Canada must stop supporting Haiti’s unconstitutional government

Responding to a call for solidarity from Haitian civil society, PSAC joins unions and other social justice organizations from across Canada in pressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop supporting the unconstitutional government of Jovenel Moïse.

When his term officially ended on February 7, Moïse refused to step down from power and instead ramped up his regime’s campaign of terror; arbitrarily removing three Supreme Court judges, appointing three replacements by decree, and arresting nearly two dozen of his opponents who he falsely claimed were trying to overthrow him.

Moïse, a businessman who has compared himself to Donald Trump and previously dispossesed hundreds of rural workers to set up his private banana plantation, came to power in 2017 following two Canadian-backed presidential elections. These elections were marred by irregularities and very low turnout, and the results were never accepted by most Haitians.

In subsequent years, his government’s corruption and authoritarianism led to major protests throughout the country, and Moïse became increasingly repressive, colluding with armed groups in terrorizing poor neighbourhoods that are major centres of support for the opposition. Recently, the headquarters of the Confederation of Public and Private Sector Workers (CTSP)—the central labour body focused on defending public services and supporting workers’ rights—was overrun by one of Moïse’s gangs, while its leader was harassed and robbed at gunpoint.

Moreover, Moïse refused to hold constitutionally mandated legislative elections in October 2019, ruling by decree since then, and has been trying to amend the country’s constitution to allow for consecutive presidential terms—long banned to prevent the emergence of another Duvalier-like dictator.

“Tragically, Canada has been working against democracy in Haiti for two decades, all too often choosing to support right-wing politicians who have little concern for Haiti’s poor majority,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC’s national president.

“In 2004, the Liberal government of the day helped overthrow a democratically-elected Haitian government and today, Trudeau’s government is propping up and legitimizing a dictatorship that engages in rampant human rights abuses. Canada must stop suppressing the will of the Haitian people and must urgently begin working with civil society to move the country towards truly free and fair elections to determine the next government.”

Aylward previously wrote to Trudeau in December urging the government to condemn government-sanctioned violence against unions and labour leaders in Haiti.


March 10, 2021