Address by Senator Claude Carignan, on Behalf of Minister Paradis : Event to Announce Further Funding for Local Governance in Haiti

February 17, 2014 - Montréal, Quebec

Check Against Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

And good morning, Ambassador Liautaud.

I am happy to be with you here today in Montréal.

Since a terrible earthquake devastated Haiti in January 2010, rebuilding the country has not been easy.

But some progress has been achieved.

For example, more than 1.3 million people have been resettled over the past four years.

The number left to be resettled now is estimated at 147,000.

I am proud that Canada was a leader in donating to help Haitians find housing and rebuild their damaged homes.

Last August, Minister Paradis visited  a number of Canadian projects that are making a difference on the ground in Haiti.

These projects focus on some of Haiti’s key challenges, such as:

  • strengthening democratic governance;
  • creating safer communities;
  • supporting sustained economic growth; and
  • reducing the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

We are working to build a stronger Haiti.

This includes building stronger, more autonomous, and more transparent communities.

Ones that are able to support their citizens and respond effectively to these challenges.

And ones that are able to support sustainable private-sector-led economic growth–a key driver in reducing poverty.

I believe we have made important gains on this front.

And that is thanks to some of the people in this room.

Today, I want to recognize how Montréal and many other world-class Canadian cities are changing the face of Haiti.

Since 2010, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, City of Montréal, and Union des municipalités du Québec have been helping Haiti’s reconstruction efforts through the Municipal Cooperation Project in Haiti.

The first phase of this project was completed in 2013.

Your efforts have helped Haitian municipalities most affected by the earthquake work together to plan their reconstruction.

They have also been able to restore essential services.

And each of your organizations played a critical role in achieving this.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities led the project, in partnership with the federal government.

It focused on four municipalities:

  • Gressier;
  • Léogâne;
  • Grand-Goâve; and
  • Petit-Goâve.

The City of Montréal focused on Port-au-Prince.

The Union des municipalités du Québec helped the Federation of Haitian Mayors strengthen its role.

This drew attention to the needs of municipalities.

In only two and a half years, you have achieved important results.

Thanks to your efforts, these municipalities now have the resources and equipment necessary to support their day-to-day operations.

They have an information-management system for land and urban planning.

They have more trained employees.

And they have a local taxation system that can increase and diversify municipal revenues.

They have also been able to set up a city hall in the communities that have been restored.

In fact, the system you established has been such a success that the Haitian government would like to replicate this model in other regions across the country.

That is why I am pleased to announce further funding to move the work of this partnership to the next level.

Our government is providing $19.1 million for the second phase of this initiative.

These funds will be combined with your own contribution of $2.3 million.

This brings the project’s total to more than $21.4 million.

This funding will help Canadian experts share their professional and technical knowledge directly with Haitian municipalities. 

Your work will help the communities become more autonomous and improve service delivery to citizens.

It will also improve sustainable economic growth, which is key to reducing poverty.

Over the next five years, this project will continue to improve the efficiency and transparency of municipal administrations.

It will help them plan their growth and increase their revenues in aid of improved services to citizens.

And it will make these communities attractive places to establish businesses and spur local economic growth.

I am certain that you will be able to achieve your goals.

Haitian municipal governments will be strong players in delivering much-needed services to the people.

In the long run, your contribution will help create safer and more prosperous communities.

Hopeful places for all Haitians.

So without further delay, I invite my fellow signatories to join me in signing the memorandum of understanding.