Controversial hockey commentator Don Cherry is taking heat over criticizing the millions in aid Canada gives to Haiti after asking rhetorically on his Twitter feed, “Are we nuts?”
The controversy began Monday afternoon when Cherry, who is an NHL commentator for the CBC, tweeted that Canada was being too generous to the devastated island nation. He said Canada’s own citizens could use some of that $50 million in aid his country gave Haiti last year.
“You know , I am one of those guys, like most people in Canada, we like to help the countries all over the world. But sometimes it makes you wonder. Maybe it’s just me. But Canada gave Haiti 49.5 million dollars last year. Are we nuts?” Cherry wrote to his nearly 120,000 Twitter followers.
“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,” he continued. “We nickel and dime our doctors, nurses and veterans plus a million other services. Yet we can send almost 50 million to Haiti.”
Cherry’s series of tweets angered some in the universe over his explosive comments, with the most dissent coming from Twitter user @MrButterChicken, who rattled off statistics from the crippling 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The island nation, the poorest in the western hemisphere, is still rebuilding from the disaster.
“The earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 was by all measurements a ‘mega disaster,’” @MrButterChicken wrote. “Some 223,000 people were killed, 300,000 injured, and more than 2 million forced from their homes. Seventeen percent of Haiti’s central government employees were killed when government buildings collapsed.
“The UN experienced its largest loss of life on a single day ever, when 102 staff members died,” the Twitter handle continued. Although over a year has passed, at least 800,000 people still sleep in tents or in the open each night. That was the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development] report on it. The worst average Canadian's day is likely much better than the best average Haitian's day.”
Cherry wrote the tweets from his verified account, @CoachsCornerCBC.
@MrButterChicken slammed the CBC for its association with Cherry.
“I cannot believe the CBC give [sic] you a platform to spout your completely ignorant bulls---,” the user wrote. “If your point is the inefficiency of funding, maybe that's something. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater here.”
Other Twitter users were upset with Cherry.
“Classic xenophobia from Don Cherry,” wrote Peter Jetten.
“Why does your home end at your country's borders? That's extremely narrow-minded,” opined Trevor Engstrom.
Yet others supported the NHL commentators.
Newfoundland resident Robert Woolridge wrote, “spot on don. Totally agree.”
Canadian Khloe Fletcher said, “totally agree. We need to take care of our country to better help other countries!”