in the same situation as Howard, who is currently vying for his own 5th term as PM. But isn't it interesting that the debacle of Kim Campbell's campaign trainwreck, fourteen years later, still manages to echo in halls of punditry down under?