Joly says Canadians 'want to do more' to help Haiti as military intervention looms

By Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press, Oct. 3, 2023

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is determining how it can best help with an international military intervention in Haiti, but a fellow Liberal MP says it's unlikely that will involve any military role for Canada.

"Canada has always been involved in issues related to Haiti. We will continue to be," Joly told reporters Tuesday morning on Parliament Hill, in French.

"We want to do more. So we'll thus continue these diplomatic conversations, and I would say that we'll also continue to support solutions that are by and for Haitians."

The United Nations Security Council approved a multinational force Monday to help combat violent gangs in Haiti, which Kenya has offered to lead and expects to kick off by January.

Joly said she's spoken with her counterpart from Kenya as well as Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, on how Canada can be of help.

Haiti's unelected prime minister asked for an international intervention last year, and the idea has been divisive among Haitians though it is supported by the UN and Washington.

Joly noted that Ottawa has always been involved in issues pertaining to Haiti, and said she expects Canada will do more, without specifying what that would involve.

Haiti has faced a profound security crisis exacerbated by brazen criminal gangs since mid-2021, leading to rampant violence, cholera outbreaks and restricted access to water, food and medical care.

Washington had asked Canada to lead a military intervention, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it's unclear whether such a move would lead to long-term stability, citing multiple previous interventions that he argued made Haiti even less stable.

Liberal MP Emmanuel Dubourg, who was born in Haiti, said it’s more likely Canada would send technical and intelligence assistance to forces stationed on the ground or in neighbouring countries, instead of its own soldiers.

"The prime minister was really clear about that, he said we’re going to help as much as we can, but no Canadian troops in Haiti," he said, adding that Canada could send more humanitarian help.

Bloc Québécois foreign-affairs critic Stéphane Bergeron said it’s clear Canada will need to take some sort of role, given its historical links with Haiti. He said whatever Canada does must be in response to what Haitians ask for.

Canada's top military general told media in March that there weren't enough armed forces available to lead such a mission.

Joly has instead issued sanctions on multiple political and economic elite in Haiti, arguing this will help lead to a consensus among political actors on how other countries can best support Haitians to find stability and eventually hold an election.

She noted Canada has also allocated millions to help the Haitian National Police as it tries to restore order.


Posted Oct. 7, 2023