The Toronto Haiti Action Committee is an organization of Toronto-area activists who feel that Canada’s policy toward Haiti should emphasize:
- respect for Haiti’s sovereignty and self-determination
- international accountability and transparency
- big business
- access to cheap Haitian labour to support American and Canadian industry
- exploitation of Haiti’s natural resources
- rule of the poor majority by the wealthy elites
In many ways, our goal is to be the conscience of the Canadian people in holding our government accountable for its policies toward Haiti — policies that have already catastrophically undermined the safety and health of Haiti.
A common misconception is that members of our group are members of the Haitian diaspora in Toronto — in truth, the majority of us aren’t (but some of our members are). What we have in common, instead, is a shared concern about Canadian policy toward Haiti, and a sense of solidarity with the Haitian people.
If you’re looking for a group focused on the Haitian diaspora in Toronto, please check out La Maison d’Haiti du Grand Toronto (but be aware that they haven’t really updated their web site in a while).
In 2004, a black students group associated with the University of Toronto started studying the history of the Haitian Revolution — Haiti was about to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its independence and this struck the students as an important and meaningful event to commemorate. It was almost-coincidence, therefore, that their eyes were on Haiti when the 2004 coup against President Aristide took place. This event politicized these students and lead to the formation of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee. Although many faces have changed in the group since 2004 the goal of the group remained, for many years, to raise awareness about Canada’s role in the coup, to correct the official narrative about the coup, and to prevent this sinister event in Canada’s history from being swept under the rug.
Like our sister organization, CHAN, our work has taken on a new emphasis since the devastating 2010 earthquake. Today, the same powers that sought to effect political change in Haiti through the 2004 coup are now controlling the rebuilding of Haiti. The key question that Canadians need to ask is this: in whose interests is Haiti being rebuilt? The interests of the poor majority? Or the interests of international financiers and sweatshop owners?
- Universal respect of Haiti’s sovereignty
- For massive earthquake relief and aid, delivered in a manner that assists and strengthens the sovereign and popular institutions of the Haitian people
- The safe return of political exiles and the freeing of all political prisoners
- A full Parliamentary inquiry in Canada concerning its role in the overthrow of elected government in Haiti in 2004, and reparations to the Haitian people from all the countries that took part in that illegal act
- Cancellation of all outstanding debt obligations by Haiti to international financial institutions