Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Election preparations:

From CBC’s "The Current", Broadcast August 6, 2004 (via The Dominion):

"Michel Vastel: Denis Paradis was Secretary of State for Latin America [Africa, and La Francophonie] at the time and had been in Haiti in the year 2000. And he was shocked by the state of the people over there, and he decided, he almost made it a personal goal about the problem of Haiti. Denis Paradis wanted to have a brainstorming session with the players in Haiti: France, La Francophonie, the European Union, the [U.S.] Secretary of State sent two what they call “high ranking officials”.

And, for Latin America there was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for El Salvador, and the idea was to just search for new ideas. So the meeting took place at the Meech Lake resort - you know the place - the last week of January 2003. It lasted three days over an extended weekend. Once again, all information that I’m giving you is coming from Paradis and from the French government. There was a consensus that ‘Aristide should go.’ But, how do you do that? This is the French government…who suggested there should be a “trusteeship” like there was in Kosovo. That was not an intervention, they said, that was their responsibility – all these countries – to protect. When the story was published, the government of Haiti, Aristide actually, used it to say, ‘you see, these colonialists, once again they want to intervene, and then Haiti kept on protesting because they were not invited. You know, that was a meeting on Haiti, most everybody was there but not Haiti. The contribution of Canada to this, if I may say, was that it broadened the interest of the world over Haiti.

Harewood: That was Quebec journalist Michel Vastel who writes for Le Soleil and L’Actualite. To talk about what role exactly Canada has played in Haiti, I’m now joined by Jean Saint-Vil. He’s a Haitian community activist based in Ottawa. Good morning.

Jean Saint-Vil: Good morning, sir.

Harewood: What do you think about Michel Vastel’s account?

Saint-Vil: I think it’s one hundred per cent accurate, but for Canadian taxpayers it’s actually outrageous.

Harewood: Why is it outrageous?

Saint-Vil: Because it means that our government was meeting with the US, France, to overthrow a democratically elected government under the guise of some moral responsibility to choose for the people of Haiti when they should change regimes.

Harewood: Denis Paradis in his defense, might suggest that he was looking out for the interests of the Haitian people.

Saint-Vil: Yes, and I would ask Denis Paradis would he like, for example, the government of South Africa to decide when Canadians should change Prime Ministers? As you know there’s a lot of corruption that has been seen in the current Canadian government. Is that a reason to have a foreign government to decide for us that the current Liberal government should go?"

La Revue Gauche has more on Canadian colonialism here.


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