Stop the photo op already


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The disaster in Haiti is just heartbreaking.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/01/2010 (4770 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The disaster in Haiti is just heartbreaking.

As I drove home last night, hoping to make in time to scarf down a banana and throw on my gym clothes before heading off to a basketball practice, the radio was playing stories about Haiti.

I could not help but think philosophically about the situation, be grateful for the life I am privileged to lead and stop racing through traffic worrying about being late.

Today my reporter’s cap came back on and the cynic within me made an appearance.

Late last night we got a photo from the prime minister’s office of Stephen Harper on the telephone, presumably with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, discussing the situation in Haiti.

Today Defence Minister Peter Mackay is posing in Halifax as the HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Halifax leave for Haiti.

At about the same time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, were staging a photo op making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross.

Enough already. Stop posing for photo ops and just get on with the business of helping Haiti.

Much like Jean Chrétien was heavily and rightly criticized for getting in the way in a photo op of him throwing a sand bag onto a dyke in the middle of the 1997 flood in Winnipeg, these kinds of photo ops smack of political opportunism and are out of place.

Canadians compelled to donate to relief organizations helping the millions of Haitians in desperate need will not do so because of a photo of a prime minister handing over a cheque. It will be because the photos and videos coming from Haiti are horrific and the evidence of need is immense.

Canadians want to know the ships are on their way and what we’re sending so we know Canada is doing what it can to help. A photo op of a minister can do little but delay the voyage.

The Canadian response to Haiti thus far has been prompt and thorough. Let’s stop the photo ops and just keep the aid flowing.

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