#100 – Michael Lee-Chin Pulls a Canada

English Canadians seem to have a thing with offering huge sums of money and then only delivering a small portion of that total pledge.

For the record, this year saw Canada fail to deliver $125 million in foreign aid – Foreign Affairs just couldn’t be bothered to reach into its money jar and pull that out like it said it would. Now, I would love to be able to do this with my rent and other bills, responding to the inquiries of assorted Canadian companies by shrugging my shoulders and saying “well, you guys made a profit last quarter. Clearly you don’t need me”. But no Canadian is Canadian enough to claw back money that people have been told to expect without consequence or anyone in Canada noticing. To renege on offers made to the needy, regardless of whether or not you get cold feet, is simply shameful.

The suggestion that one fails to do as they say they are going to, particularly when it comes to funding charity, requires Canada levels at least as high as those of Michael Lee-Chin. A Chinese-Jamaican who moved to Canada, this ~$2 billion fellow made several philanthropic offers, including $30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum, one of that province’s few tries at being cultured or indeed civilized. Seeing that the ROM had yet to include a protruding glass cancer sticking out of it, Michael’s donation scored him the right to name that tumor and to set the ROM a’Renovating!

…And then the money didn’t come, forcing the ROM to take on provincial loans. Sure glad that we’re funding this guy’s ego-trip after the money he promised didn’t materialize. Now he’s on a $600,000/year payment plan, which ensures that he will reach his initial obligation in a mere 30 years. Presumably some of that money is going to the essential charity work that is paying off loans that wouldn’t need to have been taken if the rich guy actually did what he said he would do, meaning that all Chin did was to make the ROM pay more for less.

Chin himself got his money from “investment” and mysterious connections to the notoriously money-absorbing Caribbean, meaning that he was stupid lucky and provided nothing innovative to the businesses that he backed. He also dares to criticize people for calling him out on his behavior, suggesting that it would make people not want to be like him. Why we want more people like Michael Lee-Chin, people who demand accolades for providing help* to those who ask for it without actually providing the help, eludes me.Yeah, Mickey – we need more people whose ego costs the public.

Look, folks – regardless of the merits of aid, or of donations, or of anything, you still made a promise and people are still leaning on that promise. It is a colossally dick quintessentially Canadian move to pull the fiscal rug out from someone’s feet, especially when that “someone” is holding a tin for a charitable cause.

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