January 16, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement as he concluded his first official visit to Haiti:
“I was pleased to visit Haiti today and meet with President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Garry Conille. I conveyed to them Canada’s commitment to continuing to support the Haitian people.
“During these meetings, I took the opportunity to underscore Canada’s continued concern with political stability in Haiti. Combatting corruption, support for an independent judiciary and the establishment of a capable and professional police force are key for the long-term development of Haiti.
“These challenges have hampered Haitian development over the past 25 years; the earthquake of two years ago only compounded existing problems. I am pleased to see Haiti’s leaders demonstrating the political will to tackle these challenges. I also made clear to the Haitian leadership that the Canadian government does not support the re-establishment of the Haitian army and will not provide any financial contribution to that end. We fundamentally believe that the basic needs of the Haitian people should take priority.
“I also had the opportunity to visit a police commissariat, a facility that Canada is helping to rebuild. We are proud of the Canadian police officers, Canadian Forces members and corrections officers supporting the development and the professionalization of the Haitian National Police to help improve the safety and security of the Haitian people.
“Finally, I also held good discussions with Canadian companies working in Haiti. Employment is a top priority for the Haitian government, and Canada is committed to working with them and the private sector to facilitate and support investment in Haiti.”
Minister Baird was accompanied by his Parliamentary Secretary, Bob Dechert, as well as New Democrat Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière and Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Dominic LeBlanc.
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