Canada seeks 'consensus' on best way to intervene in Haiti
Justin Trudeau maintained that his government was seeking common ground with all countries involved, including Haiti.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signals his government is seeking “consensus” on how best to provide international support for Haiti that is “acceptable” to its people, while the Haitian Ambassador to Canada says that the country is “well placed” to play a leading role.
Canada is very well placed to lead what could be an international mission that would be deployed in Haiti to help authorities to respond to this immediate security need, Ambassador Wien Weibert Arthus said on Wednesday while testifying before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
A few hours earlier, Mr. Trudeau indicated that a Canadian mission recently returned to the country had made it possible to gather a lot of information and that his government was busy finding the best avenue to take.
We know that sanctions are not enough in themselves, but we must be very careful that an intervention is acceptable to the [Haitian] people and to the government. x27;help, he argued.
Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted during his visit to Canada that discussions were underway regarding a multilateral military intervention in Haiti. Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has made the request to international institutions, including the United Nations.
We understand how many Haitians there are who do not want to see international intervention, continued Mr. Trudeau. It is a reality. At the same time, we look at the crisis, the rapes, the violence, the poverty, the cholera, the health crisis and we say to ourselves: ''We have to intervene in a one way or another”.
During his appearance, Ambassador Arthus acknowledged that it is difficult for many Haitians to accept an involvement of foreign stakeholders for a way out of the crisis, mentioning that previous missions have left bad memories behind them.
I therefore see an opportunity – certainly not the happiest – but an opportunity nonetheless to activate Canadian international solidarity with regard to Haiti, he pleaded.
Wien Weibert Arthus, Ambassador of Haiti to Canada, testified before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
He insisted that he considers an international mission to bring about lasting change for the people of Haiti.
< p>“This solidarity should not be confined to the sole issue of security. It must be extended to construction or reconstruction projects in the country. »
— Wien Weibert Arthus, Ambassador of Haiti to Canada
The ambassador mentioned that a possible military mission should include the sending of engineers among the troops, underlining in passing the 12 years that have passed since the devastating earthquake of 2010 in Haiti. He also argued that investments in the country's economy are necessary to ensure, among other things, that young Haitians join the labor market rather than getting involved in gangs.< /p>
However, several elected officials sitting on the Foreign Affairs Committee noted that the current Haitian government was not elected and that elections have not been held for years. Others mentioned corruption and links between gangs and politics.
Should the Canadian government look [to sanction] politicians from previous governments including the current government [looking for those who are] corrupt [and] who finance armed gangs in Haiti?, asked the MP liberal Emmanuel Dubourg, who is of Haitian origin.
The ambassador replied that all those who finance gangs must be punished.
He was less vocal, however, when Mr. Dubourg asked him to clarify whether Prime Minister Henry's request for intervention was an admission of failure that the current government lacks the capacity to lead the country. Next question, Mr. Arthus replied, repeating the formula the deputy had suggested he use if a question made him uncomfortable as a diplomat.
Bloc Québécois Stéphane Bergeron also spoke of the highly questioned legitimacy of Prime Minister Henry, pointing out that members of the Haitian diaspora are sending discordant messages to federal elected officials about a possible international intervention in Haiti. Many support this scenario and others absolutely want to avoid it, he noted.
How are we able to ensure that the demand that has been addressed by the Haitian government is what Haitians want?, he said.
The ambassador admitted that consensus is difficult to obtain , but defended the legitimacy of the current government.
I must admit that we are not, in Haiti, in a completely constitutional situation, but we still have a government in place. We have a Prime Minister who is internationally recognized, he said.
New Democrat Heather McPherson countered that the reality is that he is an unelected leader, urging Mr. Arthus to clarify what discussions are underway with the opposition and civil society to ensure a transition to upcoming elections.
The Ambassador replied that it was up to all parties to come to an agreement while asserting that Mr. Henry has been holding negotiations even since last year.
This government, in place since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, argues that elections cannot be held in times of instability. The reason was first cited as the COVID-19 pandemic, then widespread gun violence.
Haiti is currently facing violence perpetrated by armed gangs, food insecurity and an outbreak of cholera.
A boy drinks water while receiving treatment for cholera at Immaculée Conception Hospital, Les Cayes, Haiti.
US Secretary of State Blinken indicated that the contemplated mission would be to support the overstretched Haitian police force. We are discussing among ourselves, but also with many other countries to find out who could participate in such a mission, and who will lead it, he mentioned during his stay in Canada.
To alongside him, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, had called for a humanitarian truce.
Canada continues to monitor the situation closely and we will always favor solutions by and for the Haitians, she said.
Appearing before a parliamentary committee on Monday, the Canadian ambassador to Haiti, Sébastien Carrière, said that no decision can be made. was still taken on the role that Canada will play in a future international intervention.
He nevertheless affirmed that many people in Haiti and in the Caribbean region hope that Canada will assume a leadership role in supporting this country.