It’s a good day to be a Canadian. The entire nation has every right to be proud, as Canada has shown incomparable compassion and goodwill towards their fellow man this month. And the timing for Canada to show its generosity couldn’t be better.
With the tragic earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti taking place a couple of weeks ago, the impoverished Caribbean nation is still reeling from its worst natural disaster in 200 years. The current death toll is up over 100,000 and the number of people missing and injured continue to mount. That number includes 236 Canadians. And our country has not forgotten any of them.
Thus far, Canadians have donated very generously towards the relief effort in Haiti. So much so that this past weekend, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the federal government would be lifting the $50 million cap he previously put on matching the donations made by Canadian citizens. In fact, donations from Canadians have already exceeded $60 million, making us “the world’s most generous contributor of aid to Haiti on a per-capita basis” according to the Canwest News Service.
In this past Saturday’s edition of The Toronto Star, Harper was quoted as saying that Canadian donations have exceeded all expectations. With the cap removed, the federal government will now continue to match all ongoing contributions towards the relief effort in Haiti dollar for dollar. This, of course, provides an added incentive for caring and concerned Canadians to continue to donate as they know that all contributions will be doubled.
Not only has Canada agreed to continue matching the donation of its citizens but the nation is also fast-tracking the adoption of Haitian children. As The Star pointed out, “The federal immigration department has been working with provincial counterparts to expedite the processing of some 154 adoption applications that were already well-advanced when the earthquake struck almost two weeks ago.”
One of the reasons that Canadians have likely been so quick to donate towards the Haitian relief effort is because there are so many ways that one can donate. Collection boxes have been set up at schools and stores all over the country. As well, the advent of “text donations” has made it virtually impossible not to donate at least $5 towards the cause.
For example, texting the word “AID” to 45678 will place a $5 charge on a cell phone user’s bill, representing a donation towards Canada For Haiti. According to The Toronto Star, “Technology is also making it easier for Canadians to donate online; 80 per cent of donations to the Red Cross are done online, or even by texting from a cellphone…That technology has put cash in the hands of aid agencies faster, which has helped speed their response.”
The article notes that, to date, Canada is leading the world in providing aid to Haiti by giving an average of nearly $2 for every single citizen. So while Canadians can all be very proud today for being leaders in relief effort contributions, they are encouraged to give for far less selfish reasons. We are needed, and we are heeding the call. Congratulations on showing Haiti and the world what we are all about. Keep up the good work.