Oh Canada!

Hockey Night in Haiti

January 14, 2013

Multiple Pages
Hockey Night in Haiti

Those stopped clocks who run Canada’s state broadcaster aren’t even right twice a day. The best they can manage is once a week.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) says taxpayers must keep funding this great unwatched billion-dollar behemoth because the network has a never-hear-the-end-of-it “mandate” to “reflect Canadian values.”

Which “the Corpse” does indeed, but for just about nine minutes every Saturday night, and only during hockey season, and by accident rather than design.

That’s when Don Cherry’s red light goes on and the former Boston Bruins coach begins bellowing about the fruitcakes and foreigners destroying his beloved game.

He’s old, white, loud, and uneducated. He’s bigoted, mawkishly patriotic, and he dresses like an Edwardian time traveler stuck in 1970s Detroit trying to pass himself off as a pimp—and Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner has also been the CBC’s highest rated…thing for generations. It’s not even a show, you see, just a segment—possibly the only “intermission” in history that prompts people to run to their seats instead of away from them.

“Cherry tells embarrassing truths on purpose.”

By lucky chance, “shhhh!” is the same “word” in both official languages, and that’s the sound heard in sports bars and rec rooms across Quebec and the ROC (Rest of Canada) as the show’s familiar intro gallops into millions of ears.

To the countless Canucks who can’t stand him, however, Cherry is a perpetual outrage machine. The coach doesn’t make “Kinsley gaffes,” either—those “controversial” statements which accidentally reveal some embarrassing truth. Cherry tells embarrassing truths on purpose. His only “crime” is saying things lots of his countrymen agree with but aren’t allowed to say—or even let themselves think—anymore.

The latest Don Cherry “controversy” fits that category neatly.

In 2010, an earthquake killed approximately 300,000 people in Haiti but otherwise left it looking pretty much as filthy and broken as it has since it attained what is laughingly referred to as “independence.”

A few days before that event’s anniversary, Cherry sent out a series of Tweets:

Maybe it’s just me. But Canada gave Haiti 49.5 million dollars last year. Are we nuts?

We’ve got a guy dying in Toronto waiting 3 hours for an ambulance.

We got people waiting 7, 8, 10 hours, if they’re lucky, in a waiting room with one doctor for a zillion people.

The working guy is getting kind of sick of people spending money like that….Lets [sic] smarten up. As the old saying goes, charity begins at home. Am I right or is it just me?

Cherry’s first three messages contain what sane people used to call “facts,” and the last one is a pretty pedestrian personal opinion.

But in the Canada the CBC helped create, such comments won’t do. The easily offended promptly denounced the broadcaster as a racist, xenophobic, ignorant bigot—sounding every bit as blowhardy as Cherry himself, but without his hard data.

Frankly, Cherry didn’t go far enough. He didn’t mention Haitian-born “singer” Wyclef Jean’s foundation, which collected loads of cash after the earthquake and—you’ll never guess—turned out to be irreparably corrupt.

Cherry also neglected to mention that, besides flushing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars into the gaping Haitian sinkhole, Canada has welcomed plenty of Haitian immigrants over the years—some of them as “rape refugees”—and only a handful have amounted to something. Just as many have formed gangs such as the Bo-Gars and the Crack Down Posse.

Thoughtful folks have been asking “why Haiti is so hopeless” long before that earthquake and its aftermath. This puzzle is compounded by the fact that Haiti’s geographical conjoined twin, the Dominican Republic, is exponentially more successful by every measure.

The problem seems obvious, if only to me: Haiti is full of Haitians.

Do-gooders try to pawn Haitians off as French-speaking Roman Catholics, when they’re actually Creole-speaking voodoo practitioners—in other words, human anachronisms. Being the descendants of slaves has left them fatally allergic to work. Haitians haven’t even tried to profit off the West’s seemingly bottomless appetite for all things zombie, an entrepreneurial enterprise that should’ve been, well, a no-brainer.

I mean, holy hell, how stupid is this?

After a successful slave rebellion formally freed the Haitians from their French masters, the French still managed to bully the Haitians into paying them the huge indemnity for ‘lost property’ —that is, freed slaves—in exchange for diplomatic relations.

By the time these payments ended in 1947, Haiti had forked over $21 billion, proving once again that “the poor” have more money than they let on—they just spend it stupidly.

Back to Don Cherry. Believe it or not, this was an actual headline in a real Canadian newspaper:

Ottawa defends Haiti funding review after Don Cherry calls $50-million in aid to beleaguered country ‘nuts’

Well, it’s a real newspaper for now. The newish National Post is bleeding subscribers as it sheds the conservatism that was its initial selling point.

As for Ottawa, this guy may very well replace PM Harper in the next election.

But Don Cherry? The only thing that will outlive the coach is probably little old Haiti. How do you say “last laugh” in Creole?


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