Canada’s self-serving law and order ‘aid’ to Haiti

ON MAY 7, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon completed a three-day visit to Haiti, which was punctuated with announcements of various projects to be funded by the Canadian government. Given that health care and rebuilding of housing remain the most urgent need of the Haitian people, it is notable that aid being provided to Haiti by the Government of Canada is focused on law and order measures such as prisons, policing and the judicial system.

A May 7 Foreign Affairs’ press release reported that “the Government of Canada has contributed $4.4 million to the International Organization for Migration for the construction of the Croix-des-Bouquets prison and has also provided $2.5 million to Avocats sans frontières Canada for a project that aims to improve Haitians’ access to justice. […]

“Minister Cannon visited Jacmel and Léogâne, as well as Croix-des-Bouquets, where the prison is nearing completion. In addition to supporting the prison’s construction, Canada has committed to helping make it operational through the presence of Correctional Service Canada officers, who will train and mentor their Haitian counterparts. The new Port-au-Prince area detention centre will reduce overcrowding, helping improve prisoners’ health and safety.”

A May 5 press release states that the Canadian government “will increase its support for Haitian justice and security institutions by $10 million over last year’s contribution, to a total of $25 million.” It also quotes Minister Cannon, who states with utmost condescension: “Our common vision for Haiti is a country built squarely on the foundations of security, sovereignty, the rule of law, economic prosperity and equality of opportunity. This is not an impossible goal. It can be achieved under the leadership of Haiti’s government and with long-term commitment and collaboration among donors.”

TML Daily denounces Canada’s anti-people “assistance” to Haiti and the condescending and racist view espoused by Minister Cannon and the Canadian government that the Haitian people’s only hope of governing themselves will be through the tutelage of neo-colonial masters. Moreover, those institutions that the Government of Canada is funding are precisely those rejected by the Haitian people, such as the Haitian National Police which was dismantled during the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and resurrected following the 2004 coup. The Haitian National Police and the UN peacekeeping forces MINUSTAH (in collusion with Canadian-funded NGOs) have been central to violently suppressing and imprisoning the people’s forces especially supporters of President Aristide and activists of Fanmi Lavalas, ever since the coup instigated by the U.S., Canada and France took place.

Far from ensuring that Canada’s assistance to Haiti is consistent with the desire of Canadians to provide genuine humanitarian aid, the Canadian government is attempting to continue its anti-people annexationist program for Haiti under the guise of humanitarian aid in response to the January 12 earthquake. It must not pass! The working class and people know from their own experience how the police and military are used to suppress the people’s just struggles and that law and order measures cannot resolve any social or economic problems in the people’s favour whether in Canada or abroad. TML calls on everyone to step up and broaden the work in support of the Haitian people.

Source: TML Daily, May 18, 2010 – No. 92

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