Canadian government fails on promises to Haiti
Six months after a massive earthquake hit Haiti, foreign aid dollars have still not been delivered to the country, which continues to be wracked with destruction, impoverishment and grief. At the beginning of the month the United Nations reported that only 60 per cent of pledged aid has actually been spent on the ground as part of the reconstruction effort.
While this number is abysmal, it is nothing when compared to the fact that Canada thus far has spent only a little over one third of its pledged aid, $150 million dollars out of a pledged aid of $400 million. The fact Canada has not even come close to delivering on its commitment to Haiti is nothing short of a national embarrassment.
The Harper government took strides to promote a new way to target foreign aid. For better or for worse, they advocated a more narrowly targeted approach to aid distribution. They argued that it would be more efficient to deliver if they narrowed the scope of recipients and would ensure we make a difference in concentrated amounts where we can do the most good.
There is logic behind the principles advocated by the government, but it is clear the actions have not yet matched the rhetoric. As Canada has stood before the international stage and justified pulling aid out of Africa to help other countries like Haiti, the world expects us to be forefront in helping Haiti in its time of need. Instead we are well behind, some calling us rightfully a “deadbeat” when it comes to Haiti’s reconstruction.
No one expects Canada to fix Haiti alone. We are part of a global effort to help bring Haiti back to its feet after the disaster. However, the Prime Minister has maintained Canada has a special obligation to Haiti, and if so it is time we start acting like it. The people of Haiti deserve better.