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Joly says Canadians ‘want to do more’ to help Haiti as military intervention looms

Haiti’s unelected prime minister asked for an international intervention last year
Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly arrives for a meeting of the federal cabinet on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada is determining how it can best help with an international military intervention in Haiti, leaving it unclear whether this will involve a military role for Canada.

“Canada has always been involved in issues related to Haiti. We will continue to be,” Joly told reporters Tuesday morning on Parliament Hill, in French.

“We want to do more. So we’ll thus continue these diplomatic conversations, and I would say that we’ll also continue to support solutions that are by and for Haitians.”

The United Nations Security Council approved a multinational force Monday to help combat violent gangs in Haiti, which Kenya has offered to lead.

Joly said she’s spoken with her counterpart from Kenya as well as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, on how Canada can be of help.

Haiti’s unelected prime minister asked for an international intervention last year, and the idea has been divisive among Haitians though it is supported by the UN and Washington.

Joly noted that Ottawa has always been involved in issues pertaining to Haiti, and said she expects Canada will do more.

But she didn’t specifying what kind of Canadian help has been offered.

Haiti has faced a profound security crisis exacerbated by brazen criminal gangs since mid-2021, leading to rampant violence, cholera outbreaks and restricted access to water, food and medical care.

Washington had asked Canada to lead a military intervention, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it’s unclear whether such a move would lead to long-term stability, citing multiple previous interventions that he argued made Haiti even less stable.

Canada’s top military general told media in March that there weren’t enough armed forces available to lead such a mission.

Joly has instead issued sanctions on multiple political and economic elite in Haiti, arguing this will help lead to a consensus among political actors on how other countries can best support Haitians to find stability and eventually hold an election.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press