of five parliamentarians representing the Canadian Section of ParlAmericas
travelled to Port-au-Prince from 18 to 24 March 2012. The delegation was led by
the Honourable Laurie Hawn, P.C., M.P.; also participating were the Honourable
Céline Hervieux-Payette, P.C., Senator, the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu,
Senator, Ms. Pauline Ayala, M.P., and Ms. Joyce Murray, M.P. The
parliamentarians were assisted by Mr. Leif-Erik Aune, executive secretary to
the delegation, and Mr. Andre Barnes, Library of Parliament analyst to the
delegation. In preparation for this activity, on February 9 and 10, 2012, Mr.
Randy Hoback, M.P., travelled to Washington, D.C., to hold meetings with
various international organizations. Mr. Hoback was assisted by Mr. Leif-Erik
Aune, executive secretary to the delegation.
the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the International Executive Committee of
the Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA), which has since been renamed
ParlAmericas, adopted a resolution expressing its solidarity with the people of
Haiti. In April 2010, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Section of FIPA
resolved to hold a bilateral visit to Haiti. This bilateral visit was, however,
twice postponed by the Executive Committee on the recommendation of Department
of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) for substantive, logistic
and safety reasons. It was agreed in February 2011 that a bilateral visit
to Haiti would be held following the April 2011 elections in Haiti.
of this bilateral visit were many. In broad terms, the delegation held as an
objective to convene meetings with a wide variety of groups and individuals,
including Haitian parliamentarians, Canadian officials and stakeholders, and personnel
and professionals providing services on the ground to Haitians. These meetings
were meant to provide the delegation with a more complete comprehension of the
issues and challenges to reconstruction and development in Haiti, as well as
the effectiveness of aid delivery and the extent to which federally-funded
programs were achieving their intended goals. The delegation also held a strong
interest in collaborating with and providing support to their parliamentary
counterparts in Haiti.
of the visit, as such, included professional capacity building for
parliamentarians; institutional capacity building for the Haitian National
Assembly; ParlAmericas engagement; and information gathering on the topics of
public safety, citizen security, reforestation, food security, Presidential and
parliamentary relations, social services, land ownership, and the status of
women in Haiti.
performs an important role in the hemisphere, acting as a liaison between the
Parliaments of the Americas. The bilateral visit provided the Canadian
delegation with an invaluable opportunity to cultivate positive
inter-parliamentary relations between Canadian and Haitian parliamentarians. If
further allowed the Canadian delegation to engage in frank and focussed
discussions with Haitian decision‑makers, to exchange information,
advance Canadian interests and values, and to clarify expectations that
Canadians hold in respect to its financial contributions to Haiti.
PREPARATORY MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
On February 9 and 10, 2012, Mr. Randy Hoback, M.P., travelled to
Washington, D.C., to hold meetings in preparation for the Canadian Section of
ParlAmericas’ bilateral visit to Haiti. The meetings, held with various
international organizations, were meant to shed light on ParlAmericas’
activities in the Caribbean, and in Haiti in particular, and to encourage
regional organizations to collaborate with ParlAmericas and to support its
met with Mr. José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of
American States (OAS), where the two discussed the possibility of expanding
cooperation in the Caribbean between ParlAmericas and the OAS. Following their
meeting, Mr. Hoback and Secretary General Insulza signed a Memorandum of
Understanding, to define an enhanced relationship between the OAS and
also met with H.E. Duly Brutus, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS
and President of the OAS Permanent Council, and the two discussed the
importance of supporting a parliamentary dimension to the OAS, to match the
importance placed on other actors, such as Civil Society. Ambassador Brutus
strongly emphasised the importance of parliaments, and expressed his hope that
the OAS would strengthen its support of parliaments during Haiti’s presidency
of the Permanent Council.
met with Mr. Regis Cunningham from the World Bank, where the two discussed
areas of synergy between ParlAmericas and the World Bank. Having attended a
ParlAmericas meeting in the Caribbean earlier in 2012, Mr. Cunningham felt that
there was great potential for cooperation between the two organizations and
that close communication would permit the World Bank to keep abreast of
developments in the needs of parliaments and potential benefits of a
partnership with ParlAmericas.
met with Ms. Vinita Watson, Director for Canada at the Inter-American
Development Bank, where the two discussed the importance of securing financial
support for parliamentary activities, which would support the mandate of IDB.
Ms. Watson strongly encouraged ParlAmericas to pursue a program of professional
development for parliamentarians in the area of extractive sector legislation
in the region of the Andean Community.
WITH THE AMBASSADOR, THE HEAD OF AID AT CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
AGENCY, AND THE EMBASSY’S POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ADVISOR
On 19 March
2012, the Canadian delegation met with Mr. Henri-Paul Normandin, Ambassador of
Canada to Haiti; Mr. Dominique Rossetti, Head of Aid, Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA); Ms. Nell Stewart, Political and Economic Advisor;
and Mr. François Goudreau, Second Secretary (Political), at the Canadian Embassy in
Port-au-Prince. In his remarks, Ambassador Normandin provided the delegation
with a brief overview of the many facets of the work accomplished by the
Embassy in Port-au-Prince. He underscored Canada’s important presence in Haiti
through various CIDA programs, including those aimed at improving education,
health, youth, food security. He spoke also of Canada’s important presence in
assisting police and security; in supporting the judicial system; as well as
the Embassy’s role in the promotion of trade and development, and of cultural
In his view,
there were encouraging and discouraging aspects to development in Haiti. As for
the reconstruction efforts which followed the earthquake, he underlined that a
great deal of work had been accomplished, including the re-opening of schools,
and the re-establishment of health services and micro-financing. He commented
that momentum was presently behind the reconstruction efforts. Much work
remained, however, including finding suitable living accommodations for those
who had lost their homes in the earthquake (known as the déplacés). He
noted that Canada was undertaking an important project in helping to clear an
encampment composed of approximately 7,000 déplacés from the Champ
de Mars Park, situated across from the presidential palace.
Normandin commented that the political institutions in Haiti were quite weak
and as such, political upheavals happened with unfortunate frequency. A general
lack of cooperation also existed between Parliament and the executive.
Political instability remained, in his view, a substantial impediment to progress.
He noted, however, that the Embassy had exceptional access to the upper
echelons of Haitian politics. He also noted that Haiti possessed little ability
to generate wealth for itself, stating that the national budget was
approximately half of international donations and also inferior to the sum
total of the money sent home from Haitians living abroad. In order to raise
funds, the Haitian government was proposing to establish a stronger customs
tariffs and taxation regime.
of current issues at the time of the delegation’s visit, Ambassador Normandin
briefed the delegation as to the process that was underway to appoint a new
Prime Minister. He noted that because of Haiti’s history with dictatorships,
the Constitution now prescribed strong checks and balances; so strong in fact
that goodwill was needed to make it work, and very little goodwill existed, at
present, between Parliament and the executive. Ideology did not, however, enter
into debates. Rather, in Haiti, the issues of contention revolved around the
desire of the actors involved to exert the most influence. He also noted that,
currently, former military personnel, along with a number of unemployed youth,
were occupying old military bases, with the former seeking to have certain pension
investment activity in Haiti was also addressed, with the Ambassador noting
that an industrial park was being built in the north of Haiti.
Normandin lastly noted that the Embassy’s message has been to Haitian leaders
that they need to work together for the interest of their country; if not, they
will not be optimizing Canada’s support.
WITH MR. NIGEL FISHER, SPECIAL ASSISTANT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE SECRETARY
GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND HUMANITARIAN CO-ORDINATOR
their briefing with Ambassador Normandin, on 19 March 2012, the Canadian
delegation met with Mr. Nigel Fisher, Deputy
Special Representative for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
(MINUSTAH), for a working lunch at the MINUSTAH
headquarters in Port-au-Prince. Mr.
Fisher’s briefing to the delegation touched on a wide range of subjects. He noted there were numerous challenges impeding progress,
prosperity and stability in Haiti. Foremost of these was Haiti’s political
problems; he indicated that the recent paralysis caused by the country’s
decision-makers was frustrating efforts to enact positive economic and social
changes. He noted also that frameworks and systems to deliver policy services
were defective or absent, including specifically the health and education
systems, which were broken and did not work.
commented that there were a number of impediments to setting up a business in
Haiti, including customs, taxation, and also formidable challenges related to
Haiti’s land-title system (known as the cadastre), which, generally
speaking, lacked clear rules, transparency, and reliable documentation. He
stated that, for each policy field, there needed to be a strategy that included
mutual responsibilities, with standards put in place and then adhered to. There
was a degree of urgency to such reforms as the pockets of international donors
were not bottomless. For non-governmental organizations (NGOs) willing to
invest in Haiti, he counselled that these ought to have policies in place to
mitigate against a variety of contingencies, including the disappearance of
investment money with little to no evidence of results.
did note that he had witnessed progress since the 2010 earthquake, with
agricultural yields rising, and an increase in housing starts and construction.
during the working lunch were certain aspects of Haiti culture, including
notably maronnage (a widespread practice, in Haiti; it essentially means
to say one thing and do another), as well as the historic reparations that
Haiti was required to pay to France as compensation to its former colonizer,
after achieving independence in 1804. Mr. Fisher noted the irony of Haiti being
Latin America’s first independent colony, only to now be totally dependent on
international donors and assistance.
WITH MR. MARC TARDIF, DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER;
COL. STEVE CHARPENTIER, CHIEF OF STAFF; MR. SERGE GAGNON,
CORRECTIONAL SERVICES CANADA; AND MS. ALLISON POFF, SECOND SECRETARY,
STABILIZATION AND RECONSTRUCTION TASK FORCE
On 19 March
2012, the Canadian delegation also met with Mr. Marc Tardif, Deputy Police
Commissioner (MINUSTAH); Col. Steve Charpentier, Chief of Staff (MINUSTAH); Mr.
Serge Gagnon, Correctional Services Canada; and Ms. Allison Poff, Second
Secretary, Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START), at the MINUSTAH
headquarters in Port-au-Prince.
began by providing the delegation with an overview of his role as Deputy Police
Commissioner of MINUSTAH, as well as role that the UN plays in providing
security and stability in Haiti. Established in 2004 following the departure of
President Aristide, MINUSTAH is a UN stabilization mission that is mandated to
ensure a secure and stable environment. It is estimated that MINUSTAH currently
assumes 80% of security functions in Haiti. Canada’s contribution to MINUSTAH
includes 150 police officers, 25 corrections experts, and five
Canadian Forces personnel. It was noted that while at first glance these
numbers might appear low, those Canadians are in many cases high ranking
officers and personnel, who occupy key positions aimed at bolstering upper
management. The principal role of Canada’s police in Haiti is to mentor, train,
develop, and observe Haiti’s National Police Force (PNH).
the 2010 earthquake, however, the focus has been on rebuilding. Canadian police
operations suffered a setback, as a result of the earthquake, equivalent to a
year in terms of training and development. Further, PNH headquarters was
destroyed by the earthquake, including all files (electronic and paper) and
almost all of the equipment in and around the building. Mr. Tardif indicated
that the goal was to get the PNH to be a force of about 15,000 officers;
at present this number stood at around 10,000. While they continued to make up
ground, capacity issues for training remained, including most importantly an
inadequate training facility, which acted to limit the number of recruits that
could be trained at one time. He also noted that certain structural barriers
existed to becoming an officer in the PNH, including that police officers in
Haiti must possess a university degree (Mr. Tardif indicated that this was the
approximate equivalent of a high school degree in Canada). The physical test,
as well, was very onerous, and he noted that a large number of recruits had
major difficulties passing it.
challenge that existed for the PNH police was the lack of middle and upper
management. There were 10,000 police, but very few of Haitian-descent
possessed any managerial skills. As such, there existed an overall lack of
supervision and follow-up on files, and nepotism remained rampant. Over the
next five years, Mr. Tardif noted that the goal was to create a six-month
supervisor program to build managerial capacity.
the 2010 earthquake, 1.5 million Haitians lost their homes. At present,
approximately 550,000 remain without homes. Canadian police, partnering with
the PNH, are presently responsible for maintaining order in seven encampments
of déplacés. It is a job that Canadians plan to transfer, in the near
term, to the PNH. In this respect, the relationship between international
police officers and the PNH was improving. Canadians have enjoyed an advantage
in their relations with the PNH in that our officers speak French.
In terms of
current issues, a selection process for the appointment of the next Chief of
police was due to finish in August 2012. This person must be Haitian. Mr.
Tardif noted, however, that this role had in recent times grown increasingly
political, with a number of actors seeking to influence who will be selected.
Mr. Tardif expressed some concern that the most able candidate might not be
selected, in favour of one with stronger political connections.
Tardif noted that respect and confidence for the PNH was on the rise; there was
an increase in the number of women enlisting; and that security has stabilized,
with civil unrest seen less and less. He noted that when the PNH was ready to
assume security duties for the country, Canada would gradually pull out and
hand over the reins to them.
then provided an overview of the military’s engagement in Haiti. He noted that
the contribution of the Canadian armed forces, at present, involved
high-ranking officers occupying key positions, with a focus on managing
operations, planning, and organizing. The three main operations for the
military under MINUSTAH has been to cooperate with and support the police; to,
during the most recent election, maintain order and the rule of law at election
polls; and to contribute to the reconstruction. This last operation has
included repairing roads, clearing streets and ditches of debris and garbage,
and preparedness in the event of another humanitarian emergency situation.
Charpentier discussed some of the challenges the military faced. These mostly
related to it being an international force composed of troops from
54 countries. He had found that, generally, there was unevenness to the
quality of the troops under his command; some troops were competent, some were
poorly trained and adhered to a lower standard of accomplishment when
undertaking a task. Communication was also a formidable barrier, as
approximately 45% of the troops spoke some French, while English was either
their second or third language. He noted the overall goal was relationship‑building
and cooperation with South Americans at the military level. He also noted the
successes experienced by the military, including a marked drop in violent
crimes in the three most dangerous quarters of Port-au-Prince.
Charpentier also briefed the delegation on the issue of the occupation of
defunct military bases by former military personnel. He highlighted a concern
regarding the possibility that these groups might attempt to import illegal
firearms from the south. He noted, at present, it was a relatively minor issue
that could be resolved quickly should the Haitian government give a clear
indication to MINUSTAH that its assistance was required.
The issue of
crime, in general, in Haiti, was raised. The murder rate in Haiti, as compared
to the rest of South America, was relatively low. It was also noted that in
times of government instability, crime tended to rise, although the crime rate
itself had returned to roughly the same level as prior to the
Gagnon briefed the delegation on the role of Canadian corrections officers in
Haiti. He noted this role, in general, involved observing, and providing advice
and suggestions to Haitian counterparts, but without intervening. He set out
the challenges faced by corrections officers. Prisons were severely
overcrowded, an issue made worse by the 2010 earthquake, which reduced
eight prisons near the epicentre to rubble.
88% of all incarcerated individuals were those that had been accused of a crime
and were being held in pre-trial detention. Mr. Gagnon noted that the judicial
system, if it functions at all, moves very slowly, such that an individual
accused of a crime can wait years in jail without formally being charged.
Further, a large number of files pertaining to prisoners were lost following
the 2010 earthquake, which created the problem of holding a person in
prison without a file as to why he or she was being held.
Canada’s roles has been to assist in expediting the judicial process by
matching files to persons in jail, and then bringing the case before a judge so
that, at a minimum, the individual would be either convicted or set free. Mr.
Gagnon noted that while the police system had noticeably improved, the justice
system had not.
challenges for Haitian prisons that he had observed included shortages of
water, food, and limits to septic tanks. A certain competitive tension also
existed between the justice system and the PNH, as their budgets came from the
same government ministry.
briefed the delegation on the Croix-des-Bouquets prison built with Canadian
federal funding. He noted that Canada had, in consultation with Haitian
counterparts, set up a complete program for prisoners at this facility, from
planning, to administration, to nutrition.
Allison Poff briefed the delegation regarding the Stabilization and
Reconstruction Task Force (START). Since 2006, the majority of START projects
have focused on building and refurbishing infrastructure, as well as providing
equipment to the Haitian police, corrections and border services. Canada has
contributed $15 million a year to START and, along with the U.S. are the
key donors. Examples of projects include the reconstruction of 32 police
stations damaged during the 2010 earthquake; provision of 100 trucks
to the police and five 40-foot patrol boats; workshops to train mechanics to
fix broken equipment.
also provided information to the delegation about the training program for PNH
recruits. There had been no budget for training police, nor was there equipment
for them (truck, guns, gasoline, etc.). The program takes six to nine months,
and is very physically rigorous. The graduating class this year is expected to
be around 244. She noted that among these graduates, were women; prior to the
establishment of MINUSTAH, women had basically been excluded from participation
in the PNH.
that each project had goals and/or objectives that these were required to meet.
START worked in collaboration with NGO’s; NGO’s undertook the physical
completion of a given project, while START ensured the appropriate standards
VISIT TO THE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF HAITI
of 20 March 2012, the Canadian delegation was given a guided tour of the newly
constructed National Assembly of Haiti. Located on the spot of the former
Christopher Columbus Park, the new National Assembly was designed jointly by
the U.S. and Haiti, and its construction was contracted to builders from the
Dominican Republic. The buildings were completed in November 2011 but
remained unoccupied; it was indicated by the government official giving the
tour, that the buildings had lacked certain amenities that needed to be added
before it could be occupied. At the time of the visit, Haitian woodworkers were
adding, among other things, a rostrum at the front of the Senate chamber. It
was further noted that a permanent Parliament was to be re-built in an
as-yet-to-be determined location in the downtown core, and the buildings at
Christopher Columbus Park would be re‑purposed as a document repository
and centre for legislative research and training.
WITH PRESIDENT OF THE HAITIAN SENATE AND OTHER SENATORS
site visit to the newly constructed National Assembly of Haiti, the Canadian
delegation met with the Honourable Simon Dieuseul Desras, President of the
Haitian Senate, on 20 March 2012, in the temporary National Assembly
buildings, in Port-au-Prince. During the meeting, as many as eight to
12 Haitian senators, at any one time, arrived to take part in the
Desras began the meeting by discussing the newly constructed National Assembly,
noting that 29 March 2012 was the planned date for relocating to this new
facility. He noted that Haitian parliamentarians strove to adhere to the
Constitution and the rule of law, and thanked Canada for being a champion of
democracy. He also noted that future support from ParlAmericas, in terms of
capacity building of Parliamentarians, would be welcomed.
Boisvenu thanked President Dieuseul Desras, on behalf of the delegation, for
the warm welcome. He noted that, among other things, Canadian parliamentarians
were confident that progress could be achieved in Haiti, but that certain
political and economic conditions needed to be addressed.
discussion between Haitian senators and the Canadian delegation, a number of
topics were addressed. Mr. Dieuseul Desras addressed the process, in Haiti, for
appointing the prime minister, one which was currently underway. While being
unable to comment on when the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Laurent
Lamothe, could be expected either to be approved or disapproved by the National
Assembly, he did note that senators had done all that they could to prevent
former Prime Minister Gary Conille from resigning.
instability in Haiti was also addressed. Senators, including Mr. Dieuseul
Desras, noted the political problems between the National Assembly and the
executive were complicated and ran deep. Mr. Dieuseul Desras stated that, in
his view, the executive had generally acted in a dictatorial fashion; did not
respect the democratic process; and had not, generally, sought the National
Assembly’s approval and support, as required by the Constitution, in making
certain decisions. Some Senators also questioned the priorities that had been
assigned to certain projects, feeling that the process generally lacked in
transparency and accountability.
It was also
felt, among the senators, that a democratic deficit existed among Haiti’s institutions.
Specifically, the judiciary lacked autonomy, as judges to Haiti’s highest court
(la Cour de cassation) were named directly by the executive. As such, it
was noted that Parliament could make laws but the judiciary would not enforce
them. It was also noted that the equivalent role of Auditor General in Haiti
was also named by the executive. The senators present at the meeting desired
the judicial appointment system to be independent from the other branches of
senators also felt that the executive tended to listen and heed MINUSTAH more
so than the Haitian Parliament and the state’s governmental institutions and
departments. In this respect, it was noted the longer a weak state persisted,
the longer the reconstruction period would take. Senators also spoke of
personal security issues of being a senator, including incidents involving
threats and other dangerous situations that they had been confronted with.
Desras asked for Canada’s assistance on the following needs:
the National Audit Office (Cour supérieure
des Comptes) required support in conducting its audit of public accounts;
general technical training, in particular
regarding the building code; and
light infrastructure (he did not offer specifics
or details on this request).
He also noted that parliamentarians planned, in
ten years time, to construct a new permanent Parliament. Upon its completion,
he requested Canada’s assistance in helping to establish a research centre at
the site of the Christopher Columbus facility.
situation surrounding the return of former President Jean-Claude Duvalier to
Haiti was addressed. Senators noted that the inability to bring the former
President to justice was very frustrating, as was the discussion that had
occurred surrounding a possible pardon.
WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES
On 20 March
2012, following its meeting with President of the Haitian Senate, the Canadian
delegation met with the President of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies, the
Honourable Louis-Jeune Levaillant in his office in the temporary National
Assembly buildings in Port-au-Prince. Senator Boisvenu began the meeting by
thanking Mr. Levaillant, on behalf of the delegation, and noting that the
delegation’s objective was to better comprehend the economic, political and
social developments in Haiti as well as to assess the effectiveness of Canadian
Levaillant, in reply, underlined the importance of such exchanges and noted
that this was his first opportunity since becoming President of the Chamber of
Deputies to meet with a Canadian delegation of Canadian parliamentarians. In
his remarks he noted that, at the last election, a large number of first-time
deputies were elected and that they needed support and training. His view on
the political situation in Haiti was that cooperation was needed between the
executive and the National Assembly, and that political problems had resulted
in unnecessary delays in the reconstruction and development of the country. He
further indicated that, in his view, because President Michel Martelly did not
have a single member from his party in the Chamber of Deputies, he needed to
negotiate with Parliament as opposed to by-passing it. Mr. Levaillant stated
that President Martelly cannot act alone; he must respect the elected members
of Parliament and parliamentary institutions.
to a question posed by Ms. Murray, Mr. Levaillant noted that international aid,
generally, and Canadian aid specifically, had been well targeted and had resulted
in positive outcomes, especially in respect of security and police. Mr.
Levaillant noted, however, that reconstruction efforts, in his view, lacked a
high-level, systematic approach. In this respect, Haitians themselves needed to
devise a plan that was their own, they needed to define it from top to bottom,
and once this was accomplished, Haitians could then ask for international
assistance to make it work. He indicated that, in his view, Canada had already
done its share to support Haiti.
to questions posed by Ms. Ayala, Mr. Levaillant discussed the conflict of
interest regime in Haiti, noting that this regime was in place for all public
servants, including parliamentarians. He also addressed the matter of the
return of former President Jean-Claude Duvalier to Haiti, noting that deputies
were following the situation closely; were not at all satisfied with the
present situation; and expressed a willingness to take the matter before the
Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation). Mr. Levaillant then discussed
the issue of land titles (cadastre) in Haiti, indicating that a solution
was urgently required as it impeded international investment. It was, however,
a problem that dated back to Haitian independence in 1804. In his view, a
legislative initiative to rectify this matter had to come from the executive,
as senators and deputies did not possess the expertise or resources to bring
forward such a complex bill.
Boisvenu elicited Mr. Levaillant’s views on the issue of losing the brightest
Haitians to emigration. Mr. Levaillant indicated that, in his view, the return
of retired university professors who were expatriates of Haiti would be a great
asset. He further expressed that in his view, in Haiti, a rivalry existed
between employment with international organizations or employment with the
Haitian state for the best and brightest Haitians, as international
organizations paid better.
Hervieux-Payette discussed with Mr. Levaillant a possible initiative that would
see retired Canadian university professors who, acting on a voluntary basis,
would come to Haiti to teach. The arrangement could either involve or be
similar to the service provided by the Canadian University Service Overseas
(CUSO). The matter that would need to be resolved, in her view, was not money
for these professors but rather providing them with suitable housing.
WITH THE CHAIRS OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
its morning site visit and meetings, the Canadian delegation met with the
Chairs of parliamentary committees, on 20 March 2012, at the temporary National
Assembly buildings in Port‑au‑Prince.
Prior to the
commencement of this meeting, the delegation met in a brief impromptu session
with Ms. Florence Élie, Protector of Citizens (Protectrice du citoyen),
Citizen Protection Centre (Office de la Protection du Citoyen (OPC)).
Ms. Élie briefed the delegation on the work of the OPC in protecting the human
rights of Haitians, and training members of the executive, the legislative and
the judiciary on their obligations concerning human rights under Haiti’s
Constitution. She noted that the National Assembly was in the process of
passing a law to provide for the legal independence of the OPC.
delegation then met with the following Chairs of parliamentary committees: Mr.
Sadrac Dieudonné, Ethics and Anti-corruption committee (Chamber of Deputies);
Mr. A. Rodon Bien-Aimé, Finance, Commerce, Economy and Budget committee
(Chamber of Deputies); Mr. Romial Smith, Interior, Regional Communities,
Decentralization and Border Development (Chamber of Deputies); and
Mr. Jocelerme Privert, Finance, Economy, Commerce and Industry committee
(Senate). Senator Boisvenu began the meeting by expressing his thanks to the
Chairs and asked if each could provide the delegation with a brief overview of
the mandates and work of their committees.
discussion that ensued covered a number of topics. It was noted that the debate
on approving Haiti’s national budget had been suspended, and was currently into
limbo, since former Prime Minister Conille’s resignation.
explained to the delegation the budgetary challenges which confronted Haitian
parliamentarians. Each office was provided with funding for two policy
consultants (roughly $1,000 per consultant per month); this was the extent of
the research support and expert advice that they received. Each parliamentarian
was also assigned a chauffeur and a security guard. The Chairs noted that this
support was insufficient. They desired to have a large, permanent pool of
experts, paid from the National Assembly’s budget, who would be native-Haitian;
non-partisan; unbiased; and through time and training, would develop
institutional memory and become experts in their field. It was noted that they
did not have an institutional equivalent to the Library of Parliament, but that
they hoped the research centre in Christopher Columbus Park would eventually
fill this role. It was also noted by the Chairs that a significant number of
the best-educated Haitians tended to go abroad in search of better opportunities.
It was noted by Senator Privert that Haitians needed to improve the conditions
in Haiti for investment, which in turn would create jobs and give Haitians a
reason to remain in their own country.
The lack of
direct foreign investment in Haiti was addressed. It was noted by Senator
Privert that for 40 years, the Haitian government had offered incentives
and guarantees to foreign investors. In his view, the number one impediment to
development in Haiti was political instability. There needed to be increased
transparency and parliamentary scrutiny over the executive. International
donors needed, however, to demonstrate greater confidence in Haitians, and
cease routing their investments in Haiti through international NGOs instead of
local or state operations.
government’s ability to expropriate land was discussed. Under the Constitution,
the state can, if it so desires, expropriate land for projects that will
benefit the country. In doing so, the state must compensate the land-owner(s).
If the project ceases to operate for whatever reason, the land-owner then has
ten years to reclaim his or her land. It was noted that because of this power
of expropriation the disorganized land-title system in Haiti (cadastre)
should not present an impediment to international investors.
also addressed the topics of centralization and decentralization in Haiti. It
was noted that Haiti had a number of jurisdictional issues between levels of
government. Senator Privert explained that state services were largely absent
in most regions of the country. In the absence of the state, delivery of
services, de facto, became the responsibility of other levels of
government, but without this relationship being prescribed in law. Examples
included the lack of a jurisdictional understanding between levels of
government over the provision of water, electricity and the maintenance of
of women in the National Assembly was also addressed, as the Canadian
delegation had noted that there were only four female deputies out of 99 and
one female senator out of 30. The Chairs indicated that the National Assembly
women occupied an important role in Haitian society and that the Assembly was
looking to encourage their participation. It was noted that the subsidization
of female candidates to increase their participation in elections and
representation in the Assembly, had been considered in the relevant
also explained the delay in their occupation of the newly constructed National
Assembly at Christopher Columbus Park. They felt that insufficient
consultation, as to the needs of Haitian parliamentarians, had occurred during
its design and that this had resulted in a number of problems and deficiencies
in the final product. These deficiencies required addressing before Parliament
would begin sitting at the Christopher Columbus Park location.
Haiti was also addressed. It was noted that during the 1970s, Haiti was second
only to Cuba as the most popular destination for tourists in the hemisphere. In
the 1980s, however, a number of issues deterred tourists from going to Haiti,
including political instability, kidnappings, and having been erroneously
labelled by the U.S. government as a country with a high level of AIDS
among its population.
the Chairs expressed their concern that President Martelly would not work with
Parliament and that the existing divide between the executive and the
legislative would continue to grow. In their view, the main reason that
parliamentarians were at odds with the executive was that President Martelly
refused to adhere to the powers and roles as provided by the Constitution.
WITH THE CHAIRS AND MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
On 21 March
2012, the Canadian delegation met other Chairs and members of parliamentary
committees at the temporary National Assembly buildings in Port-au-Prince. In
attendance at this meeting was Mr. Abel Descollines, member of the Foreign
Affairs, Religious Sects and Haitians Living Abroad committee; Mr. Bertrand
Sinal, Public Health and Population committee; Mr. Juslaire Dorgil, External
Planning and Cooperation committee; Mr. Bilgot Colas, Social Affairs and
Women’s Rights committee; Mr. Kenston Jean-Baptiste, special committee on Human
Rights; Mr. Frédely Georges, special committee on Human Rights; Mr. Paul
Olivard Richard, Justice and Security committee; and Senator Francisco De la
began with Mr. Hawn thanking the deputies and senators, on behalf of the
delegation, for helping the delegation to gain a better understanding of major
issues in Haiti. Each senator and deputy introduced himself and gave a brief
outline of the work currently underway in their respective committee. The
discussion which ensued covered a number of topics.
re-occurring theme among the Haitian parliamentarians was the need to address
the growing disparity in the concentration of aid and availability of services
between rural and urban areas. It was noted that the focus of aid had been to
Port-au-Prince. To access this influx of international assistance, a large
number of Haitians had abandoned productive agricultural land for life in Port‑au‑Prince.
This had resulted in overcrowding in Port-au-Prince, and a decline in
agricultural production in rural areas. The Haitian parliamentarians indicated
that the scope of aid needed to be widened to better include rural areas.
Investments could be made to modernize agricultural production, better utilize
the land and create work.
disparity between rural and urban areas occurred in education. It was explained
that, where possible, Haitians sent their children to Port-au-Prince to receive
their education, while others sent their children abroad. The majority of
schools in Haiti were privately run, and generally lacked physical resources
and teachers. It was noted that there was only one teacher’s college in all of
Haiti. Other challenges for Haiti’s education system included nursery schools
being neglected, with many children that age simply staying home instead of
going to school. The Haitian parliamentarians also decried the lack of
university life in Haiti, noting further that no academic standards existed
of women in Haiti and the Haitian Parliament was addressed. It was noted by the
Haitian parliamentarians that deliberations were currently underway to develop
programs and/or legislation to better integrate the female population. It was
stated that it was a big issue, one that needed to start with the structure and
roles in Haitian families. The Canadian delegates noted that firm rules or laws
ought to be put in place to create obligations, such as, for instance, a
minimum 30% female composition of Parliament.
proposal, on the part of the Canadian delegation, to have retired Canadian
professors teach in Haiti was also discussed. Senator Hervieux-Payette offered
to put the Haitian parliamentarians in contact with the individuals who could
get such a program started.
The need to
create opportunities for Haitians was addressed. A number of economic sectors
with the potential to be developed were discussed, including tourism, natural
resources (specifically mining), and the encouragement of small businesses. It
was noted by Haitian parliamentarians that, in their view, political stability
was the key. The Haitian parliamentarians asked for the cooperation and/or
assistance of the Canadian government to help develop and put in place a civic
education program. The Canadian delegation took note of this request and indicated
they would see what could be done to help.
concluded the meeting by thanking the Haitian participants helping the Canadian
delegation to better understand the challenges that Haiti faced in its efforts
to modernize and repair the damage created by the 2010 earthquake, and
that meetings such as these helped to strengthen already close relations.
WITH THE INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
its meeting with Haitian senators and deputies, on 21 March 2012, the
Canadian delegation met with representatives of the Inter-American Development
Bank (IDB) in Port-au-Prince. The meeting took place in two parts, beginning
with a discussion with Mr. Lumas Kendrick Jr., Senior Regional Energy
Specialist – Caribbean; and Mr. Roger Roome, First Secretary and Deputy Head
(Development), Embassy of Canada.
briefed the delegation on the challenges of modernizing Haiti’s electricity
generation and distribution. Electricity in the country
was provided by Electricity of Haiti (EDH), a state-owned monopoly. He noted that the system was archaic, with
95% of Haiti’s electricity being created by petroleum (oil). The energy costs
in Haiti were therefore tied to the price of oil, which continued to rise. Mr. Kendrick estimated the cost of providing electricity for the
country at around $10 million per month, which represented a significant
portion of the state’s budget.
of electricity in Haiti was extremely faulty and inefficient. As each house has
a transformer, there are electricity losses sustained at each house. EDH has
also been unable to bill or collect properly; meanwhile citizens don’t pay
their bills. Furthermore, the phase distances are too far apart. All in all,
Mr. Kendrick estimated that approximately 70% of the energy produced was
lost. Stolen electricity was also a common problem.
role, in respect of electricity generation and distribution included, among
other things: to rehabilitate the circuits in Port-au-Prince; ensure proper
billing and collection; provide technical training to EDH employees; assist
with technical aspects of power delivery (i.e., ensure the lines can handle the
load); and to increase the overall efficiency of the system. He noted that this
was a long term process, and that the IDB considered alternative power as the
delegation, during the second half of its meetings at the IDB compound in
Port-au-Prince, met Mr. Eduardo Almeida, Representative of the IDB in
Haiti. Mr. Almeida discussed the IDB’s activities in Haiti, noting that the IDB
was Haiti’s largest multilateral donor, representing over $1.2 billion of
funding. He indicated that the IDB has allocated $250 million per year for
the period of 2010 to 2020 for projects and programs in Haiti. Their focus will
be on energy, transport, education, water and sanitation, agriculture, private
purposes of grant allocation, the IDB had identified four regions it planned to
assist with development needs: the north, south, Artibonite and west. The
purpose of establishing such regions was to decentralize economic activity, to
provide for growth centres beyond Port-au-Prince. Mr. Almeida highlighted
the IDB’s current work in the north in terms of agricultural, tourism and
manufacturing projects. The IDB had set a target of 40,000 jobs in tourism
and 40,000 jobs in an industrial park that was being constructed. The IDB
was also providing grants to help develop agri‑businesses.
governance structure and its relation to the Haitian governmental system were
discussed. It was noted that neither the IDB nor the World Bank had a
relationship or communications with the Haitian Parliament. Mr. Almeida
indicated that the Haitian Minister of Economy and Finance (who is a member of
cabinet and therefore of the executive branch of government) was the IDB’s
governor, and that all IDB projects and their approval, including where
applicable, land expropriations, were subject to the same governmental
requirements and guidelines as any project.
and sustainable forestry was also discussed. Mr. Almeida indicated that, in his
view, the deforestation problems in Haiti were the result of an institutional
failure on the part of the government. The lack of clarity as to landownership
has meant that land could be cleared of trees without legal repercussions. He
put forward that reforestation solutions had to occur in the broader context of
finding alternative energy and income sources to charcoal, for Haitians. He
noted that the risks (lack of a legal framework; institutional weaknesses;
landownership issues) coupled with the length of time it took to realize a
return, often deterred investors from planting trees in Haiti. The Canadian
delegation, Ms. Murray in particular, emphasized the need to identify
environmental investors interested in obtaining carbon credits and encourage
them to invest in reforestation in Haiti; to emulate successful reforestation
models and tap into existing knowledge as to practical solutions; and to give a
stake in the maintenance and protection of reforestation projects to the local
community, such that they would become the forests’ custodians.
addressed was a project to connect two Haitian cities, Cayes and Jérémie, by a
road. The project itself was funded through “untied aid” from Canada. The
Haitian government opened a competitive bidding process for the contract to
construct the Cayes-Jérémie road, which a company from Brazil won by putting
forward a bid, below that of any Canadian company, of approximately
$80 million. Some viewed this bid to be unrealistically low, a contention
that has been confirmed as the present cost charged by the Brazilian company
for building the road has ballooned to between $120 million and
$150 million. This prompted a discussion of the merits and issues of providing
untied aid to foreign countries.
roads were also discussed as a way to pay for their maintenance. It was also
acknowledged that the creation of roads into formerly inaccessible parts of
rural Haiti could potentially lead to further deforestation. Other investment
projects were discussed including the IDB’s plans to invest $200 million
in infrastructure in the short term, and $50 million per year into
education (building schools, training teachers, providing access-vouchers to schools).
also discussed the lack of agricultural production in Haiti. He noted that approximately only 20% of the rice consumed in Haiti was produced
internally. The challenges facing Haiti’s agricultural sector included the
deterioration of land; lack or absence of irrigation; and the lack or absence
of infrastructure, including foremostly, roads. Mr. Almeida noted that high
private sector risk was a strong deterrent for investment, and therefore job
creation in Haiti. He also pointed out that should GDP per capita over the past
40 years be graphed as a timeline, its lowest points would coincide with
concluded the meeting by thanking Mr. Almeida, on behalf of the delegation, for
his insights. Mr. Hawn also noted that Canada has supported a number of IDB
initiatives, and that Canada held expectations that its money would deliver
WITH LOCAL EDUCATION NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
its meeting with officials at the Inter-American Development Bank compound,
members of the delegation met with local educators employed by Haitian
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in the evening of 21 March 2012, in
the Acajou Room of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince. In attendance at this
meeting were Mr. Edouard Paultre, National Council of Non-State Actors (CONAN);
Ms. Suzy Castor, Training, Economic and Social Research for Development Centre
(CRESFED); Ms. Evelyne Bazin Verdier, Consortium of Private Sector Education
Organizations (COSPE); Ms. Florence Délimon Théramène, Haitian Foundation for
Private Education (FOHNEP).
began with the educators each providing members of the delegation with a
description of their views of the disbursement of emergency humanitarian aid in
the period immediately following the 2010 earthquake. They generally
considered the emergency response to have been a success and were thankful for
the international community’s intervention. Medicine, water and food were
distributed immediately and efficiently.
educators did note, however, that the emergency response did have certain
repercussions on local resources and infrastructure, citing the example of a
hospital that was forced to close shortly after international emergency teams
departed because the emergency response had depleted the hospital’s entire
stock of medical supplies.
educators indicated that the education system in Haiti had, for too long, been
in need of a major overhaul. In this respect, it was repeatedly underscored
that the 2010 earthquake was an opportunity lost. The system and its
programs could have been rebuilt from scratch to be superior to the
dysfunctional arrangement that presently existed. In their view, the state’s
use of grants it had received for education had been spent inefficiently. They
felt that the state had yet to provide educators with clear policies and
direction related to an overall long‑term vision for education in Haiti.
noted that educators were insufficiently consulted during decision-making
processes; they felt the state had not respected agreements held between itself
and educators; and that the efforts of educators to be partners with the state
in fixing the education system had been, in their view, disregarded by the
state. It was also noted that the education sector had a legal framework put in
place in 2007. This law established conditions for grants from the World Bank,
as well as a fund in the central bank to collect grants received as
international aid for education. The educators indicated that the law provided
for consultations with teachers groups to gather input in regards to the
disbursement of funds but that these consultations had been held with great
infrequency, and on the occasions when they were consulted, the input provided
by teachers groups tended to rarely be reflected in decisions and outcomes.
educators indicated that they desired the state to lead education reform in
Haiti, and that continued inaction on the part of the state would result in the
continuation of the failures and inefficiencies which plagued the system at
WITH OFFICIALS OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
On 22 March
2012, the Canadian delegation met with officials of the Organization of
American States (OAS) at the OAS compound in Port-au-Prince. Attending this
meeting were Ms. Catherine Pognat, Senior Program
Coordinator; and Mr. Frédéric Bolduc, OAS Special Representative in Haiti.
began with Ms. Pognat providing the delegation with a brief background of the
OAS, noting that it was the world’s oldest regional organization and that
Canada had been an active participant in the work of various OAS bodies since
becoming a full member in 1990. Ms. Pognat then gave an overview of the
programs that the OAS was undertaking in Haiti. These included helping reform
the land-title system (cadastre) in order to, among other things,
guarantee international investors that they own the land they have bought;
helping to support the electoral system; assisting handicapped persons
integrate into society; assisting with a youth orchestra program which took
place during the hours following school in “at-risk”/high-crime neighbourhoods;
supporting police efforts to license and track firearms; partnering with
Haitian border authorities to assist in securing airports and ports; and
partnering with the IDB to help develop alternative energy solutions for the
The OAS was
also involved in helping to support the education system in Haiti. It offered
$100,000 in scholarships aimed at encouraging young Haitian academics to remain
in Haiti for their studies; a long‑distance master’s program in
partnership with Laval University; implementing the Allo Prof! program
(a program of Quebec origin which features free on-line educational tools for
teachers and students); an information centre which provided Haitian students
with access to computers and the Internet; and in conjunction with CIDA,
offered a computer repair program, as this was a skill in high demand in Haiti.
then addressed the topic of modernizing the civil registry in Haiti. It was
explained that the civil registry was badly in need of reform. Challenges
included a lack of a central authority to collect information about births and
deaths in the country. These, if recorded, were done so only on paper. Further,
only approximately 30% of Haitian children were born in hospitals. The national
identity office (ONI) was established in 2005, with 141 offices set up
around the country. In the lead-up to the 2010 election, 3.5 million
electors were registered and given an identification card (Haitian National
Identification card). At present, 5 million Haitians or 85% of the adult
population has been registered in a computer database and given an ID card.
in registering minors (under the age of 18) was ongoing. This involved the
digitization of millions of historic records from the National Archives. It
also involved an awareness campaign to encourage parents to register their
children. The process for Haitians, however, remained costly and slow. The OAS
had also encountered challenges such as imposters posing as registration
officers in order to steal money from registrants.
also raised a current issue involving an agreement that had been reached
between Haiti and a private identity management company in Venezuela
(Smartmatic) to create a civil registry in Haiti. The media reported that
Smartmatic had pledged to complete the registry within 1 to 1.5 years. The
OAS had asked for an explanation about this initiative and had not received a
response. Mr. Bolduc indicated that the OAS was prepared to work in a
partnership with Smartmatic but, also evinced concerns over the neutrality of a
private company and the possibility that Smartmatic would duplicate work that
the OAS had already done.
officials asked the Canadian delegation for its impressions of Haiti in respect
of the issues and challenges it faced. Mr. Hawn concluded the meeting by
thanking the OAS officials on behalf of the delegation.
VISIT TO CIDA SCHOOL CANTEEN PROJECT (CANTINE SCOLAIRE)
its meeting at the OAS compound, on 22 March 2012, the Canadian delegation
toured the National Republic of Guatemala School in Pétionville,
Port-au-Prince. Ms. Micheline Pierre Augustin, the school’s director, briefed
the delegation on the operation of the school. In the morning the school was
attended by 714 students, all of them girls, in 13 classrooms, grades one
through six. In the afternoon, the school was for children in grades six
through 12, and at night, it was attended by adults. She noted that the school
was run by a management committee which met every three months. The dropout
rate at the school, as with the rest of the schools in Haiti, was very high,
with only about 20% of children graduating from grade 6. In the school’s
yard, at the time of the delegation’s tour, there were about 200 families
of déplacés living in makeshift housing. Ms. Augustin noted that the school had
coped with this situation reasonably well but clearly it was a problem that
they hoped would be resolved in the short term.
canteen program, funded by CIDA, provided a hot meal every day to each student.
Food was prepared by volunteers who began preparing meals at 6:00 a.m. Local
food was used, usually involving rice, protein and pulses, with students’
parents providing spices and seasonal vegetables. While charcoal remained the
cheapest source of fuel to cook the meals, the school was looking at fuel
efficient stoves. The school canteen program had been in place for three years
and provided one meal daily for 1.1 million children country-wide.
WITH CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION OFFICIALS (PROJECT AT CHAMP
its site visit at the primary school in Pétionville, on 22 March 2012, members
of the delegation met with CIDA officials for a working lunch in the Latin
Quarter/Place Boyer in Port-au-Prince. Attending this meeting were Mr.
Dominique Rossetti, Head of Aid, CIDA; Mr. Harry Adam,
Director of Housing Construction and Public Buildings (Unité); Mr. Clément Bélizert, Head of Project 16/6
and Champ de Mars (Unité); and Mr. Emmett Fitzgerald, Project 16/6 and
Champ de Mars (Unité).
Prior to the
working lunch, the delegation visited Place Boyer, a public park in
Pétionville, Port‑au‑Prince, located across the street from the
restaurant. Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Rossetti explained that following the
2010 earthquake, those who had lost their homes tended to congregate and
set up temporary housing in public spaces, which for the most part meant parks
and school grounds. Approximately 750 families of déplacés (amounting to
over three thousand people) had set up temporary housing in Place Boyer. CIDA,
with the support of other partners, developed a program to clear the park of
déplacés. It entailed committing one-year’s worth of subsidies for rent to each
family, provided that they found their own accommodation on the housing market
at market price.
working lunch, a wide range of topics were discussed. Mr. Rossetti noted during
the first and second anniversaries of the 2010 earthquake, the press had
focused on a perceived lack of progress to reconstruction. He noted, however,
that the challenges on the ground were enormous. These included, foremostly,
clearing the rubble from roads. The first half of these efforts was, in his
view, crucial as it was impossible for vehicles to get around the city. Low‑income
workers had been engaged to undertake much of this work, and a great deal of
the debris had been re-purposed and recycled into other products, such as, for
It was also
noted that the earthquake exasperated certain existing problems in
Port-au-Prince. For example, prior to the earthquake, there were approximately
1 million homeless inhabitants. Also, overcrowding was an issue in
Port-au-Prince. The example of the Pétionville quarter was given; it had grown
from about 15,000 inhabitants to approximately 300,000 inhabitants
over the past 20 years.
major project undertaken by CIDA, in collaboration with partners, following the
2010 earthquake, was to rate the structural stability of every house and
building in the earthquake zone as either green (which meant it suffered
inconsequential damage); yellow (which meant it could be repaired); and red
(which meant that the disrepair could not be fixed).
in the reconstruction efforts immediately following the 2010 earthquake
was discussed. It was noted that various international organizations and
governmental agencies arrived to assist with reconstruction needs. Unité
provided assistance to the reconstruction efforts by finding and targeting
reconstruction solutions to fit problems; coalescing and coordinating projects
into a larger plan; and devising and implementing methods for feedback and
to inquiries on the part of the delegation as to the effectiveness of Canadian
aid, Mr. Rossetti explained that all Canadian projects had been
well-defined and had met their objectives. Administrative costs for the
disbursement of funds of approximately 5% to 15% were normal, and as such
approximately no less than 80% of aid had gone directly toward results on the
ground. He indicated that all projects undertaken by CIDA had results-based
targets and zero Canadian dollars had been wasted. Mr. Rossetti also provided
the delegation with packages which set out the objectives, costs and results of
136 CIDA projects in Haiti.
also arose concerning the Cayes-Jérémie road and the lack of return on Canadian
dollars in providing foreign countries untied aid. Mr. Rossetti noted that when
Canada provided untied aid, because of the open and competitive nature of the
bidding process, it usually meant that the most efficient outcomes for Canadian
tax dollars. He noted that there were numerous positive examples of Canadian
companies winning untied aid contracts from other countries.
of discussion during the working lunch included the need to build up other
economic poles outside from Port-au-Prince; the work that was being done to
construct public buildings that could withstand certain levels of seismic
activity; studying where building could take place that would not be
susceptible to flooding or be too steep to be constructed safely; the
land-title issue and its effect on deforestation; the efforts to build
environmentally-friendly housing in Haiti.
insufficient dialogue between Parliament and the executive was again noted.
Political leaders had shown themselves unwilling to act as mediators in order
to find common ground on issues, to put laws in place, and enforce and advocate
them. Mr. Rossetti noted that 90% of deputies were newly elected; and for 54%
of them, the role as deputy was their first job with a salary.
lastly noted that Canada was the only country, to his knowledge, to have kept,
if not all, then 95% of its reconstruction and development promises.
VISIT TO CIDA MATERNAL HEALTH PROJECT (SANTÉ MATERNELLE)
afternoon, on 22 March 2012, the Canadian delegation toured a maternal health
project in Port‑au‑Prince. Prior to the tour, the delegation met
with Dr. Camille Figaro; Dr. Dorcely Olés, Ms. Evelyne de Graff, OMS/OPS;
and Ms. Laura Stein, Program Officer. It was explained to the delegation that
Canada had funded a program which had, for the past four years, provided free
access to obstetrics, health services to children under the age of five,
pregnancy planning and childbirth services to families at a maternal health
centre in Port-au-Prince. The program was important because it removed the financial
barrier to provide access to basic health services. Haiti has the highest rates
of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the hemisphere.
had evolved, since its inception, to provide a more global package of services,
including prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, in particular syphilis.
Participation in the centre’s programs had expanded rapidly. Working at the
maternal health centre were 25 general practitioners, approximately
30 obstetricians, 1 psychiatrist and one surgeon.
for the centre included retaining their medical staff, as often those with the
best training would leave for better opportunities elsewhere. Also, it was
noted that over time, the centre’s programs had established a reputation for
effectiveness and quality. This had led to an increase of emergency cases of
women arriving at the centre with serious birth-related issues. The centre,
therefore, was also working to increase awareness of their programs and to
encourage participants to visit the centre early in a pregnancy. It was also
noted, that for cultural reasons, males often attempted to deter their wives
from taking part in the program. In this respect, a mother’s stay at the
facility following childbirth was often very short, as it was difficult to keep
them at the centre longer than 48 hours.
The topic of
midwifery in Haiti was also addressed. It was noted that there was an
insufficient number of midwives in Haiti. Midwifery training took approximately
eight years, and the programs for recruitment and training needed to be
reformed and improved.
delegation then toured the centre’s facilities. These included the ward for
regular births; the pathology ward; an operating area which had not yet been
opened for lack of air conditioning; the neonatology ward (its equipment had
been donated by the President’s wife, Ms. Martelly, but it had not yet been
opened as it lacked staff); an abortion section (it was noted that abortions
were not legal in Haiti; the women in the ward were those in emergency health
situations as a result of procedures done outside the centre); and also a ward
for women suffering from serious illnesses.
WITH FORESTRY NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
of 23 March 2012, members of the Canadian delegation met with individuals
working for NGOs on reforestation projects in Haiti. Attending this meeting was
Mr. Marc Josué, Program Officer, CIDA; Mr. Volny
Paultre, Assistant Reforestrant, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
(FAO); and Mr. Yves Gattereau, Oxfam-Québec.
in Haiti was a priority and of high concern, and this was reflected in the
efforts that had been made to reverse the situation. The reforestation
officials explained that deforestation, in Haiti, had happened rapidly; in less
than a hundred years, approximately 90% of Haiti’s trees had been cut.
Presently, there remained only a few vestiges of forest. It was explained that
deforestation was closely tied to other issues in the country, including
economic development, agricultural production, and socio‑cultural norms.
to reforestation in Haiti included that the country was densely populated; that
making charcoal was the most profitable activity for a large number of
Haitians, coupled with the fact that most Haitians, in terms of income and
foodstuffs, were living day-to-day; that no policy or law existed to conserve
forests or trees; that the lack of protection of forests and trees was related,
in part, to the lack of clarity as to who owned the land that the trees were on
(cadastre); and that tree cutting was currently taking place at a higher
rate than the combined reforestation efforts. It was also noted that
reforestation was expensive, costing approximately $15,000 to replant trees on
three hectares of land. The Haitian government did not possess the resources on
its own to do the work. Further, it was stated that
forests, as an investment, took 15 years to provide a return.
In 2008, the
Minister of the Interior requested that the FAO produce an action plan which would
set out a global vision for reforestation in Haiti. The FAO was continuing work
on this file, and the target date for completion of the report was the end of
2012. It was noted that a clear, firm policy on reforestation was needed,
including where to cut and where to protect; a policy tied into jobs, food
security, and community interests.
discussed with the reforestation officials a variety of proven methods for
reforestation, including growing certain species of trees in conjunction with certain
vegetables, in order to provide returns on investment and to the community at
shorter intervals. She noted that there were numerous successful commercial
models which could potentially be replicated in Haiti, which environmental
investors would support financially. Ms. Murray underlined the importance of
sustainable forestry for Haiti and that workable solutions were possible.
WITH THE CANADA-HAITI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
its meeting with individuals working for NGOs on reforestation projects in
Haiti, on the morning of 23 March 2012, the Canadian Embassy organized a
roundtable discussion for the delegation with private sector representatives
and members of the Haiti-Canada Chamber of Commerce, at the Acajou Room of the
Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince. In attendance at the meeting was Mr. Serge
Cousineau, Dejardins International Development; Mr. Thor Burnham, Williams
Engineering; Mr. Maxime Charles, Scotiabank; Mr. Dominique Boisson, Eurasian
Minerals/Marien Mining; Mr. Michel Lamarre, Majescor/SOMINE; Mr. Gerard Marie
Tardieu, President of the Haiti-Canada Chamber of Commerce; Mr. Pierre
Dumouchel, Haiti-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
was chaired by Ambassador Normandin. He began the meeting by commenting on the
work of the governments of Haiti and Canada in promoting investment and
commerce in Haiti. Mr. Hawn then remarked that the Canadian delegation was
keen to hear the perspectives of the attendees and exchange ideas with them on
how Canada could better work with Haitian businesses.
provided a few remarks on behalf of the Haiti-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He
indicated that he supported the paradigm proposed by the Right Honourable Michaëlle
Jean, in which the goal for Haiti was to replace charity and aid with investment,
creating a “win-win” situation for investors and for Haitians. Mr. Tardieu
further encouraged Canadian investors, specifically the Canadian diaspora, to
take the risk of investing in Haiti.
It was noted
that Canada’s development assistance in Haiti was very positively perceived in
the country because it was well-targeted and had achieved results. Canada, it
was felt, brought knowledge, experience and good governance models when
undertaking development projects. The law and order sector was pointed out as
one where Canada was needed to continue playing its strong role.
sector in Haiti was also discussed. The present law, formulated in 1975, was
now outdated, cumbersome and acted as a deterrent to investment projects. It
needed to be modernized to include, among other things, better protections for
investors. It was further noted in respect of this law that, in Haiti, the
profits from mining were divided evenly (“50% – 50%”) between the company and
the government. It was stated, however, that the norm for mining elsewhere was
closer to 70% of profits going to the company and 30% going to the government.
Also noted was that mining activities in the Dominican Republic were quite
lucrative and effective at attracting foreign investment. It was felt that
foreign mining companies ought to consider investing money in Haitian
communities in order to raise awareness of the positive mutual benefits of
foreign investment. Further, it was noted that Parliament and the executive
needed to work together to create a modern mining law, and that this would take
a good deal of political courage.
Ways to make
investment more effective in Haiti were also discussed. It was stated that a
database of entrepreneurs ought to be created. Priority sectors for investment
needed to be identified. It was noted that a certain percentage of investment
ought to be set aside for both small- and medium‑businesses, as well as
for sustainable development projects. Through superior governance models,
investment money could be used more frugally and efficiently, producing better
results with less money. Canada’s role, in the long term, therefore, would be
to offer training, experience and counsel as opposed to direct funding through
aid. Mr. Tardieu proposed a potential investment system through which CIDA
could provide loans instead of grants to Haitian companies, while using
collateral as the guarantee on its investments. The Canadian delegation noted
that Export Development Canada (EDC) could be an important resource for finding
of discussion included the untapped potential of the tourism and natural
resources sectors in Haiti; the desire to see expatriate Haitian teachers,
professors, engineers, geologists, tradespersons, etc. return to Haiti to train
and provide their expertise to Haitians. It was also suggested that it would be
helpful if a trade mission could be organized to bring potential Canadian
investors to Haiti.
Mr. Hawn thanked the group for its insights into the business conditions in
Haiti, and indicated that the delegation would take these views back and impart
them to their colleagues in Parliament.
WITH PRESIDENT MARTELLY
afternoon of 23 March 2012, the Canadian delegation had a meeting with
President Michel Martelly at the Presidential Palace in Port-au-Prince. Also in
attendance at this meeting were Mr. Thierry Mayard Paul, Chief of Staff;
Mr. Michel Pierre Brunache, Minister of Justice and Public Security;
Ms. Anne Valérie Milfort, Special Assistant to the President; Mr. Pierre
Richard Casimir, Foreign Affairs Secretary of State; Mr. Salim Succar, Deputy
Chief of Staff; Mr. Grégory Mayard-Paul, legal advisor; Mr. Jamie
Iglesias, Diplomatic Officer; Ms. Nell Stewart, Political and Economic Advisor
(Embassy of Canada); and Mr. François Goudreau, Second Secretary (Political) (Embassy of Canada). Prior
to meeting with the delegation, President Martelly convened a private meeting
between himself and Mr. Hawn.
Martelly began the meeting with the Canadian delegation by offering a warm
welcome and thanking the delegation, on behalf of Haitians, for Canada’s
assistance and its positive impact following the 2010 earthquake. He also
thanked Canadians for funding the project to help clear the Champ de Mars Park;
for Canada’s strong cooperation with the PNH; and for Canada’s assistance in
improving education in Haiti. He underlined the importance of working together
as partners. President Martelly also noted that a new government was currently
being put in place.
of the delegation, in turn, had a brief dialogue with President Martelly.
Senator Boisvenu, in his comments, addressed the need to strengthen Haitian
institutions; the need for cooperation between the Haitian Parliament and the
executive; and the need for Haiti to better present itself as a desirable
destination for investment. In response, President Martelly noted his
government had taken strides to better adhere to the rule of law, including
appointing a judge to Haiti’s highest court (la Cour de cassation) after
that post had sat vacant for eight years. He also noted that his government had
made advances in education; public services, including transportation; home
construction; clean drinking water; police and security; corruption; and border
services. He also noted the importance of aid money to Haiti, but expressed
concern that NGOs could be viewed as an alternate government because of the
money and resources they controlled.
commented that the meetings during the week had shown a light on how many
challenges Haiti faced and how complicated its situation was. She indicated
that Haiti needed to make strides in terms of sustainable development;
infrastructure; restoring the environment, including clean water and
reforestation; land stewardship; and equitable development between urban and
rural regions. In respect of reforestation, Ms. Murray noted that successful
commercial models existed at present that could potentially be replicated in
Haiti, and supported financially by environmental investors. She noted that
other countries had overcome similar challenges. President Martelly, in
response, stated Haitians were expert deforesters. He recognized that the
reforestation situation was urgent, but that Haiti lacked expertise as to
solutions. He indicated that he would like Canadians to come to Haiti to
evaluate the situation and make recommendations and proposals.
Hervieux-Payette, in her comments, brought up that, as a long‑term goal,
Haiti should strive to receive investment instead of aid. She indicated that
retired Canadian university professors would be willing to come to Haiti to
teach at no cost except for their accommodations. She also noted that Canada
could help establish a stronger legal framework, with tighter rules, for the
Haitian taxation system; that women’s issues needed to be better considered;
and that a great deal of opportunity existed for Haiti to profit from Canadian
assistance. Senator Hervieux-Payette also indicated that she was very impressed
by the women’s maternal health program, funded by Canadians, in Port‑au‑Prince.
President Martelly replied that the taxation system in Haiti was in severe
disrepair, with wealthy individuals avoiding paying taxes, while others were
simply absent from the system due to failures with the system. He indicated
that he would like to know how to fix Haiti’s tax system quickly. In terms of
women’s issues he noted that women played an important role in his cabinet and
that he believed strongly in the role of women in democracy.
Martelly also addressed the topic of modernizing the civil registry in Haiti
and the agreement that the government had engaged in with the Venezuelan
company Smartmatic. He indicated that this project would integrate the work
already done, and that eventually, the government would like to collaborate
with Canadians in advancing the completion of the modernization of Haiti’s
WITH CANADIAN NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
its meeting with President Martelly, on 23 March 2012, the Canadian
Embassy organized a roundtable discussion for the delegation with
representatives from Canadian NGOs at the Acajou Room of the Hotel Montana in
Port-au-Prince. Present at this meeting were Mr. Karston Voigt, Red Cross;
Mr. Yves Gatterau, Oxfam-Quebec; Ms. Marie Josée Fiset, Oxfam-Quebec; Ms.
Suzanne Louchard, SUCO; Mr. Jean-Claude Jean, Development and Peace; Mr. Guypsy
Michel, CECI; Mr. Sylvain Côté, Rights and Democracy; Mr. Martial Bailey, Save
the Children Haiti; Mr. Baptiste Hanquart, Médecins du Monde Canada; Ms. Betsy
Wall, Productive Cooperatives Haiti; Mr. Jean-Claude Mukadi, World Vision
Haiti; and Ms. Janne Suvanto, World Food Programme.
was chaired by Ambassador Normandin. He began the meeting by welcoming the
participants of the roundtable and indicated that its purpose was to give the
delegation an overview of the challenges faced by Canadian NGOs in Haiti and
the results of their programs. Mr. Hawn thanked Ambassador Normandin and the
participants and indicated that the roundtable would provide an excellent
opportunity to the delegation to find out what Canadian NGOs were doing and,
pass this information on to Parliament.
representative gave the delegation a brief description of the roles their NGO
played in Haiti, as well as the challenges it faced. These representatives had
provided assistance to Haitians in the following ways: humanitarian assistance;
re-capitalization of commercial firms; economic development; strengthening
governance structures; sustainable development; job creation; promotion and
protection of human rights; professional skills training; food security;
agriculture; health; sanitation and disease prevention; house building, grant
allocation; improving access education (it was noted that over 90% of Haitians
were illiterate); teacher training; and prevention of violence against
discussion which followed, it was noted by some that Haiti was, in their view,
a permanent NGO lab. The reason for the existence of the preponderance of NGOs
in Haiti was due to the weakness of the state. This made coordination efforts
between NGOs difficult because there was no leadership on the part of the state
as there ought to be. It was noted that it was possible that having NGOs
delivering services that ought to be delivered by the state, resulted in an
increasingly weak state. A number of representatives commented that their role
was to partner with local workers who could ultimately take over once the NGO
departed. A comment was made by a representative who noted that he sensed donor
fatigue. Another representative expressed concern over the dissolution of the
Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission in favour of UN “clusters,” which
provided aid. It was also noted that professional NGOs cooperated with the
appropriate Haitian Minister in order to align their strategies, but some NGOs
did not do so. In this respect, there were many NGOs who wanted to provide
assistance to Haitians but those who did not organize themselves properly were
not optimizing their help.
briefed the delegation on the Red Cross’ efforts to provide housing in rural
areas. He noted that the prices of the houses that they were constructing were,
unfortunately, driven up by costs beyond their control. The houses were
hurricane proof and water resistant, and built according to Canadian building
standards. The logistics of moving building materials to remote areas with
practically no roads, along with the preparatory work involved in establishing
land-title, caused delays of about nine-months before construction could begin.
representatives were then asked to provide the delegation with one single
comment that could be taken back by the delegation to the government of Canada.
The following responses were provided:
Continue to reinforce
the state and fulfill development commitments, as a strong state would let NGOs
put their expertise to better use.
Support good governance
Invest in education and
assistance with food production.
pressure to ensure the Haitian state respects its Constitution and the
separation of powers therein.
Assist in coordinating
financing between donors.
Funding for projects
ought to be between three to five years. In particular, agriculture and
environmental projects were the most important.
and the state.
Assist to increase
perception in the international community.
Cease giving any money
whatsoever to Haiti as this undermined the state and created a culture of
dependence. To this comment, another representative countered that while money
was not the solution in Haiti, no money whatsoever was also not the solution.
Direct aid money toward
structural problems like deforestation.
Help NGOs to increase
local ownership and the capacity of civil society.
Mr. Hawn concluded the session by indicating that it
had been productive to have heard the experiences of the representatives and
that he hoped others could build on their experiences.
Mr. Randy Hoback, M.P.
Chair, Canadian Section