Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Canadian Liberation of Holland - 60 Years Ago

Canadians, Dutch honour war dead


GROESBEEK, Netherlands — The last time John McConachie saw his big brother Bill, he had driven his tank right to the doors of the Dutch hospital where he lay recovering from a leg wound suffered in the early days of the campaign to liberate the Netherlands.

Four months later, on Feb. 26, 1945, Bill McConachie and his entire tank crew were killed by German fire near the town of Nijmegen.

Today, John McConachie returned to Holland for the first time in 60 years and sat just metres away from his brother’s grave during an emotional memorial ceremony at the Canadian War Cemetery in the small village of Groesbeek.

“It’s very touching,” McConachie, 83, of Montreal, said following the sombre event held on a damp, overcast day to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.

“I didn’t think it would be quite as emotional to see the grave as it was.”

McConachie, a veteran representing the Royal Montreal Regiment, still holds fond memories of the brother he described as a rebel, whose swagger he could distinguish from afar because he insisted on carrying two .45-calibre weapons for protection instead of the single gun most soldiers wore.

“He was like Billy the Kid,” recalled McConachie.

Today’s ceremony, which drew about 1,500 veterans and about 6,500 others, mainly grateful Dutch citizens, was held to honour the 2,338 Canadians buried there.

It was one of the biggest events in a week of activities planned to honour the survivors and remember the more than 7,600 Canadians killed in the nine-month campaign to free Holland from its Nazi occupiers.

With many veterans on the trip now in their mid-to-late 80s, Veterans Affairs expects this to be the last large-scale pilgrimage it organizes.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Canada's Pathetic African Policy - Take a Pill, Africa!

May 2, 2005.
Thomas Walkom
Africa still awaits Canadian drugs - not a single pill exported, doctors say

Legislation was passed year ago


OTTAWA—Almost a year after Canada won global praise for passing legislation to provide cheap drugs for poor countries, the law hasn't resulted in a single pill being exported.

Government officials say the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act has been stalled by technicalities. Critics say it is fatally flawed and will never have any real impact.

"We're still in a waiting game," said Tony Parmar of Doctors Without Borders, which had hoped the bill would be a lifeline for countries devastated by AIDS, malaria and other treatable diseases.

"The conclusion we can draw is that one year later, not a single drug has been exported," Parmar said. "We're hopeful we can do that in the future but there's no guarantees at this point. To be honest, there hasn't been a whole lot of interest for the generic drug makers to use this legislation."

Read the whole thing [here].

This reminds me in a painful, shameful way of the breathless manner in which PM Dithers announced Canada would help the tsunamai victims. Two weeks later our "emergency team" were still packing their underwear while the US and Aussie's were on the ground saving lives.