Sanctions in Haiti: Canadians in the crosshairs of the federal government

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Sanctions in Haiti: Canadians in the sights of the federal government

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during her two-day visit days in Canada.

Canadians who finance criminal gangs in Haiti can take it for granted. They risk being sanctioned by the Government of Canada.

Impunity is not an option, said Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly in an interview behind the scenes of power before adding: The purpose of our sanctions regime , is that it is effective. So if ever there are people in Canada who are part of this system of corruption, who profit from the violence in Haiti, they will certainly be punished.

On October 21, the United Nations Security Council approved the use of sanctions to get the country out of the crisis that is suffocating it. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry have also called for the intervention of an international force to restore security. Minister Joly does not want to go down this path for the moment, not before having obtained the report of the assessment mission she sent to Haiti last week.

The question was also on the agenda of his meetings with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Ottawa and Montreal last week. Ms. Joly believes that any initiative must obtain the consent of the Haitian authorities and the collaboration of the international community.

Life is unbearable for the people of this small Caribbean country. Armed gangs control the entrance to the country's largest oil terminal and the main roads surrounding the capital, Port-au-Prince.

It is one more misfortune after the COVID-19 pandemic, the assassination in 2021 of President Jovenel Moïse and the powerful earthquake hit the western peninsula of the island a month later. Minister Joly believes that time is running out: The country is on the brink and faces immense despair. So of course we have a moral obligation to act.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy, which will establish Canada's approach to diplomacy, defense and the economy in this great region of the world, is still pending. The Minister of Foreign Affairs hopes to unveil it soon.

Our goal is always to defend and promote our Canadian interests in the Indo-Pacific region, added Ms. Joly.

Ottawa wants to increase its commercial relations there. The Minister also announced Canada's intention to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, an American initiative to which thirteen other countries, including Australia, South Korea, India and Japan, have joined to solidify their links.

There are also serious security challenges in this region as China seeks to establish itself as a global power. But on this subject, Minister Joly emphasizes that Canada has its eyes wide open.

China is a country that has a very aggressive rhetoric, not just towards Canada, but towards several countries, said the Minister. Any departure by Chinese leaders from international law will be denounced by Ottawa, added Ms. Joly.

Despite the tense relations between Ottawa and Beijing in recent years, the channels of communication remain open. Canada has also agreed to take over from China, which was unable to host the Conference of the Parties on biodiversity this year.

COP15 will therefore take place in Montreal next December.

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