Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Someone needs to tell Bob where to Geld Off

Apparently Bob Geldof has some marching orders for the Prime Minister of Canada...

Geldof puts pressure on Martin to increase aid

CTV.ca News Staff

Prime Minister Paul Martin shouldn't bother going to the G-8 summit in Scotland in July unless he plans to increase aid to impoverished African nations, Bob Geldof said Tuesday.

Geldof said Canada should take leadership on this issue, and up its contributions to the levels set out by Lester B. Pearson 35 years ago. Pearson set a goal of allocating 0.7 per cent of the GDP for aid.

"There is no use in your prime minister coming to Scotland, unless he is prepared to do this deal," Geldof said to a Canadian audience via satellite Tuesday.

"If he's not prepared, stay at home. Just stay at home. Don't come.

"You're not welcome unless you are prepared to do something finally and irrevocably on behalf of the poor of this world," Geldof said.

Geldof made the comments as it was announced that the Canadian Live 8 concert would be held in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto.

Can you believe the stones on this guy (rock pun not intended)? Who died and made him King of Ireland, anyway? Sorry, I don't remember all of us electing him President of Earth or anything. I'm sure his heart's in the right place, but how does he get his shirt on in the morning? Must button up, cause he sure as hell couldn't pull it on. Hey, Bob, the Queen of England doesn't talk to her First Ministers like that. I know you feel strongly, but you are not this guy's boss. At least be diplomatic when you're telling him how to spend my money, alright?

3 comments:

G said...

Yeah, I admit, Bob might of jumped the gun. Though I do understand fully where he's coming from.

PM the PM did promise, during the initial election campaign, that we would meet the aid targets no matter what. Now he is wavering a bit. Hasn't yet gone back on his word, but the threat of him doing so is there. PM the PM used enough "ifs" in his statements on foreign aid the other day to raise Geldoff's eyebrows. I have to admit I saw flags also - though am not quite ready to react yet ... I'd rather wait and see what happens when Dithers & Co actually crunch the numbers.

In a sense I do appreciate PM the PM's response ... it was honest - if the money is there, great, but if not, well, what do you want me to do? That said, we're talking about a ten-year project here. The money can be allocated over that time, as Jack Layton noted on Newsworld the other day, so long as foreign aid remains a top policy.

Hey, this is Canada's place in the world we're discussing. Our reputation as a rather generous nation precedes us, as PM the PM is finding out, and while Geldoff spoke perhaps too soon, there is little doubt his perspective was that of an international view of Canada being a nation that cares and can be counted on to help the needy. At least he called upon history in his verbosity by quoting Pearson and his pledge. The fact that we sit 6th out of the G8 in foreign aid, given our surpluses, is a bit surprising and from that standpoint I understand Bob's frustrations.

He should have held back, yes, but with the concerts in just over a week, you can't blame him for trying to drum up interest in Canada in the issue of foreign aid, regardless of whether or not he was right to speak the way he did. And from that standpoint his calling out of Dithers certainly has worked. And it might have all been as simple as that.

Regardless, I for one would like to see Canada in the top 3 or 4 of the G8 for foreign aid. It's who we are, where we belong, and historically a large part of what makes Canadians proud of their country.

Lone Primate said...

I don't mind Bob Geldof holding Paul Martin's feet to the fire. It's the way he did it. Reminding Martin of his commitments ought to be done subtly. After all, this the hard-earned tax money of a sovereign nation, a country with responsibilities that might preclude, however temporarily, humanitiarian largesse, no matter how flattering. I know Bob Geldof's a big important figure who sings songs and gets cameras pointed in his face for it and all, but he's not privy to the affairs of state in PMO in Ottawa. Charity begins at home, and it is, after all, charity. Geldof forgets that. Canada is morally compelled, but not legally obliged, to donate this money. To be blunt, if the United Way showed up at my door and told me to shell out or stay put, they'd find themselves in danger of having their lips slammed in the door while they kissed my ass. That's not how you get the wallets open.

G said...

I agree.

The motive was cool, the intent was noble, but the action was, well, annoying, frankly. I'm with you there.

But at least it drew attention. Like a said, perhaps just a stunt to get people talking. Smart one if it was, and Geldof's certainly bright enough, and knows enough about media impact, to do just such a thing.

Of course this is the conspiracy theorist in me talking again. He's been awake much of the time lately ... whole world seems to be making him go 'hmmmm' these days.