Ministerial Statement Marking the One-Month Anniversary of the Earthquake in Haiti

(No. 65 – February 11, 2010 – 6:15 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Bev Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement on the occasion of the one-month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti:

"As we mark the passing of the one-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, the Government of Canada reiterates its heartfelt condolences to the people of Haiti," said Minister Cannon. "We stand by the Government of Haiti and all those affected by the earthquake during the observation of a month of mourning."

Comprehensive humanitarian and consular efforts

"The Government of Canada has mounted rapid and comprehensive humanitarian and consular efforts, involving multiple federal government departments and agencies," said Minister Cannon. "Canada is working closely with the Government of Haiti, the United Nations and members of the international community on recovery and reconstruction efforts.

"Canada has acted swiftly to evacuate over 4,100 people from Haiti. To date, 29 Canadians have lost their lives in this tragedy, and we have accounted for all but 63 Canadians. Canada has also played a leadership role in contributing to an effective and coordinated international response to the crisis by hosting the Ministerial Preparatory Conference in Montreal on January 25 to establish a clear and common international vision for the early recovery and longer-term reconstruction of Haiti.

"The Government has made important cash contributions to facilitate rapid action by trusted and experienced humanitarian partners, disbursing some $85 million for emergency relief and recovery efforts to date in support of appeals by the United Nations, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Canadian non-governmental organizations working in Haiti."

Supporting humanitarian workers, organizations and agencies working in Haiti

"The compassion and astounding generosity of Canadians is a true demonstration of the values we share in helping those in their hour of need," said Minister Oda. "Canadians can take pride in the help given to the Haitian people to ease their pain and loss through quick government action supporting humanitarian workers, organizations and agencies working in Haiti. Recovery, as well as efforts to build a better Haiti, will take years, and Canada will stand behind this international effort."

Canadian Forces providing urgently needed aid to Haitians

Under Operation HESTIA, close to 2,000 Canadian Forces personnel have deployed to Haiti to assist in the immediate relief efforts. The Canadian Forces' (CF) Joint Task Force Haiti (JTFH) has the mandate to deliver services in support of the Government of Haiti and the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince. Since the first members of the CF were deployed to the region, the CF have continued to provide urgently needed aid to Haitians, including search and rescue, food, water and shelter, medical care, and security, as well as road clearing and reconnaissance, in support of the humanitarian assistance effort.  

"The Government's recent investments in the Canadian Forces, such as buying new CC-177 Globemaster aircraft, allowed the CF to answer the call without reservation or hesitation and to arrive in Haiti less than 24 hours after the earthquake struck," said Minister MacKay. "The rapid, efficient and effective response to this disaster is a tribute to the ongoing professionalism, strength and integrity of the men and women of the Canadian Forces. We remain committed to doing all that we can to lessen the long-term impact of the earthquake."  

Canadian police providing humanitarian relief and security

"The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Correctional Service of Canada have been making a difference in Haiti through the contribution of Canadian police and corrections officers even before the earthquake," said Minister Toews.

"Since the earthquake, Canadian police in Port-au-Prince have been assisting in the provision of humanitarian relief, assisting with first aid and providing security. Additionally, the Correctional Service of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency have been playing a role, respectively, in re-establishing and strengthening Haiti's correctional system and screening Canadian evacuees.

"I am proud of the contributions Canada has been able to make. We are committed to helping Haiti recover and rebuild its security institutions."

Special immigration measures

"The Government has also implemented special immigration measures," said Minister Kenney. "Among other measures, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is giving priority to new and existing sponsorship applications from Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have family in Haiti. CIC is also allowing Haitians in Canada to extend their stay temporarily. In all cases, applicants must demonstrate that they are significantly and adversely affected by the situation in Haiti.

"I am pleased to report that, to date, 183 Haitian children have been united with their adoptive parents in Canada. All of the children who were brought to Canada were already in the adoption process when the earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince."

Since Canada established diplomatic relations with Haiti in 1954, relations between both countries have been further cemented with the growth of a substantial Haitian community in Canada as well as the continued presence of Canadian development organizations in Haiti. The Government of Canada remains committed to playing a leadership role in the coming years to accompany the Government of Haiti and its people on the road to recovery and reconstruction.

For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Canada's response to the earthquake in Haiti.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Catherine Loubier
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

Department of National Defence Media Liaison Office
National Defence Headquarters
1-866-377-0811 / 613-996-2353

Jessica Fletcher
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
819-953-6534
media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca