Not being politically involved, I lost track of Haiti until President Aristide was overthrown in a coup, but by then I was interested in politics and followed the story through the wonderful Z Magazine and through numerous books. I was appalled at the blatant hypocrisy of the USian (and mainstream Canadian) response to Haiti's plight. Aristide's return and second removal enraged me. The fact that Canada had joined in directly in this abomination sickens me to this day.
From time to time I go to check up on what our officials are saying on Haiti. Here's a big, honking committee [pdf] report from Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. There's just a couple of snippets about Haiti apparently:
Hon. Lawrence Cannon: Thank you.
Of course, I think Canada is quite clear that we've made a long-term commitment to
Haiti, which is at the heart of Canada's vocation in the Americas, so to speak.
We're directing unprecedented financial and political resources towards ensuring
the success of international efforts in Haiti, with $555 million between 2006
and 2011 going to the poorest country in the Americas.
As a matter of fact, and I've mentioned this before, it's our single largest
investment in the Americas and our second worldwide in terms of our
contribution. After the United States, we're the second-largest donor in
involvement is based on strong national interests, security, and values, and
basically reflects the close cultural and demographic links between Canada and
participated and are participating, of course, in the UN stabilization mission
in Haiti, with a current contribution of four Canadian Forces personnel, 96
civilian police officers, and eight corrections experts. We're a leader in
security system reform in Haiti.
you know, I think, probably going back to the larger picture, the Prime Minister
did name a Minister of State for the Americas. There's a renewed engagement on
the part of the government to do work with the Americas. Minister Kent has been
our earlier discussions, we alluded to the free trade agreements with both
Colombia and Peru. Minister Day is very active there as well.
expect that all of the efforts Canada is putting into the Americas are certainly
going to help us in the short, the medium, and the long terms.
Mr. Peter Goldring (Edmonton East, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
Minister, Mr. Hirst, and Mr. Edwards, for appearing here today.
re-engagement in the Americas certainly is a positive step. It's being very well
received by almost all countries of the region. It certainly is a direct
contrast to years past, where Canada has been seen as though it has been
disengaging from the region.
now, with the evolving geopolitical landscape of the region, it even becomes a
strategic imperative. Economically, the area is being viewed by other world
powers too, whether it's the European Union or the two Chinas or other Asian
countries, so there's a reason to participate. China has a tax-free port on St.
Lucia, which is indicative of their interests throughout the area.
of the countries in the region, though, where certainly Canada makes one of its
preeminent efforts to help, is Haiti. Haiti is a very big priority in the
region, of course, not just for humanitarian reasons but also as a necessity,
and politically and economically as an imperative, as a sign of Canada's
whole-of-government engagement throughout the region, to participate not just
politically and economically in the region but also in a humanitarian way. It's
a kind of symbol for that.
Minister, I'm wondering if you could tell us what steps are being taken with the
efforts to help Haiti evolve politically and stability-wise.
Canada is re-engaging in the Americas. Our strategy for the Americas is
designed to promote economic prosperity, security and democratic governance
through bilateral and multilateral engagement.
addition to focusing on promoting social safety nets and a Canadian model of
democracy, we are focusing on a robust trade liberalization agenda to ensure
Canadian access to growing markets.
Haiti, Canada will maintain its engagement and focus on high level political
engagement, as well as stabilization, reconstruction and long-term development.
Canada is Haiti's second largest bilateral donor.
fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago in April of this year will
provide the opportunity for Canada to reinforce our security and economic
interests in the region.
this year, Canada hosts the Caribbean Development Bank's Board of Governors
meeting in Halifax.
I have to straighten up my office. I'll type more and fix formatting later. The point though is that this is pretty weak stuff for such an allegedly important initiative. I searched for all FAIT Committee hearings from January 1st, 2008 to June 30th, 2009 and that was all that was said.