Summary of news in Canada on Haiti, Nov 26, 27

The following story is compiled by website editors.

CBC coverage Yesterday, CBC Radio One's As It Happens, the main evening newsmagazine, carried a 12 minute interview with Nicole Phillips of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. It was the program's first story on Haiti this past week. The story was entirely focused on the election, and paid particular attention to the exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas. The program host was aware of the banning and expressed concern that an election could be held under such circumstances.

You can listen to the interview on podcast here: It was introduced by the program host, veteran CBC journalist Carol Off, with, “Tonight: Limping towards democracy—cholera, communities in ruins, and deep-seated voter scepticism. Three enormous problems facing Haiti as its citizens go to the polls.”

Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson Maryse Narcisse appeared briefly on the main, evening television broadcast, The National, yesterday. She told CBC’s Paul Hunter, “We want the election to stop.”

Nigel Fisher was interviewed on the same broadcast. He said, “Yes, there will be resistance. (to the election). Turnout will not be as high as we hoped. But I think this is our best option.”

Note the “our” in “our best option.”

CBC’s television and radio reports yesterday focused on the election, but the coverage consisted too much of lurid descriptions and predictions of violence and mayhem in the coming days. “Haiti’s elections are notoriously violent and corrupt,” we are told by Paul Hunter and radio reporter Connie Watson. Which is not only inaccurate or exaggerated, it tells us nothing of who is responsible for this state of affairs, feeding, once again, the image that Haiti is a hopeless place.

This style of reporting is all too reminiscent of the CBC’s reports during the previous, flawed presidential election, February, 2006. At that time, CBC delivered the message night after night that if the Aristide ally Rene Preval were to be elected, blood would flow in the streets because he and his Lavalas movement supporters would go on a rampage against those responsible for the overthrow of elected government in 2004.

Meanwhile, the REAL story of that election, unfolding under the CBC’s very noses, was the attempt by Haiti’s elite to steal the election result from Preval. The latter was, of course, merely the best choice of a bad lot by the majority of the population. Fanmi Lavalas was banned from THAT election, too, its leaders either in prison or in exile.

A curious story on aid to Haiti was aired on both television news Thursday and radio news Friday. I reported on this yesterday, the story of a Canadian aid project unable to get its water purification equipment released from the port of Port au Prince for the past four months. It turns out the project is Humanity First, a professional business/charity based in Vaughn, Ontario. Its website lists a large number of places in the world in which it performs its work, including in Vaughn itself, where it is fundraising for a local community center.

The website contains one items of information on Haiti, a press release dated January 12 that explained the group is gathering equipment in a rush to get to Haiti. There is no information as to how much money the group has raised, nor where it has been spent.

This business is all too reminiscent of the dozens, nay hundreds of charity businesses that sprang into action following the earthquake in what can only be described as acts of self promotion and self validation. Many of us became all too aware of this world following the earthquake. Regardless of the individual merits of one or the other charity, and recall that most charities operating in Haiti, including the Canadian Red Cross itself, do not provide proper accounts of their activity (see story link in the next paragraph), it all adds up to the DISENFRANCHISEMENT of the Haitian people and their country.

CBC News has an interesting story on all this, here:

Tomorrow, CBC News Network (television) will carry extensive coverage of Haiti. Among the guests will be Haitian political figures and activists, Haitian Canadians, and Melinda Myles in Haiti.

Toronto Star Today’s Toronto Star publishes two very informative articles by two of the three reporters it has assigned to Haiti. Go to its Haiti news page:

Vancouver Sun Vancouver is Canada’s third largest city. It has only one daily broadsheet published in the city, Canwest’s Vancouver Sun. Incredibly, it has not published a single article on the election nor the humanitarian crisis in Haiti this past week.

The paper’s editors did publish a prominent article early in the week about a local animal rights activist. Which causes one to reflect sadly on the commentary often given to foreign media by Haitians living in the desperate idp camps, “They treat us worse than animals.” 

Radio CPAM (Montreal) From a column today by CPAM host Pierre Emmanuel. CPAM is a Haitian news and information radio station in Montreal, French language.

...Les deux envoyés spéciaux de CPAM à Port-au-Prince me racontaient encore hier matin, combien les files d’attente devant les bureaux d’identification étaient interminables. Malgré le fait que 63 unités mobiles aient été créées en plus des 140 bureaux d’enregistrement. Ils ont aussi rapporté l’inquiétude grandissante sur l’existence de faux procès-verbaux et de faux bulletins de vote. Bien pire encore, l’existence de deux listes électorales qui auraient un écart de plus de 71 000 inscrits.

Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, le pays vit les derniers moments d’une campagne électorale relativement mouvementée. La grande mobilisation s’étant concentrée à Port-au-Prince qui représente près de 40% de l’électorat et détermine généralement le gagnant des présidentielles.

Après un séisme, des ouragans à répétition et une épidémie de choléra en pleine extension, le peuple haïtien s ‘est offert ces dernières quarante-huit heures un moment de répit. Une sorte de thérapie collective. Mais, dites vous que les foules en liesse de la campagne ne garantissent pas pour autant une forte participation populaire à ces élections.