(No. 14 – January 13, 2010 – 7:15 EST) The following is an edited transcript of a statement made to media by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the situation in Haiti. The statement was made in the foyer of the House of Commons at 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, after a meeting of the Cabinet:
“I just met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and my Cabinet colleagues. We discussed the devastating situation in Haiti.
“The Prime Minister is very concerned for the people of Haiti, and has asked his ministers to stand ready to assist Haiti now and in the weeks and months ahead.
“My colleague, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced that the Government of Canada will immediately provide up to $5 million, as an initial contribution, for urgent humanitarian assistance to Haitians affected by the earthquake. This will help provide emergency shelter, medical services, food, relief items, and water and sanitation services, as well as security.
“Canada continues to work closely with local authorities, international organizations and UN agencies to help bring relief to those affected and provide support.
“Our embassy in Port-au-Prince has confirmed that all 24 Canadian staff have been accounted for. Other Canadian nationals—at this point, there are 80—are taking refuge in the embassy compound. They are being provided with basic services.
“At the time of the earthquake, there were 82 Canadian police officers working with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. At this time, 80 have been accounted for. We are continuing our efforts to locate the remaining two.
“At this time, there are still no reports of Canadian casualties. One Canadian has suffered minor injuries. Another Canadian has asked for help through a text message, and we are trying to provide assistance.
“I have spoken to the Haitian chargé d’affaires in Ottawa. I indicated our progress with aid assistance, and we discussed some logistical aspects of getting our equipment to the affected area. The chargé assured me this would be communicated to the Haitian government, although communications there are still very limited.
“I also spoke to Mayor Gérald Tremblay of Montreal and briefed him on the situation. The Mayor confirmed that Montreal police officers working in Haiti are all accounted for.
“The Government of Canada continues to monitor the situation closely and to provide assistance. As I said, communications are very difficult in Haiti at this point, and we ask the public to be patient.
“We continue to work in partnership with the Haitian government and partners on the ground to establish what further response will be appropriate.”
For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Earthquake in Haiti.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada