Canadian relief in Haiti

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Canadian relief in Haiti

I was listening to the radio this morning about the Earthquake in Haiti. From what I understood there were a list of countries, US, UK, France, and I think three or four others sending disaster assistance to Haiti, Canada was not on the list as we are "furthering our investigation in the necessities of the situation." Does any one have more information on what we're doing?

Issues Pages: 

Minister Lawrence Cannon is on CBC now. They are sending a team immedialy and is prepared to sent the Dart team. 

The team has Doctors and Engineers. More to come. 


"Canada is preparing to deliver the full weight of its disaster assistance capabilities to quake-stricken Haiti, an effort that could include a C-17 cargo plane and two search and rescue helicopters.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Wednesday morning that officials have been working all night to deploy Canada's aid resources after the powerful quake struck Tuesday.

A reconnaisance force from the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) has been deployed and is expected to touch down within a few hours to assess the situation, Cannon said."

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The US is making a massive effort to help Haiti - including the possibility of sending a huge floating hospital, once it determines that there are port facilities that can accomodate this floating behemoth.


the US with all its faults always comes through in disasters.


nussy wrote:

the US with all its faults always comes through in disasters.


Sho' nuff.


MSF/ Docters without borders are already in action maybe that's where people should donate..

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Yes, and once the disaster relief is completed, Haitians can return to eating mud pies and selling their children into sexual slavery in quiet the way we like it. Sure enough the US, and the whole western world, always comes through in a natural disaster. It is the imposed human tragedies that we couldn't give a shit about on a daily basis.


DART is already there, with additional follow on teams assembling on tarmacs now.  The victims need a rapid response now..from everyone with capabilities to do so.  This is being coordinated at a variety of levels, with politics being a distant secondary concern to the immediate tragedy.  The suffering is immense.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

CBC reports there is a fully operational airport in Haiti (didn't give the location) and US airplanes will be there with massive infusions of aid this afternoon, and Mexico and Venezuela are doing likewise. Canada is loading up a massive C-17 aircraft with supplies.


BTW, that US floating hospital, the size of a supertanker,  IIRC has 3,000 beds - a CF nurse from this tiny community served on that ship for six months, and we have photos. She served in Afganistan as a CF nurse, but was killed in a car accident in Quebec City two years ago. That hospital ship is awesome - with many operating theatres, recovery units, and so on. I hope it gets to Haiti very quickly.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

The suffering is immense everyday. Oddly, for many in Haiti the earthquake will be a sort of gift as they will have sufficient meals for the first time in a long time.


Everyday they are being buried alive under heaps of rubble and horribly injured by natural disasters?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Every day they face violence, slavery, rape, murder, hunger, hunger, hunger. You really think this earthquake is the worst thing to hit Haitii? Everytime it rains there are mudslides that kill poor Haitians. They live in open sewers and eat from garbage dumps when they eat at all. Haiti is hell on earth for many, many Haitians every single day.

I know, I know, this is a natural disaster and we're supposed to all unify around getting aid to Haiti, just this once, and ignore that most of the time Haitian mothers can't feed their chilfren and they live on pennies a day this day and everyday, if they work at all. And those pennies  don't even provide the absolute bare neccessities. Yes, let's forget all that. Let's forget it before the earthquake, during the relief, and after the school drives, and all the aid workers have gone home. Let's not think about it all.





Frustrated Mess wrote:

The suffering is immense everyday. Oddly, for many in Haiti the earthquake will be a sort of gift as they will have sufficient meals for the first time in a long time.


Holy critical. What did you have for breakfast today FM? How about lunch? Would you prefer Canada just not help at all? Geez

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Why is it people only care when there is an earthquake? That's what pisses me off.


This is every single day:


Poverty has forced at least 225,000 children in Haiti's cities into slavery as unpaid household servants, far more than previously thought, a report said Tuesday.

The Pan American Development Foundation's report also said some of those children — mostly young girls — suffer sexual, psychological and physical abuse while toiling in extreme hardship.

This is every single day:


The small island nation of Haiti relies heavily on food imports, but with prices soaring, some Haitians are resorting to eating mud.

The cookies -- made of dirt, butter and salt -- hold little nutritional value, but manage to keep Haiti's poor alive.

This, to some degree. is every time it rains:


There, in a city of some 200,000 surrounded on three sides by mountains and the rivers and streams that flow from them, it killed several hundred people. Altogether, Jeanne's floods and mudslides killed nearly 1,200 Haitians and left as many missing.

But the catastrophe began high in those mountains, long deforested as trees were cut to make charcoal, the cheapest cooking fuel in the hemisphere's poorest nation.

There is the equivalent of an earthquake in Haiti every month. But now we care?






Frustrated Mess wrote:
I know, I know, this is a natural disaster and we're supposed to all unify around getting aid to Haiti...

It takes a 7.0 shake up, thousands of deaths at once, and plenty of media coverage to open up a narrow window of time, where the emergency measures and western largesse that should have already been long offered in atonement for colonialism's disasters there, can be directed while the focus lasts.  Once the attention shifts as it will when a new flavour of the week takes up the airwaves, so to goes the immediacy.


The human suffering is tragic and I agree with FM it is not only tragic today because of the natural disaster but tragic every day in that hell hole of a country.  I wonder how many of the buildings that collapsed were built by Canadian construction companies and how much "steal" actually went into the  concrete forms. Haiti is another failed capitalist state run by thugs backed by the Canadian military.

I hope we send every bit of help we can since our country has been so complicit in the ongoing misery.


Slightly off topic, but since Harper and his minions cater to the religious right, it could be somewhat peripherally relevant.

Pat Robertson blames Haiti's "pact with the devil" for catastrophe.


"You know, Christie, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and the people might not want to talk about it.  They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon III or whatever.  And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil.  They said, "We will serve you if you will get us free from the French."  True story. And so the Devil said, "Okay, it's a deal," and they kicked the French out -- the Haitians revolted and got themselves free.  But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other; desperately poor.

"The Island of Hispaniola is one island, it's cut down the middle.  On the one side is Haiti, the other side the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc.; Haiti is in desperate poverty.  Same islands.  They need to have, and we need to pray for them, a great turning to God, and out of this tragedy, I'm optimistic that something good will come.  But right now, we're helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable."


I thought I would give a personalized update.  Many have been devastated but I have been working in Haiti each year over the last five years.  So to one small aspect to this story...

The guest house where our group stays is called St. Joseph's Home for Boys whose work involves rescuing street boys and others to escape abusive homes.  It's work has been ongoing for 25 years and they just finished new renovations in celebrating this.  It was a very structurally sound building in Petionville, part of the capital city.  Communication is very difficult but our latest update from St. Joseph's U.S. network is that the house has completely collapsed.  Bill Nathan, the young director there, was on the sixth floor when the house collapsed underneath him.  Bill came to the house when he was eight and developed into a world class drummer and now in his early twenties took over the directorship of the house operations.  He managed to jump to a neighbouring roof and is injured but stable.  The other boys are safe and everyone has been accounted for.  However most of the houses in the neigbouring community are built into the surrounding ravine with floors stacked on top of each other.  One can only imagine what has happened to them. 

We've no contact as yet with our school project in cite soleil and since the quake struck around 5:00pm the students would not have been there.  We had just started investing in the second floor last May and the community there were carrying on construction as much as they could over this last year.  We still plan to go in May this year and will continue building or re-build as necessary.  The Haitian people have tremendous will and spirit and do not defeat easily. It is terrible that new reports are only reporting chaos in the streets when I know from experience that there are thousands of community members coming together to help each other since that is a common necessity of life in Haiti. Especially in Port au Prince.  Relief will be slow which is the lesson we keep learning from other disasters.  A lot of money promised for the tsunami in 2004 never arrived or was used for other purposes.  Our charity has received offers of help but we can't ship large quantities of food, medicine or clothing.  It is better to take time to reflect where help should go and how it is delivered.     

It must be mentioned as FM has that this is a horrific blow to Haiti.  Canada has contibuted to the suffering there having essentially backed the coup d'etat and helped install a dictatorship for two years.  Canada has boasted that it has helped invest in disaster relief and prevention yet four years after Hurricane Jean in 2004 Gonaives, one of the largest cities, still had not recovered completely by 2009.  If Canada's complicity in Haiti was off most media and Canadian's radar before then you can count on the fact that it will be knocked off forever after this.  One of the great losses in this recent tragedy will be the truth of what happened five years ago.  Canada now, and more repulsively, the conservative government will get to go in and play hero. It will be played up as just more Canadian compassion responding to disaster. 

Canada is not a hero in Haiti.  It owes Haiti every cent of recovery money and human effort.  All Canadians who donate will do so out of genuine compassion but the Canadian government is not.       

Joey Ramone

Thanks for that report mimeguy.  My wife is from China.  Reading the news from Haiti has brought back memories of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed at least 70,000 and left hundreds of thousands homeless.  The death toll was much higher than it would otherwise have been because many of the buildings (including official buildings, schools and hospitals) that collapsed were very poorly constructed.  Official corruption, bribery, greed etc... all contributed to what the Chinese call flimsy "tofu" buildings, and hampered relief and reconstruction work.  Sounds a lot like Haiti, although Haiti seems to be even worse.  Canada's complicity in the Haitian disaster is a disgrace.

Papal Bull

the death toll, according to the haitian authorities and some others, may be as high as half a million. port au prince has a population just under 1.1 million, iirc. this is a 50% loss of life in the city and its immediate region. the poor will suffer. the tragedy is immense beyond words. given that the true damage of the earthquake comes in the hours, days, weeks, and months afterwards...this natural catastrophe is only just beginning, exacerbating an already terrible human directed tragedy.


Geologist Warned of Risk of Haiti Earthquake in September 2008


nussy wrote:

the US with all its faults always comes through in disasters.


Not always.


nussy wrote:

the US with all its faults always comes through in disasters.

You can say that again. The US Military and CIA have been to Haiti five times to help Haiti's handful few elite put down various popular rebellions against intolerable US-backed regimes or another. During one visit to Haiti, the US Military arrived for a goodwill visit and didn't leave for 20 years, 1915 to 1935.


Don't worry the US is sending in the Marines yet again.  


As many as 2,000 Marines could soon be deployed to the island, General Douglas Fraser, U.S. Southern Command chief, told a Pentagon briefing on Wednesday. While "the situation is calm" on the island, Fraser said, the forces could ensure that it stays that way as the humanitarian situation potentially grows more dire. An Army brigade of about 3,000 troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., has also been put on alert for possible deployment.


Read more:,8599,1953445,00.html?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz0cXotV0i2



They will be deployed to protect their murderous elite friends.


Passing this along.


Canadian Haiti Action Committee and Toronto Haiti Action Committee are
preparing a list of ways you can donate or raise money to donate for immediate
assistance to people there.  Meanwhile...................

THAC has channeled money through Partners in Health

Haiti has a famous “model” clinic practicing ‘a preferential option for
the poor in health care’ associated with Paul Farmer.

Click on the above site and it will walk you through and your charitable
receipt is applicable to Canada.

We support a community school where people will be needing money for food,
water and medical care.

SOPUDEP School: Donate via Canada Helps
The Sawatzky Family Foundation has been granted charitable status allowing us
to issue tax receipts. if you would like to donate to SOPUDEP School you may
pay through the PayPal Donate link or the Canada Helps Donate Link, or you can
send a check or money order to:
The Sawatzky Family Foundation,
PO Box 626, 25 Peter Street North,
Orillia, ON. Canada,
L3V 6K5
Phone: (705) 345-5593
Fax: (705) 323-9251
E-mail: [email protected]

Another very good organization, which has been generating solidarity with the
peoples of Haiti, Honduras and opponents of oil and mineral extraction
companies in Central America, is
Rights Action                I’ve
included their appeal below

Haiti Earthquake Report-Appeal #1



On January 12, 2010, an “apocalyptic” earthquake, 7.0 on the
Richter scale, devastated Haiti, the epi-center 10 miles southwest of
the capital city, Port-au-Prince, a city of close to 3,000,000 people.

With the highest levels of poverty and exploitation in the Americas,
Haiti has long been one of the most devastated countries in the
Americas, beset regularly by political and natural crisis and
disasters. After the initial earthquake, 27 aftershocks followed, up
to 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Major buildings have collapsed – hotels (the Christopher, the
Montana), the National Palace, UN buildings, the Cathedral, etc; let
alone the uncountable numbers of shacks that a majority of the
population live in.

Fires rage in Port-au-Prince. Screams for help echo through the city
and affected regions. People are digging through the rubble with their
bare hands.

BELOW: 2 news reports.


In 2004 and 2005, Rights Action raised and distributed emergency
funds to various community based groups in Haiti in response to the
dual crisis of the military coup against the government of President
Aristide and then a series of hurricanes and tropical storms that
devastated Haiti through 2004 and into 2005.

Initial funds will be used directly and simply for food and water,
health and shelter relief. Later, we will raise funds for community
re-building efforts.


Make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:

 UNITED STATES: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
 CANADA: 552 - 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8


 Please redistribute this information
 For more information: Grahame Russell, [email protected]
<mailto:[email protected]>
, 860-352-2448


Finally earthquakes kill very few people; mostly they are killed by falling
buildings.  Building collapse is caused by poor construction, made possible by
absent or inadequate building standards, corruption and governments unconcerned
about the welfare of the building’s occupants.  The quake’s death toll is
usually compounded by inadequate emergency preparedness. Both are political

January 28 at OISE there will be a report back on the current political and
Human Rights situation in Haiti.  More news soon................




They need socialism, and to boot the Yanks and their elitist friends the hell out of the country once and for all.


Help Haiti: The Unforgiven Country Cries Out

"The relentlessly maintained, deliberately inflicted political and economic ruin of Haiti has a direct bearing on the amount of death and devastation that the country is suffering today after the earthquake...

Yes, there will now be a great outpouring of immediate aid, as there always is after any spectacular disaster.

But unless there is a sea-change n American [ and Canadian] policy, unless there finally comes an end to the curse that has been laid on Haiti - not by God or by the Devil, but by the hard hearts of elites following blindly in the cruel traditions of their predecessors--then this flurry of caring and attention will soon give way again to callous disregard, brutal repression and inhumane exploitation..."

ceti ceti's picture

The US comes through? Like in New Orleans? In proportion to its wealth, it comes through a lot less than most countries. It only has the logistical capacity to transport stuff, but sometimes that kind of help comes with a steep price tag. Once the US used to help out a lot more, although even in earlier efforts, the aid provided guaranteed US influence. 

Yes also, once the aircraft carrier is done, it will stay a while and provide justification for the open provocation of the newly reactivated 4th Fleet.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thank you so much for taking the time to write that mimeguy.

CBC has this resource of aid agencies who are accepting donations, including the Red Cross, Médicins Sans Frontières and Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti.


The only reason the US and Canada are sending [i]warships[/i] to the Caribbean is to prevent any of them from attempting an escape. They really don't want rafts full of poor people washing ashore in Florida.


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Kady O'Malley reports: 


UPDATE: PMO has apparently assured reporters that there is no reason to recall parliament to deal with the situation in Haiti, but that doesn't really answer the question of what it can and can't do during a state of prorogation, does it? At least, not until we know what the plan is, as far as assisting in recovery, and how much money it has at its disposal to do so. (On that note, I'm still waiting for a response from CIDA, but given what kind of day they're likely having over at departmental communications, I'm willing to cut them a little slack in getting back to me.) 


Would  Rabble as a community do fundraisers for any of the emergency relief funds ?


Boom Boom

If you are waiting for CIDA, you are going to have a long wait.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Webgear wrote:

Boom Boom

If you are waiting for CIDA, you are going to have a long wait.

Yes - Kady made that point in her article.


safar wrote:

Would Rabble as a community do fundraisers for any of the emergency relief funds ?

I think probably the best thing to do is to just donate directly to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) or Red Cross.  Money is what they really need.  Fundraisers always take planning time and cost money for supplies - whereas now is when the money is needed, and every penny is needed - I think people should just flood MSF with donations instead.

Joey Ramone

Agree re: MSF.  It's a good organization and happens to run the only hospital left intact in Port-au-Prince.


I thought that CIDA was part of the problem, actually. Maybe mimeguy or someone else who's watched Canadian activities in Haiti could give us more detail, but ever since we helped to oust Aristide, our ways of helping in Haiti have been highly suspect I believe.


Somewhere back in the archives, thwap and a few other people and I started to do a reading of Fenton and Engler's Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority (2005?), which is a shocking book -- very interesting background on the role played by the then-trendy doctrine of R2P and Michael Ignatieff's part in selling it. My memory now is very rusty, but it would be wonderful to have more testimony from people who've worked there and seen outside interventions first-hand.


I agree that channelling money through the NGOs is the most important thing to do in the short term, but as usual, there's a lot of political questioning to do beyond that.


I can't even get onto the MSF Canada web site - which is a drag, because I'd really like to highlight them in In Cahoots today.  I guess their server must be overloaded with people wanting to donate - I keep hearing them mentioned all over the radio and everything.


Just volunteered to go- hope I get accepted.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

In case this hasn't been posted yet.... I just stumbled on it: Our role in Haiti's plight


Good for you, P4!  Did you apply to go with Doctors Without Borders?


No through the military, I wish I was in a position to go through Doctors without borders. My cousin is in france and she's involved in DWB and is heading there in 2 days I'm pretty friggin proud of her!

It's sad that it takes disasters like this to make the world come together when people suffer every single day but it's times like this I have hope for this planet.


MSF Canada website is probably overloaded. Just taking a long time to log on...


Yes, I finally got on, and posted one of their articles about Haiti on the front page of rabble - and at the end of the article there's a donation button.


CF has 4 C-17's. They need more and if more were ever bought, would be great if some people/some politicians didn't complain and call it a waste of money.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

[url= racism infects Haiti crisis response: study[/url]




Students were "taken aback," he said, to discover that "the way they see the world is impacted by these beliefs they may not know they had."

Researchers used a "racial argument scale" that measures how people interpret information to determine what degree of underlying racism may be there.

"People aren't all that objective or rational" in judging information. "If you agree with the information, you'll think it's better information than if you disagree with it. This can actually predict their level of discrimination."

In a situation where someone - or in the case of Haiti, millions of people - need help, the racist response could be "behaviour of omission, or choosing not to help rather than to do something bad."

In their study, the researchers asked whether they thought Katrina victims got enough aid and what adjectives they would use to describe the victims. The higher their level of discrimination on the "racial argument scale," the more likely they were to think the Katrina victims got enough aid and to describe them as "lazy" or "sinful," casting the blame on the victims, Saucier said.


Jingles wrote:

The only reason the US and Canada are sending [i]warships[/i] to the Caribbean is to prevent any of them from attempting an escape. They really don't want rafts full of poor people washing ashore in Florida.



What other ships would Canada send?...The Newfoundland ferry's Atlantic Vision and Caribou?..or fisheries patrol vessel Leonard J Crowley?...or how about an icebreaker?

The armed forces has a record of helping in natural disasters. That includes it's personnel, aircraft, and SHIPS.


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