FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Contacts: Roger Annis, Vancouver 778 858 5179; Bill Burgess, Vancouver 604 255 5957
VANCOUVER BC, A group of advocates for democracy and social justice in Haiti have fired off a letter in both official languages to the 305 members of Canada’s Parliament urging them to pull back from their apparently unanimous support or acquiescence to the flawed November 28 election in Haiti.
“Based on our reading of the debate in Parliament on December 13, we are not hearing anyone from any of the political parties say that the November 28 election was illegitimate,” said Roger Annis, spokesperson for Haiti Solidarity BC, the Vancouver affiliate of the Canada Haiti Action Network.
“We are disappointed that there seems to be universal agreement to somehow patch up the first round fiasco and head into a second round vote. Do Canada and its allies in Haiti have two standards of democracy, one for the wealthy countries and one that’s good enough for others?” he asked.
The group pins the blame for the election debacle on the foreign powers in Haiti, noting that the U.S., Canada and Europe bankrolled the electoral exercise to the tune of at least $29 million. It says they ignored voices in Haiti and internationally urging that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis must continue to occupy 100 per cent of the world’s resources and attention and that the preconditions for a fair and inclusive election did not exist on November 28.
The Canada Haiti Action Network has posted onto its website a commentary by Haitian patriot and Ottawa resident Jean Saint-Vil proposing thoughtful solutions to Haiti’s electoral impasse. “These are the voices in Haiti and among the Diaspora that Canada should be heeding,” says Stuart Hammond, another representative of the Vancouver group.
The group says policies of foreign interference and neglect that marked the pre-earthquake situation in Haiti have continued since, as evidenced by the November 28 vote. These have proven harmful in the relief and reconstruction effort. Awareness among Canadians, resulting in more pressure on government and elected leaders in Parliament, is needed so that resources from Canada can assist in creating effective public services and greater political sovereignty in Haiti.