Memewatch: Haiti, in Trust


Yesterday’s FT has a letter to the editor from Thomas Moore of the Brookings Hoover  (duh) Institution, and his subject is the difficulty countries such as Haiti have attracting long-term assistance. The problem is that countries are leery of providing anything more beyond short-term aid, because they fear that such assistance will just be siphoned off by the corrupt leadership. What’s the answer? He proposes the old idea of a mandate:

The best state to run Haiti for the next 20 years is Canada. It has several advantages: a significant portion of Canadians speak French, which is related to the language of the native Haitians; Canada is widely considered as having one of the most open and honest governments in the world; and, most importantly, it has no record of being a colonising power. Canadians also have long been involved in attempting to help Haiti.

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Memewatch: Haiti, in Trust

  1. I hope the GoC isn't reading the FT

    • I wouldn't worry terribly about that.. remember, this is the group that said a recession wouldn't happen in Canada because if was going to, it already would have.

      I can only assume then that the odds of these guys reading the Financial Times are very, very small.

  2. Okay, agree with the surprise WTF, but I guess that's what happens when you prove you can play with the big boys, eh? Although, I'm quite sure Own the Podium didn't realize we'd get Haiti, as well.

    But, assuming the world isn't going to dump all its problems on us now, it is an idea worth discussing. I think we'd do an admirable job and I think its a job worth doing.

    The major problem is how to get Haitians to continue the open, transparent, accountable and non-corrupt governance once we're gone. And as we are seeing, it is easy to let that kind of thing slip away. The other problem is that we have some corruption of our own (see: Montreal) and I'd be worried we'd either be just as bad as any Haitian government, or learn from them instead of teach the good stuff.

    But I think if we all kept our eye on the ball, we could overcome those problems.

    • Jenn, not sure if you saw my continuation of our conversation a while back, about "twinning" Canadian municipalities with Haitian municipalities:


      Last paragraph: Couldn't be much worse than what is likely to happen. And Canada seems committed to be the leading face of supporting Haitian reconstruction. And spreading out the "twinning" [as described] lets so many Canadians offer more than a five-dollar-per-text-message donation.

      • Yes, I did (guess I didn't comment back, huh? But I believe I did thumb-up you) . And wouldn't this be a perfect way of fulfilling our 'mandate'! You would still need some administrators at the top, if only to make sure that the twinning municipalities shared the promised resources equitably and to facilitate best practices.

        Maybe that's why I immediately thought of the problems in Montreal. I would hope they wouldn't twin those problems onto whatever Haitian municipality they got.

        • What, you don't think Port-au-Prince would be well-served by building a stadium with a retractable roof in order to host a Summer Olympic Games? It worked splendidly for Montreal, no?

          • Is that one of the Olympic things that's still standing?

          • Well, the roof is not so much retractable as collapsible. But otherwise, yeah, the monument to delusions of grandeur still stands.

          • Well, then! Isn't that considered wildly successful in Montreal?

            Sorry Montreal, yes, I am teasing somewhat. There was only one bridge collapse that I am aware of.

          • Tease all you like, oh non-Quebecois taxpaying sponsor of the have-not province.

            Maybe Haiti could become Canada's eleventh province. A French-speaking economic and political basket-case province draining wealth from the country as a whole would not be without precedent…

          • Hey, SHHH! Quiet, or people will start having ideas. Now, this is international relations that must be kept hush-hush!

          • Atlantic Canada would never allow another province to snatch their equalization money.

          • Very valid point…….

            glad you wrote it. I'm always basted when I point out the obvious.

            Quebecers don't like Canada….but they LOVE the money we send them.

            ROC: "Here's a few billion to hold you over till next year"

            Quebec: "I spit on you and your Language, Square-Head" Pffituuui……

            "Now give me the money"

          • I appreciate the comment, except that I must object to the "Quebecers don't like Canada" generalization. If memory serves, there are any number of surveys showing a large number of ordinary citoyens in Quebec possessing a real sense of attachment to Canada. The elite and the media may not want us to see them or know that, but they are there.

          • True in some respects, in fact I have a sister and her family who live in Quebec. However, I have been in St. Jean, and if you speak English you are not allowed in the bars.

            "no English" "No English"

            Sort of like many clubs in Japan. Same story….but there it isn't language, it's race. Except in Canada……it shouldn't happen. Particularly when the ROC disproportionately props up the Quebec economy.

          • There was two.

  3. Last month, Conrad Black took the idea a step further, suggesting that: "The economic and administrative government of Haiti should be put in trusteeship, administered jointly by the United States, Brazil and Canada, with Canada as chair."


    • Damn! And I was good with the idea, too. I shall have to seriously reconsider my stance now that I know I'm on the same page as Conrad Black. Next you'll tell me I agree with that Amiel woman who writes such drivel here. Have a heart, Crit, I couldn't take that!

      • Take up the White Man's Burden, Jenn.

        Where's Jolyon in this thread? He's been advocating for a new Colonial Office for some time now.

  4. "Canada is widely considered as having one of the most open and honest governments in the world"

    Huh? Is Dr. Moore talking about our government? The one that stonewalls every attempt to access information about even its most mundane activities and has turned secrecy into a word suitable for inclusion on its coat of arms?

    If Haiti were turned over to its stewardship, we'd have two countries with no clue what's their government is really up to.

    • Relativity my dear brooster. We're still open and honest compared to the available options…

    • brooster…….did you think we had a more open and honest Government when the Liberals were busy stealing tens of millions of dollars from us?

      don't forget…there's over 40 Million still missing that is no doubt in various Liberal accounts waiting for the smoke to clear so they can spend it. (That's how they raise money from taxpayers brooster…..they just take it)

  5. Lucky thing we didn't snap up the Turks and Caicos Islands – that makes us eligible to look after Haiti for the next two decades as a 'non-colonial power'. Hmmm. A project like that could alter the trajectory of Canadian domestic policy for the entire life of the trusteeship/mandate. I can just imagine the Conservative talking points if it happens on their watch: "How can you criticize the government when we're saving the entire population of Haiti? Why do you hate Haitians/developing nations/the world? We require five consecutive majority governments to complete this project."

    • They won't like this unless it involves blowing stuff up

  6. Great idea.
    UN – we hereby trade our interests in Afghanistan irrevocably – and heretofore take on all the world community's moral responsibility for Haiti.
    Seems like a bargain!

    • I think you mean hereafter…

  7. Did the author of the letter consult Canada on the topic or is he in favour of ordering one country to start ordering around another country?

  8. The last attempt at a mandate system, after WWI, worked out poorly, so I'm not inclined to have more confidence in this one. Problem 1: meddling in Haitian politics, as Haiti's current government is left-leaning and Harper has a clear goal of strengthening and encouraging conservative Latin American governments while ostracizing non-conservative ones. Problem 2: Canadians are inclined to focus more on our own economic difficulties, as seen in the freeze on foreign aid spending in the latest budget. When the government's worried about a deficit, Haiti would be the first thing to be shortchanged. Thirdly, there has never been a mandate/imperial/colonial system that didn't end up exploiting the countries it controlled for the home county's benefit.

    • Fourth: Canada's population is less than three and a half times bigger than Haiti's (34 million to 10 million). There would be some international help of course, but that's not a very good population ratio.

    • Katherine wrote:
      "Thirdly, there has never been a mandate/imperial/colonial system that didn't end up exploiting the countries it controlled for the home county's benefit. "

      I agree Katherine, but in the case of Haiti there is nothing left to exploit. The land has been denuded, water polluted, land of poverty and low educational standards. I'm afraid that if we were to "colonize" Haiti….all we'd end up with is a huge bill.

      I hate imperialism………all the countries the WEST used to control, are now armed with technologically advanced weapons they could never had produced without our help. If it wasn't for us, the Islamic nuts would have to be content with living in tents, stoning their women, and raping their boys. Now, they control Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda, and the oil supply.

      We should have left well enough alone.

  9. Brookings isn't very familiar with Canada's new government apparently, if its throwing around terms like "most open", "honest"…

  10. 'it has no record of being a colonising power'

    Well, I think the First Nations would disagree with that.

  11. Invite Haiti to become a province.

  12. I had a mouthful of wine when I read "Canada is widely considered as having one of the most open and honest governments in the world". I think I'll have to replace my keyboard.

  13. What the US can't control Haiti with a local puppet government? It needs a puppet pulling the strings on the puppet?

  14. Right, Canada has no history as a colonising power, except for what we did in Haiti in 2004. We supported the coup that overthrew Aristide and helped to install an unelected government. How quickly we forget.

    • Joops…..you do realize that Aristide was just another strong-man stealing foreign aid and stashing it in foreign banks right? He was no great loss…..

      Of course, we simply replaced one incompetent crook and thug with another…..so as I said earlier, we should have left well enough alone.

  15. "a significant portion of Canadians speak French…"

    A significant portion of Haitians speak not a word of French. The vast majority speak only Creole.

  16. Yeah, let's give Haiti (and the rest of the world) a reason to blame us for their problems. Wonderful idea.

    • Hey….it seems to have worked out for Quebec. (and Toronto)

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