Follow-up email to MPs concerning Haiti Election

November 25, 2010

Dear Member of Parliament,

This email is in follow-up to our letter dated November 5 in which we expressed to you our deep concern about Canada’s support for exclusionary elections to be held in Haiti on November 28, 2010. We thank those MP’s who sent us confirmation of their receipt of that letter.

The November 28 election arbitrarily excludes 14 political parties, most notably Haiti’s largest and most popular political party, the Fanmi Lavalas of exiled former President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Haiti cannot recover from the devastating January earthquake in a just and sustainable manner if its majority party is excluded from the democratic process. As documented by the September 15, 2010 human rights report We’ve Been Forgotten, other statements by human rights agencies, and many news reports and articles, basic human rights have been neglected in Haiti’s earthquake relief and reconstruction, including access to shelter, food, potable water and sanitary conditions. These findings are especially troubling as Haiti grapples with the recent cholera outbreak.

The Government of Canada’s decision to provide $5.8 million for elections that fail to meet basic democratic requirements of being free, fair, and inclusive is counterproductive to Haiti’s successful reconstruction. We call on you to make a clear statement that elections in Haiti must include all representative political parties. Voting must be readily accessible for all Haitians, including the displaced. The Canadian government should cease to provide funding for elections that do not meet these minimum, basic democratic requirements.

We also call upon the Canadian government to fundamentally change the nature of its aid to Haiti. We are concerned that a large and disproportionate amount of money from Canada to Haiti ($58 million at minimum) has been directed towards the training and equipping of police, construction of prisons, and support to a deeply flawed judicial system since January 12, 2010. This kind of expenditure amounts to a violation of the sovereignty of the Haitian people.

For further background, please see: 1) The human rights report We’ve Been Forgotten: http://ijdh.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/IDP-Report-09.23.10- compressed.pdf

2) The October 7, 2010 statement by 45 members of U.S. Congress addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking the U.S. Government to withhold its own substantial funding for the exclusionary November 28, 2010 election:
http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/content/forty-five-members-us-congress-sign- letter-fair-and-inclusive-elections-haiti

3) A November 3 statement on the elections by the Canada Haiti Action Network:
http://canadahaitiaction.ca/content/statement-canada-haiti-action-network
et la version française:
http://www.canadahaitiaction.ca/content/d%C3%A9claration-ha%C3%AFti- besoin-d%E2%80%99%C3%A9lections-libres-et-justes-0

For more information on Canada and Haiti, and to learn more about CHAN, please see: www.canadahaitiaction.ca

On behalf of Haiti Solidarity BC, affiliate of the Canada Haiti Action Network

Roger Annis, Bill Burgess, Stuart Hammond, and Melanie Spence

Phone contact at 778 858 5179

Email canadahaiti@gmail.com