Letter to the editor: Fund tuberculosis management, not torpedoes

CF-18 jet fighters are bombing ISIS. Special ops soldiers are training Iraqis. There have been firefights.

CF-18 jet fighters are bombing ISIS. Special ops soldiers are training Iraqis. There have been firefights. Cash is flowing from the federal treasury as we try to turn the tide of radical Islam on the other side of the planet.

It’s a pity that the government seems so willing to spend enormous sums fighting in this troubled part of the world while letting aid to the same countries languish. Five years ago Canada started a new program called TB REACH that funded tuberculosis (TB) detection programs in remote and poorly served areas. Areas like we are now sending our CF-18s.

TB REACH was Canada’s own program and we are its only founder. It has proven itself enormously successful at detecting TB and preventing the spread of this ancient, terrible disease. The funding of TB REACH has now come to an end with no sign it will be renewed. The irony is that five years of TB REACH has shown treatment it to be inexpensive and effective, while ten years of costly war against Islamist radicals in Afghanistan has produced, at best, inconclusive results.

Perhaps Minister Paradis thinks we can no longer afford TB REACH. Perhaps this government prefers spending tax dollars on bombs.

Nathaniel Poole

Victoria, B.C.