Months ago, Canadians paid to send a bunch of Conservatives to the Ukraine. When they arrived, those Conservatives promised the struggling country a whopping $200,000 in aid. Yes, that’s big money to you, but on the international level this is like you giving a friend your old SEGA Dreamcast console with no games and no controllers, and expecting it to help his family recover from the house fire they suffered the previous week. It isn’t very helpful. Thankfully, a few weeks later, our government realized how much of a penny-pinching jerk it had made of itself, so it increased its offer to $220 million. Announcements rang out across our nation: “Canada stands with Ukraine,” “Canada commits to democracy,” etc. Now, months later, the money we pledged has gone a long way toward rebuilding the Ukraine, right?
No, it hasn’t. Surely that’s because the Ukraine is so unstable and corrupt that our money went into some dictator’s pocket? Nope, wrong again. In fact, we never gave the Ukraine the money. Of the $220 million pledged, Canada has so far donated $0. Now would be a good time to cue the logical explanation.
When asked about the failure to deliver the funds, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said that his government made clear that all money would come through the International Monetary Fund. This is true, he did say that. He said it much more quietly than he said “WE ARE GIVING YOU LOTS AND LOTS OF MONEY!!!”, but he did say it. This week, he assured the public that Canada will deliver the promised money, but added that Canada will not “write blank cheques.” Interesting.
So far as the world can tell, Canada has written nothing but a blank cheque. We wrote our name, the Ukraine’s name, and $220 MILLION! in capital letters, but we never signed the damn thing. In other words, we hyped up the crowd, and then blamed the IMF when the band didn’t show up. That isn’t cool, man.
Baird has a reputation for being a loudmouth. Canadians know it, Ukrainians know it, and the UN sure as heck knows it. For the last few months, Baird has been barking at newspapers to let them know all about the great work he’s been doing. Now, since we know he hasn’t really been doing it, maybe he should take his loud mouth to the IMF and let them know how much we want to deliver the money we promised. He can tell the IMF that the Ukraine’s “largely free and fair” elections are proof that the country is ready to receive the help we said we would provide. Anything else is just grandstanding, and the Ukraine deserves better than that.