Canada pulls up to help out Haiti

Canada will deploy two naval vessels to the coasts of Haiti that will be tasked with monitoring the waters around the capital city of Port-au-Prince. 

Catch-up: Haiti has been in a state of crisis since the summer of 2021. Following the twin events of a presidential assassination and a devastating earthquakegangs have taken advantage of the instability to carve up Port-au-Prince, all while food runs scarce, the economy disintegrates, violent skirmishes multiply, and a cholera outbreak wreaks havoc. 

  • Since establishing diplomatic ties in 1954, Canada and Haiti have been close, thanks to a shared language (French) and a sizable Haitian diaspora.

  • Canada is second only to the US for annual donations to Haiti. In 2021, Canada donated $90.6 million, the largest it gave to any country in the Americas.  

Canada has already deployed a reconnaissance aircraft, sent armoured vehicles to the government, sanctioned several powerful gang-affiliated figures (though the effectiveness of these sanctions has been called into question), and sent millions in new aid.

Why it matters: As conditions worsen, Haiti’s de-facto leader has asked for foreign military intervention to help take control of the situation. The UN and US support the idea, with the US going so far as to suggest that Canada could lead such a mission. 

  • Canadian armed forces have been deployed to Haiti for a UN peacekeeping mission before, but this would be a whole new level of involvement.

Yes, but: Canada (and Haitian citizens) have resisted the idea, with Canada’s UN ambassador advocating for a Haitian-led solution in which Canada plays a supporting role.