Canada–Haiti relations

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Canada-Haiti relations
Map indicating locations of Canada and Haiti



Canada–Haiti relations are relations between Canada and Haiti. During the unsettled period from 1957 to 1990, Canada received many Haitian refugees, who now form a significant minority in Quebec. Canada participated in various international interventions in Haiti between 1994 and 2004, and continues to provide substantial aid to Haiti,[1]

Historical background[edit]

Haiti is in the west of the island of Hispaniola. In 1797 Toussaint Louverture led a successful revolt against the French and made Haiti the first independent Caribbean nation, although government was unsettled until 1915, when the United States occupied the island. The United States left the island in 1934, returning it to a form of democracy.[2]

Canada is a member of the Francophonie, or community of French-speaking countries, as is Haiti. Canada plays an active role in peacekeeping (or peacemaking) around the world.[3]

Canada and Haiti only officially established diplomatic relations in 1954 when Edward Ritchie Bellemare was appointed Chargé d'Affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Haiti.[1] From 1957 to 1986, the Duvalier family reigned as dictators. They created the private army and terrorist death squads known as Tonton Macoutes.[4] Many Haitians fled to exile in the United States and Canada, especially French-speaking Quebec.[5] In the 1991 Canadian census, nearly 44,000 people described themselves as being of Haitian origin.[6] By 2006, Canada had over 100,000 residents of Haitian origin.[7]

Canadian operations in Haiti[edit]

A list of Canadian operations in Haiti follows:[8]

  • Operation HORATIO World Food Programme, September 2008
  • Haiti 2004-4 December 2004
  • Haiti 2004-3 October 2004
  • Haiti 2004-2 October 2004
  • Haiti 2004-1 September 2004
  • Operation HAMLET United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), August 2004–present
  • Operation HALO MINUSTAH, March–August 2004
  • Operation HALO Multinational Interim Force, February–July 2004
  • Haiti 1999 December 1999
  • Operation STANDARD June 1996–July 1997
  • Operation DIALOGUE January–December 1994
  • Operation CAULDRON September 1993–June 1996
  • Operation FORWARD ACTION October 1993–September 1994[9]
  • Haiti 1989 January–October 1989
  • Operation BANDIT January–February 1988[10]
  • Haiti 1963 May 1963[11]

1993 international intervention[edit]

Following the overthrow of the Duvalier regime, Haiti went through a period of political and economic turmoil. UN sponsored forces repeatedly intervened in an attempt to stabilize the situation.[12] The Canadian government refused to recognize the 1988 Haitian national elections, which were marred by violence that left at least 34 people dead, and stated they were thinking of cutting $15 million in development aid.[13]

Jean-Bertrand Aristide won a fresh election in December 1990, but after a coup d'état in September 1991 he fled the country. Political chaos ensued. In June 1993, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada told President Bill Clinton that Canada was ready to send troops to enforce a blockade around Haiti.[14] Later that year, Canada assisted in the United Nations Mission in Haiti, a peacekeeping operation carried out by the United Nations between September 1993 and June 1996.

The Force Commander from March to June 1996, Brigadier-General J.R.P. Daigle was Canadian. Daigle continued as commander of the United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (1996–1997), and the Canadian Général Robin Gagnon led the subsequent United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (1997).[15] Canada also provided the Police Commissioners between October 1993 and February 1996,[16] and contributed police officers to the United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (1997–2000).[17]

In 2000, with Haiti more stable, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was again elected, although his second term of office was marked by accusations of corruption.[18]

2004 international intervention[edit]

In February 2004 President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned (or was forced from power). The Multinational Interim Force (MIF) was authorized by the UN Security Council to deploy in Haiti immediately to keep the peace.[19] Of the 2,700 troops initially deployed, Canada contributed 125.[20] By April, the Canadian contingent led by Lt.-Col. Jim Davis had risen to 500.[21] There has been controversy about Canada's involvement in the international intervention in 2004, with several commentators stating that Canada was complicit in the overthrow of a democratically elected government.[22][23][24]

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti was established later in 2004 as a successor to the MIF. Since then, Canadian contributions have been limited to a 100 police officers and a small number of liaison officers.[25] In June 2005, the Canadian government warned Canadians to avoid visiting Haiti due to the increasingly deteriorating security situation.[26]

In 2006 Canada assisted in international efforts to help Haiti complete its first full electoral cycle since its constitution entered into force in 1987. The Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency contributed nearly $40 million for the electoral process, providing observers and technical assistance. The Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean (herself of Haitian origin) attended the inauguration of President René Préval on May 14, 2006, as the Canadian representative.[27][28]

In July 2007, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Haiti, including a visit to a Canadian-funded hospital in the crime-ridden Cité Soleil slum.[29]

Current Situation[edit]

A large number of Canadian development workers are present in Haiti, including hundreds of missionaries working primarily in the health and education sectors.[27]

As of 2009, Haiti is the second largest recipient of Canadian aid after Afghanistan.[30] As of 2008, Canada had committed $555 million to Haiti over five years.[31] In February 2009, the Canadian government announced it will focus foreign aid on 20 countries or regions where it hopes to have a bigger impact, including Haiti.[32] In addition to official aid, Haitian immigrants in Canada sent about $248 million of remittances to their families in Haiti in 2006.[33] In January 2013, Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino, announced that the government would be reviewing the aid being remitted to Haiti, citing concerns regarding the results of the use of the funds.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Canada-Haiti Relations". Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  2. ^ Paul Butel (2002). Histoire des Antilles Françaises XVIIe - XXe siècle. Perrin. ISBN 978-2-262-01540-4. 
  3. ^ "PEACEKEEPING: CONCEPTS, EVOLUTION, AND CANADA'S ROLE". Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  4. ^ "François Duvalier". Dictator of the Month. Retrieved 2009-04-22. [dead link]
  5. ^ "The Haitian Heart of Love". White Pine Pictures. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  6. ^ Paul R. Magocsi, Multicultural History Society of Ontario (1999). Encyclopedia of Canada's peoples. University of Toronto Press. p. 649ff. ISBN 978-0-8020-2938-6. 
  7. ^ "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  8. ^ "Operation HESTIA". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Haiti - Background". United Nations. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  13. ^ Sheppard Jr, Nathaniel (1988-01-19). "CANADA HITS HAITI VOTE, MAY CUT AID". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  14. ^ Berke, Richard L. (1993-06-03). "Mulroney Offering Troops to Help Blockade Haiti". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  16. ^ "UNMIH Facts & Figures". United Nations. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  17. ^ "UNITED NATIONS CIVILIAN POLICE MISSION IN HAITI". United Nations. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  18. ^ The Carter Center. "Activities by Country: Haiti". Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  19. ^ "Security Council authorizes three-month Multinational Interim Force for Haiti". UN News Center. 2004-02-29. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  20. ^ "Situation Report for Media: Multinational Interim Force-Haiti". United States Southern Command. 2004-03-14. 
  21. ^ "Canadian troops bring some calm to Haiti". Canadian Press. 2004-04-06. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  22. ^ ANTHONY FENTON (2004-08-25). "Canada in Haiti: Who Engineered the Overthrow of Democracy?". The Dominion. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  23. ^ "Canada’s Aid to Haiti: Commendable, or Making Amends for a Discredited Anti-Aristide Strategy?". Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  24. ^ "Haiti is Canada’s Iraq". Global Research. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  25. ^ "Canada and Brazil in Haiti: Passing the military torch, but what of the moral one?". Canadian Foundation for the Americas. September 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-26. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Canadians warned against travelling to Haiti". Canadian Press. 2005-06-21. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  27. ^ a b "Canada - Haiti Relations". Government of Canada. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  28. ^ "INDEPTH: GOVERNOR GENERAL Michaëlle Jean". CBC News. 2005-10-11. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  29. ^ "Poverty of Haiti's Cite Soleil gives Harper firsthand look at country' desperation". Vancouver Sun. 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  30. ^ "Canada wants better monitoring, but remains committed to Haiti". Calgary Herald. 2009-04-05. Retrieved 2009-04-23. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Canada Pleased with Ratification of Haiti's New Prime Minister". Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  32. ^ "Canada limits main foreign aid recipients to 20 countries". Brunswick News. 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  33. ^ "The Canada-Haiti Remittance Corridor". Lund University. Retrieved 2009-04-26.