FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2012
MP Joyce Murray Selected for Bilateral Visit to Haiti
Vancouver Quadra’s Member of Parliament Joyce Murray recently returned from a five-day Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to Haiti. The delegation met with Haiti’s elected representatives and other leaders to discuss the country’s development, and Canada’s engagement in Haiti, in the wake of the 2010 earthquake which cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. Canada is on track to disburse more than $1 billion in Haiti (2006-2012) to support long-term development and to meet immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs.
The Delegation members attended four to five meetings each day with a wide variety of organizations. “We were struck by the critical role of Canadian police officers, soldiers, and corrections professionals in helping Haitians improve their mechanisms for security and the rule of law,” noted Ms Murray.
United Nations agency officials providing leadership in security, humanitarian assistance and housing for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Haitian families briefed the Canadian Parliamentarians and led tours through settlement camps, hospitals and schools. “The situation has improved enormously since the 2010 disaster, but even so for many schoolchildren the hot lunch program is their only meal each day,” said Ms Murray.
On the final day of the mission delegation members met with Haitian President Michel Martelly to discuss the challenges his country faces, and Ms Murray stressed the importance of forest regeneration for rural jobs and the environment.
“The systematic deforestation of over 97 per cent of Haiti’s area contributes to flooding and sanitation problems,” noted Ms Murray. “Only half of Haitians have access to safe drinking water, and as a result there have been many preventable cholera deaths. And soil erosion is harming agriculture production and essential infrastructure.”
The Canadian Parliamentarians also met with Senators, Members of Parliament and Parliamentary Committees on Anti-Corruption, Finance and Budget, Justice, Defence, Public Safety and Women’s Equality. Other briefings were held with a range of organizations including Haitian, Canadian, and international NGOs, the Canadian-Haitian Chamber of Commerce, the International Development Bank, and CIDA. A report on the delegation’s findings will be released in May.
According to Murray, “Canada’s financial commitment plays an important role, so we must ensure it is helping Haitians on their journey toward self-reliance. Haitian families have strong links with Canada and we want to do our very best to support their endeavours.”
For more information contact:
Office of Joyce Murray