Red Cross offers an Opportunity for the Federal and Provincial Government on Attawapiskat


THUNDER BAY – Editorial – With the move by the Red Cross into assisting with aid and relief in Attawapiskat, there is an opportunity for the McGuinty Government and the Harper Government to step up. Often when there is a disaster, or crisis, the federal government will offer to match the funds raised by Canadians to make sure there is a maximum effort to help in the disaster. Right now that opportunity sits before both governments.

By offering to match the donations by Canadians, the two governments would make a strong statement that the time is here to get more involved in making sure that conditions on the Attawapiskat and on other First Nation communities in the far north are to a standard that we as Canadians would all expect.

The simplicity of the situation is that these situations, if solved now will serve to benefit all Canadians. The people in Attawapiskat face some serious challenges.

Challenges that are equal to those faced in Haiti, Pakistan, or in Africa, where the Canadian government has matched the donations made to registered charities, face those in Attawapiskat.

While it is not common practice for provincial governments to offer to match funds which are donated to international efforts, in Ontario, where the provincial government changed the royalty program for diamond mines, perhaps it would be fitting that the McGuinty government direct some of those funds toward matching the donations from Ontarians as well.

For both levels of government, perhaps the message should be that fixing problems now is going to be far less costly than fixing them later.

The opportunity to do so right now sits before our governments. The only question is will they take advantage of that opportunity?

James Murray

For information on how to donate to the Red Cross – Click here.

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