Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for welcoming us and for the opportunity to have this conversation with you about perhaps the poorest area of the world in the richest region of the world.
Everything I'm going to say stems, we think, from one fact, which, in our judgment, is the most important fact in Haiti's recent history, and which, I believe, warrants Canada's continued interest in that country. That decisive fact is that Haitians have exercised their civil and political rights: 63% of Haiti's electorate voted on February 8. I was in Haiti just before the election, and everyone said it wasn't possible, that the risk of violence was great, that the electoral lists and everything else made it virtually impossible for the vote to take place and that Haitian citizens would have a lot of trouble getting out to vote, also for reasons of poverty, travelling costs, waiting and so on. And yet 63% of the Haitian electorate went out to vote, thus giving all those who had long invested in the transition, particularly in the past two years, a resounding response that the transition would end in a lawful manner and in the assertion of democratic values. That, I believe, was the will expressed by our Haitian friends.
Even though it may appear somewhat rhetorical for those who were in Haiti at that time, I believe we must hail, and never lose sight of, that dignity and responsibility shown by people living in the greatest indignity.
Our view is that these democrats must be heard and that their commitment must be met with a similar commitment by the Haitian government itself. I wouldn't say here that we should be hard on the Haitian government, but we should definitely be demanding of it. The Haitian government, Canada and the international community must show a similar commitment to that shown by the Haitians themselves.
I was very interested in Prime Minister Harper's statement, when he spoke with the president elect of Haiti and said that we were in that country for the long run. I was also very interested to read Minister MacKay's answer to the question by your colleague Mr. Patry on Canada's long-term commitment. You are members of this committee, and I'm not going to quote the minister's answer in full, but he said:
||The government intends to remain in Haiti for as long as necessary to complete the reinforcement of international efforts undertaken with other partners. Our work is not done. Canada will therefore be there for an indefinite period of time.
I believe that's the first thing we should recall: it will be hard, long and complicated in Haiti, and Canada is there to stay, according to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As you will understand, we are dealing with the future of Haiti. In the 10 minutes you have generously granted me, Mr. Chairman, I will focus fairly little on Haiti's history and past. I even believe that everyone interested in that country must make a considerable effort to turn toward the future, rather than get stuck in endless historical analyses of factions, groups and so on.
We think that Canada must promote the establishment of democratic governance in Haiti very soon, that is to say by the end of the decade—and we aren't the first to say so. We must provide Haitian citizens with proof that the choice they have made and the period in which they find themselves will yield positive results, particularly with regard to respect for the rights of every Haitian, the operation of government and democratic governance.
What must be done to bring about democratic governance in Haiti? First, second and third, there must be security. The Government of Canada must fight in New York so that the mandate the Security Council gives to MINUSTAH includes, in the most imperative terms, an obligation to disarm the private groups that have the resources to overturn in a few hours—we see them at work right now—the efforts of many people by spreading terror and murder. These people must be restrained and controlled. Haitian society must be summarily rid of these elements that can quickly underdo all the work that others, including Canada, could do in that country. That's an absolute necessity.
The experience of the international community must be put to use, its resources assembled, its programs in place supported, particularly by the National Disarmament Commission in Haiti. The country must become a living civil society again, sustainable and secure. I would remind us all that security is a human right. It isn't a manifestation of power, a force used against each other, but rather a fundamental human right.
Second, there is the question of impunity. Haiti's prisons are full of men and women living in unspeakable conditions. Some may be guilty, others may not be; no one knows. How do we resolve this matter and prove to our Haitian friends, these democrats I referred to earlier, that the judicial system in Haiti will once again be honest?
I have a few ideas that are not currently very popular, but that I think are essential. The special representative of the UN Secretary General has mentioned the possibility of sending a number of judges from Francophone countries to Haiti to conduct judicial investigations and prepare the basic files on the basis of which the justice system will be able to work. Obviously, we won't send judges from Africa, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Mauritius or Cameroon without the Haitian government's consent. I hope Canada is working toward obtaining that consent.
When I was Secretary General of La Francophonie, we sent Francophone judges from a large number of African countries to Rwanda following the genocide, and they did precisely that: conducted investigations, and the judicial process was expedited as a result.
As you know, in the past two or three years, our Haitian friends have done some extraordinary thinking on these matters pertaining to the operation and reliability of the judicial system. There is the Haiti citizens forum, which I believe is funded by CIDA, and is a partner of Rights and Democracy in Haiti. There's Group 184, which has prepared a proposal for a new social contract, also with CIDA's support, I believe. In the area of justice, these people have made extremely interesting recommendations. The hope that what they call "the judicial chain" is established on a priority basis and followed. What's the relationship between the police and the judges? What's the relationship between the judges and prison? What is the relationship between prison and the police?
Second, they want training to start now for young judges in order to renew the supply of judges, some of which, in the opinion of many, should eventually disappear from the justice system in Haiti. In that spirit, they hope that a national judicial council is established and developed, a kind of judge of the judges, which would make it possible to determine when a Haitian citizen is no longer fit to perform judicial duties in that country. They also hope that a consultation mechanism, a kind of grand council in which civil society in particular could be represented, is established.
Third, I believe MINUSTAH's upcoming mandate must absolutely dissociate the security requirements I've just referred to from those stemming from the need to promote and protect human rights. In the past two years, the security and human rights mandates have been combined in a single team, under the same authority, and so on. We are no longer in a transition phase. We are in the implementation phase—we hope—of a state governed by the rule of law and democratic governance. We hope so.
We hope that the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights receives the necessary resources to open a permanent office in Port-au-Prince, to determine the status of the situation, as it has done in many countries of the world—the last most interesting case in this hemisphere was in Colombia, and that had some significant effects—and, after determining the status of the situation, which is largely known, to propose that a legislative and institutional structure be put in place for the protection and promotion of human rights, in accordance with international standards. I repeat that the Office of the High Commissioner has done this in a number of countries. I'm pleased to see that La Francophonie has made a commitment to reforming the ombudsman office, which absolutely needs that. It's a fantastic team whose leadership is said to need to be enriched by a board of directors and be supported by a broader authority than that of a single individual. La Francophonie says it will take care of that. The Office of the High Commissioner could help create a national human rights commission in Haiti, as 138 countries of the world have done in the past 20 years.
I see that time is running out. I'd like to say a word about the police. Tomorrow, in 18, 24 or 30 months, or in five years at most, MINUSTAH will be leaving Haiti. At some point, MINUSTAH will leave. There's no army in Haiti; there's no police. I believe that the vice-president of CIDA, Ms. Laporte, gave you some figures on the ratios: one police officer for so many citizens in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Haiti. I'm not going to repeat them. This situation makes no sense. Based on a small survey of some of the resources in Canada, particularly in Quebec, we estimate that the 100 police officers we have in Haiti, in addition to the 25 retired police officers, form a minimum base for Canada's action in this essential area.
One day, the police that we now have to train will be the only force capable of keeping the peace and stability in Haitian society.
I believe that Canada should evaluate its resources. I know there are considerable financial implications. However, doing everything I've referred to in this decade would cost less than starting over in 2014 or 2015, as we're doing because we left Haiti too soon in the 1990s. That's absolutely fundamental.
Canada must absolutely make a direct and constant contribution in the next two or three years to establishing a professional and depoliticized national police force with the necessary standards, resources and equipment to perform its mission and duties. Canada is already intervening, and I should have mentioned that earlier, for the courthouses and certain police stations. We're not talking about that; we're talking about the need to train several thousands of police officers in the next two or three years. Perhaps we could do that in the context of La Francophonie and also, of course, of the OAS. That's an absolute necessity.
Mr. Chairman, since we have to choose, I'd say there's a lot of literature on Canada's support and on the general support for Haiti's civil society. I don't think we can maintain these programs as they are, because we're no longer in the transition phase, or in the crisis that preceded the transition. We're in the process of building a state governed by the rule of law and, we hope, democratic governance. Some elements have remained in Haiti, and they are women's groups, defenders of human rights, young lawyers and other groups. I've seen them; they're our partners, and I know them. CIDA knows them and has given them considerable support, and that's very good. I hope that, rather than help individuals or groups one by one, we'll have a policy designed to consolidate sectors of civil society. There has to be a domestic federation of Haitian women. There has to be a major coalition of human rights defenders. It exists, but it needs to be enriched. There has to be a coalition of youth associations, which I'll come back to, since 52% of Haitians are under 25 years of age.
So the idea is to provide systematic support for the consolidation of a sustainable civil society of these major sectors, to ensure its cohesion for three or five years and to make it capable of proposing economic, social and cultural policies and of playing by the democratic rules. It seems to me we should consider three- or five-year partnerships to ensure that what we do isn't undone in two or three years.
Mr. Chairman, in Morocco, in 2004-2005, Rights and Democracy organized 12 regional forums on democratic culture in the 12 major administrative regions of Morocco and one national forum on democratic culture in Rabat. We propose to do the same thing in Haiti between 2006 and early 2009. People have to be educated in democracy and democratic culture. Mr. Chairman, I'll close by describing one last project that we are finalizing.
In Canada, we have established 40 Rights and Democracy delegations at 40 universities. Each of our delegations is being twinned with delegations we've established in developing countries. Rabat is twinned with Sherbrooke, McGill with Kenya, Moncton with Ouagadougou, and so on. We are working on a program based on this experiment, but that obviously can't be a copy of it. It would be a network of delegations called youth and democracy in Haiti, so that, across the country, there are places for discussion and proposals for this generation of young people who, I repeat, form the majority in this country.
Mr. Chairman, I have no particular proposal for addressing this extraordinary scandal. We're talking about the economy and the private sector. We need investment in Haiti, obviously, but 40% of the children in Haiti will still never go to school in their lives. In terms of social rights, in terms of social development, in terms of economic development, in terms of behaviours of all kinds, this situation must be absolutely changed, and quickly. Countries have successfully completed large scale basic education operations.
Will the Bucharest Summit, which the Prime Minister of Canada will be attending in September, be the opportunity to establish a major 10-year basic education program with the European countries, the African countries and the countries of the Maghreb region, so that we can put an end to this intolerable, scandalous situation in which 35 to 40% of the children in Haiti are uneducated? I know that CIDA is working on consolidation projects for the Ministry of Education, which must be done, but children must be in school in the world in which we live in 2006.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Well, I cannot see how we will build a democratic governance, un état de droit
, in Haiti if a third of the kids are not in school.
I should add to this also a comment about the quality of the schools that exist. As it is today, half of those who go to school are out of school after three or four years. It means that very, very few are going to school until the end of the first elementary level of a school system. This has to be changed, otherwise we will have thousands and thousands of illiterate young people having nothing to do, and doing more than nothing, unfortunately, in many cases.
As for the outcome of our involvement, we have to be extremely cautious and, at the same time, be severe and ask the real question--the one you asked--about the outcome. At the same time, what Canada has done has also produced results in Haiti. I have seen that in Port-au-Prince; I have seen that in other parts of Haiti. I have been there many times in the last 15 years. I mentioned earlier those groups of Haitian citizens who are trying to reflect upon the situation, to propose change and working.... Because of Canada, because of us, many of those people have been able to maintain social services, houses for women who have been raped. They have built private schools. They have maintained a certain semblant de fonctionnement in their society.
I was really impressed in November when I was there for a long period of time--I was there for 10 days--and I think that what we have done in the last two years, during this period of transition, is that we have been able to maintain a strong connection with the political elite and the political class and the administration. Some departments, like the women's affairs and others, have made tremendous contributions during this transition, and we have helped them to do that.
We have also, as a country, been able to maintain a very important link with those Haitians who have decided to stay in their country and try to build something, what we call civil society organization. We have a rare cooperation in Haiti that is all over the country. We are in the capital city, but we are also in agriculture, in reforestation, in various parts of the country. If I read correctly what the new government has in mind, in terms of decentralization, in terms of rebuilding the local communities, we are in a good position to help because we are in all parts. Then it's un bilan; it's active and passive.
I don't think anyone can expect 100% results in a situation like the one that was prevailing in Haiti, but the situation has changed. We now have an elected government. The president has been strongly elected, and 63% of the Haitians who can vote, who went to vote, said that they want another future. I think that's why I said earlier that it will be complicated, even if our friends may have a reaction. We want them to have results. We want to have results with them. We cannot accept any sidetracking. We want results. We want kids in school, new schools. We want new judges, new courts of justice. We want this country to deliver; otherwise they'll fail and we'll fail with them.
Thank you very much. It's a real pleasure to be here.
Monsieur Pétillon, as director of the Haiti program, also lived in Haiti from 2001-04. He should be able to give you some on-the-ground perspectives about some of the developments you've been discussing over the last hour.
I'd also like to acknowledge the extensive work of the committee at a really critical moment for Haiti. We'll follow your deliberations with interest. If we can help in any way, we would be very pleased to do so.
We've tabled four documents with the committee: "Haiti-Country Development Programming Framework/CDPF"; "Summary of Lessons Learned by Donors in Haiti"; "Guidelines for Effective Development Cooperation in Fragile States"; and, lastly, "Canadian Cooperation with Haiti: Reflecting on a Decade of 'difficult partnership'". This last document, which you referred to, was prepared for the OECD.
My remarks will be fairly brief. I won't go beyond the five-minute limit so that I can hand the floor over to my colleague. My remarks will concern the last document, which analyzes the context of fragility prevailing in Haiti, identifies some of the key Canadian and international cooperation issues and states certain conclusions and principles regarding our overall approach to fragile states.
In referring to the analysis that we undertook for the OECD, let me start with a basic observation about fragility and development.
Many of the basics of aid effectiveness are quite clear: the importance of local ownership, donor coordination, alignment of priorities and resources, sustained engagement, and cross-government policy coherence. This committee, I think, has heard and discussed a lot of these across many issues.
The point we would make, which comes out of the study, is that these principles of aid effectiveness are especially difficult to apply in fragile states because of the fundamental lack of authority, legitimacy, and capacity. It's these fundamental shortcomings of authority, legitimacy, and capacity that manifest themselves in very different ways across fragile states. It is therefore not surprising that our studies show that understanding the local dynamics of fragility is a key determinant of effective engagement.
Even more importantly--and I think this was alluded to by one of the members, Mr. Chair--is that this understanding needs to be structured, it needs to be ongoing, and it needs to be shared, or it results in very ad hoc, very uncoordinated and sometimes mutually incompatible results, as we have seen elsewhere, particularly in the context of Haiti.
It is a very different environment from fragile state to fragile state. The warlords, terrorism, and poppy culture in Afghanistan are not the same as the ethnic resource wars of Sudan, and they owe little, in turn, to the historical, socio-economic, political, environmental, and security dimension of Haiti's instability.
We've found, therefore, in Haiti and elsewhere, that shared perspectives across governments and the donor community, leading to shared commitments to achieve stability and concrete progress toward millennium development goals, are basic conditions of success. That was our first and overwhelming conclusion, and it was taken up subsequently within the OECD as one of the fundamental principles of aid effectiveness in fragile states.
As for our second conclusion, our study also concluded that in a politically charged, corrupt, and high-risk environment, even greater attention is required to ongoing monitoring and evaluation to ensure due diligence and oversight, because if it can go wrong in fragile states it most often will.
Realistic targets must also be set. Sometimes "realistic" means just a arresting a decline, not making progress. But we need to set these realistic targets and determine early on if we're making enough progress and adjusting as needed, with the kind of flexible response mechanisms that I'll talk about in a second.
And we must reflect, as well, the mutual accountability that must govern the aid relationship. That was our second set of conclusions.
Our third conclusion in this study for the OECD was that effectiveness in Haiti and elsewhere requires a long-term commitment of resources. We all know in development that progress takes time, but stabilizing crises, building accountable institutions, and rebuilding trust and a social contract are among the greatest challenges of development. And in this context, on-again, off-again relationships with poorly applied conditionality can sometimes do more harm than good.
Mr. Chairman, this is not about ensuring that annual budgets are spent; it's about ensuring, in a flexible and responsive manner, an ongoing relationship based on dialogue, accountability, and mutual responsibility.
Our fourth of five conclusions is that it takes a lot more than effective programming to make a lasting difference in fragile states. Diplomatic dialogue at a bilateral and multilateral level, backed up by support for basic security and an activist approach to outreach, involving both state and non-state actors, are essential for achieving sustainable results.
Our last conclusion, Mr. Chairman, emphasizes that it is important to adopt iterative approaches to implementation. Here we're talking about involving various partners, providing for alternative solutions selected from a full range of delivery mechanisms and about forming a critical mass of resources in order to achieve tangible results.
We have seen in Haiti, as elsewhere, an international community that has a responsibility to prevent, protect, and rebuild countries in crisis, including difficult partnerships where will or capacity, or both, are lacking. This government has undertaken tangible steps in this area, but great challenges still lie ahead in fragile states such as Haiti. The work we undertook, therefore, in relation to this study is helping the international community and us to understand the need for a different and more effective approach to development assistance in fragile states.
Mr. Chair, that concludes the main aspects of the study that was undertaken. It was undertaken, as you mentioned, at the end of 2004. For a short update from 2004 to the present, and on how this was implemented in practice, I will turn to my colleague Monsieur Pétillon, with your agreement.
Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting us to appear before you as part of the debate on Canadian cooperation in Haiti.
As my colleague said, Haiti is a country very dear to my heart. I lived there for a few years, and now I'm responsible for this program at CIDA.
The report we are talking about was written two years ago, and I would like to present the evolution of international cooperation, specifically the evolution of Canadian cooperation since 2004.
We took into account many of the conclusions that were presented in chapter 6 of the report, concerning aid allocation, service delivery, country ownership, alignment, harmonization, and policy coherence.
In 2004, less than three weeks after Aristide's departure, the first action that the international community took as a whole was to meet in Washington to decide on measures that should be taken. For once, the international community, donors, banks and bilateral cooperation organizations decided to work together and to establish a plan. That had not been the case when cooperation resumed in 1994 upon Aristide's return. Each of the donors had gone off on its own, without any coordination between those organizations or with government.
What was new in 2004 was this genuine will to coordinate efforts and to establish a single plan. Together, we proposed this approach to Mr. Latortue's transition government, and, in April 2004, at a joint meeting in the presence of the Port-au-Prince government, we decided together, donors and government, to design the Interim Cooperation Framework.
The Interim Cooperation Framework, which was based on an analysis of the situation in the country, guided the transition government and all the donors during those two years. Our cooperation program thus fits into the Interim Cooperation Framework. That had never previously been done in Haiti. So that was a very significant starting point in 2004.
In addition, at virtually the same time, Canadian cooperation defined a new strategic approach for Haiti. You moreover have the document, since it was distributed to you today. There are four key ideas in that strategic approach.
First, build on what's already there. What's working? What have we done right? What can we build on to do better, to continue what we've done right?
Second, pay special attention to conflict prevention and management, since this is a country coping with numerous deeply rooted societal conflicts.
Three, help build social consensus, in view of the fragmentation in this country.
Four, support the agents of change.
Those are the four leitmotifs of our orientation over the past two years.
As regards the allocation of aid, the report that you've read mentions and criticizes the major fluctuations in aid in Haiti since 1994. Depending on the circumstances, it recommends a long-term sustained commitment to achieve greater predictability of available amounts and greater stability. Aid from CIDA and Canada increased from $26 million in 2003-2004 to $99 million in 2004-2005, then fell to $98 million in 2005-2006. We responded extremely quickly, and we hope that the conference in Port-au-Prince in July will confirm Canada's long-term commitment so that there is greater predictability and our Haitian partners are more able to plan.
We were criticized because we had too many projects and too many small budgets. We have therefore undertaken longer-term project planning. The vast majority of our projects are currently planned over periods of five to 10 years and have budgets ranging between $15 and $20 million. This is a major change in CIDA's programming in Haiti.
We have also exercised our influence on other donors, something that perhaps can't be measured in terms of concrete results. Thanks in part to Canada, the World Bank has returned to Haiti. The World Bank simply left Haiti in 1999. We helped pay a portion of the arrears owed to the World Bank so that it restarted its program in 2004. We also paid Haiti's fees to join the Caribbean Development Bank. Consequently, there's a new financing organization that can meet Haiti's needs. That wouldn't have been possible without Canada.
The 2004 report referred to the inefficiency and conditionality of service delivery. My colleague mentioned that in his presentation. Allow me to give you an example. Extreme conditionalities were imposed during the military coup from 1991 to 1994. An economic embargo was declared on Haiti. That embargo didn't really achieve any results. On the contrary, it helped enrich those we had intended to punish. It took other methods to restore democracy to the country. So conditionalities in Haiti are a problem that must be delicately addressed. Instead we should opt for serious dialogue on policies with the government, while supporting the development of the institutions' capabilities in order to enable them to meet their obligations.
The report also recommends a diversified range of channels and methods for delivering aid, as well as targeting areas of excellence.
One of the key lessons learned from past experience of our cooperation in Haiti is that we have to support both the civil society and the public institutions. Therefore, CIDA supports various types of partnerships, combining the value-added of Canadian and Haitian organizations as well as organizations from the diaspora. CIDA's solid network of Canadian and local partners across Haiti should be outlined as a major value-added of our cooperation program.
Finally, in addition to supporting both the civil society and the public institutions in their respective roles, we support the dialogue between them, between the civil society and the government. I believe it's very important to support this type of dialogue
As regards delivery mechanisms, when it comes to delivering emergency humanitarian aid or any type of humanitarian aid, we call upon the multilateral institutions, such as the World Food Program, which we mostly fund in Haiti for food aid, aid for children and aid for pregnant women.
The report also recommended that we establish a new mechanism based on local funds. That's what we've done. In 2004, we put in place a fund management centre, which became an extremely important mechanism in our cooperative effort, with a budget of approximately $15 million a year, which enables us to take quick and flexible action and to provide rapid support for organizations that bring about change in Haiti when the opportunity arises. This is a new mechanism which is useful and which benefits a lot of organizations. For example, the organization of those who preceded us here is financed in part by these local funds.
In addition to funding organizations and managing funds, this team that we have in Port-au-Prince is working on the institutional reinforcement of Haitian partners, both in government and civil society. Projects that are put forward very often do not meet criteria because the organizations do not have the necessary capability. An effort is thus being made to develop those capabilities, and an effort is also being made to manage funds, as well as to network organizations. All too often, partners and organizations are isolated, and this effort to network organizations that work in the same sector, be it education, health or human rights, is very important.
The sectoral approach was one of the other aspects raised in the report. Canadian expertise is widely recognized in key sectors such as energy, local development, health, education and support for the general women's movement for change.
In the past two years, CIDA has begun developing sectoral orientation frameworks to better target its operations in each of those areas of excellence. In addition, where we think it is possible, and where we think there is value-added, we try to twin Canadian funds with the funds of other donors, which can have a multiplier effect. We used this method, in particular, in the elections. All funds were pooled and managed by the UN Development Fund, and that was much more effective. As our predecessor said, together we all managed to carry out this electoral operation that few people believed in.
As regards local ownership, coherence and coordination,
the report recommends aid effectiveness principles be adapted and applied, especially regarding ownership, coherence among donors and the Haitian government, and coordination among donors. Since 2004, significant progress has been made in these areas. The international community mobilized itself, and donors agreed as well, to a long-term commitment to Haiti so that country could work toward sustainable development. To do so, all development partners recognize the importance of working together to develop a common analysis. As early as May 2004, donors and Haitian authorities prepared a detailed needs assessment to address Haiti's stabilizations and the constrictions. An interim cooperation framework was based on this detailed assessment.
In addition to working together on this needs analysis and this joint effort to arrive at a common plan, we've worked with the transitional government to put in place sectoral frameworks in health, education and so on, to achieve the best possible coordination between donors in the implementation of the joint plan.
I must say that the new Préval-Alexis government, which has just entered office, has confirmed the validity of this model. With the new government, we are continuing to develop the model and are working to extend the Interim Cooperation Framework for an additional year, with virtually the same coordination framework. So that's an asset that's been taken into consideration by the new authorities. I believe that's quite positive.
Local ownership isn't just the government's business. It's also the business of people in civil society. We are working hard to support those people and to develop local development plans in the communes and communal sections. This is what's called the Local Development Program, which is one of the highlights of our program in Haiti.
I'm going to summarize because I believe my presentation is a little long.
The 2004 report also raised the question of the coherence of Canadian policies. It stated that Canada had made notable progress in coordinating its policies in Haiti. I must say that, since 2004, the coordination between Foreign Affairs, National Defence and the RCMP has improved. The elections are a perfect example of that. The diplomatic efforts made by Foreign Affairs, the technical assistance and funding provided by CIDA, the increased security supplied by the RCMP, as well as a coordinator put at the disposal of MINUSTAH authorities by National Defence are a very good example of how we've coordinated our efforts here in Canada to achieve this good election result. I believe it was good. Of course, it requires constant effort. All the people from those various departments met at least every two weeks to exchange information in order to better target the future of our cooperation in those countries.
Thank you very much. I'd like to talk about hope in Haiti. With your permission, I'd say that hope in Haiti resides first in the Haitians. Fortunately, Haitian society is evolving; it isn't static. That evolution entails a number of positive factors. Let me give you four examples of that.
As you no doubt know, Haiti emerged from dictatorship not so long ago, officially in 1986. However, there followed a succession of military regimes. Only very recently has it been in good hands.
That's my first example. Prior to 1986, during the Duvalier dictatorship, among other things, the right of association was utterly non-existent in the country. There were no duly constituted organizations. What do we see today? Tens if not hundreds of organizations of youths, women, farmers, merchants, rights defenders and others are springing up. That's an asset. This is important for Haiti, particularly since it has always been a destructured country. As in Africa, there is no traditional structure based on chiefs, for example. None of that exists because the society emerged from slavery. The fact that these institutions are gradually being constituted shows us that social capital is beginning to form. For us donors, that's very important. For that society, these are so many new relays and agents of change.
Now here's my second example. Until 1986, the right to communication was non-existent. Everything was controlled by the state. What do we see today? People who have gone to Port-au-Prince know that, even if it's only there, there are now at least 25 radio stations that are free to communicate. Some are good, some are bad, but they exist. Today, all families, no matter how poor they are, can at least hear the news on their radios. This very significant progress. Of course, this right was hard won: journalists paid for it with their lives. Nevertheless, I don't think this right can ever be taken away from Haitians. It also constitutes the basis of democracy.
Now I'll move on to my third example. Part of the private business sector has started a change. Until now, the business sector has always been content to enter into agreements with any government. Now young businessmen and women have decided to get involved. They're even taking more political than social action. This is also a very significant agent of change.
As for the fourth positive example, I'd say it's the women's movement. The speakers who preceded us referred to it. It's a very real phenomenon. I'm pleased and proud to be able to say that Canadian cooperation has provided the most support for the structuring of the women's movement in Haiti. There can be no doubt: this is also an agent of change. Everyone recognizes it.
There are other positive examples, but I've told you about reasons for hope that, I think, show that this is a crucial stage for Haiti leading to something even more positive.
Of course I'm aware of the honourable member's concerns about Zimbabwe and about Robert Mugabe. But there are a couple of problems with this motion.
First of all, under international law, it is not possible to commence proceedings in Canada or anywhere else against a sitting head of state. Mr. Mugabe is a sitting head of state and will be until 2008 or possibly later. So under international law, it is not possible for us to do what you're suggesting.
Second, in order for the charges to be laid, the act requires that the accused must be a Canadian. There must be a Canadian victim to do what you're asking us to do--to lay charges--or the accused must be present in Canada.
President Mugabe is not a Canadian, nor do we have any knowledge of any Canadian victims of crimes against humanity perpetrated by Mugabe. Since 2002, Canada has held to the policy that members of the president's government will not be welcome in Canada. And that applies to President Mugabe, who is very unlikely ever to visit Canada.
In addition, it is considered impractical to conduct any investigation. Based on the law, it is not possible to do that. Insofar as the second portion of your motion invokes an article in chapter 7 against President Mugabe, any motion in the Security Council must be brought forward by a member of the Security Council. Canada is not currently a member of the Security Council. So we cannot bring forward a motion in the Security Council.
The Zimbabwe issue has already been placed twice in front of the Security Council. It is not that it does not count; it has come in front of the Security Council. In July 2005, the special envoy on human settlement in Zimbabwe, Ms. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka briefed the council on her report on the operation to restore order for 70,000 Zimbabweans who had lost their homes and who were out doing cleanup of their suburbs. The Secretary General briefed the UN on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
The problem is that this issue has come in front of the Security Council on many occasions. What happened was that the motion received only nine votes, because the African nations are not willing to do that. The problem you have is that the African Union is not saying there is as much of a crisis in Zimbabwe as we are saying there is. Therefore there is severe reluctance on the part of the African leaders and unions to do that. We believe that Canada must work with the African Union to bring this matter out. The African leaders get very upset.
Mr. Martin has given Mr. Mandela's name and Mr. Desmond Tutu's name. However, Mr. Mbeki and Mr. Mkapa of Tanzania do not agree to that fact of life. So there are African leaders who are not agreeing to that fact of life.
Based on these arguments, this motion does not at all carry the legal weight that is required, because it's not possible to do it.