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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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News

Governor General travels to the Republic of Haiti for a working visit

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January 14, 2009

OTTAWA—At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, along with her husband, His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, will travel to the Republic of Haiti for a working visit, from January 15 to 18, 2009.

The purpose of this visit is to support the Haitian population as it struggles through a food crisis that was worsened by the hurricanes and tropical storms that ravaged the country. Haiti is Canada’s most important long-term development assistance beneficiary in the Americas, and the second largest in the world.

This visit will highlight the efforts being made by the Government of Canada and the introduction of several humanitarian aid projects in the disaster areas of Les Cayes and Ennery, near Gonaïves. It will also focus on the development strategies created to reduce poverty and strengthen the democratization of institutions.

“Haiti has been struggling with a food crisis for quite some time and last summer’s hurricanes and tropical storms exacerbated that crisis dramatically. On behalf of the Canadian people, I want to witness the progress of aid efforts, as a sign of solidarity with the Haitian people, and to assure them of Canada’s unfailing support,” the Governor General said.

Canada’s commitment in Haiti is implemented through a whole-of-government approach in which the Canadian International Development Agency works with other departments, namely Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, National Defence and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as with Canadian, Haitian and international partners.

Here is the detailed itinerary of the visit to Haiti (local times given):

Thursday, January 15 – Port-au-Prince

1:00 p.m.
Official welcome by the President of the Republic of Haiti
Aéroport international Toussaint Louverture, Port-au-Prince

Their Excellencies will be welcomed by His Excellency René Préval, President of the Republic of Haiti, upon their arrival in the country.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press by the Governor General and the President of the Republic of Haiti.

7:30 p.m. 
Working dinner with representatives from the international community in Haiti
Mozaïk Restaurant, Pétion-Ville
Their Excellencies will take part in a working dinner with ambassadors from many countries and representatives from international organizations that are important to Canada in Haiti.
CLOSED TO MEDIA

Friday, January 16 – Les Cayes & Port-au-Prince

8:30 a.m.
Official welcome to Les Cayes
Aéroport Antoine Simon, Les Cayes
Their Excellencies will be greeted upon their arrival by Yvon Chéry, Mayor of Les Cayes, and other distinguished guests.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

9:00 a.m.
Visit to and discussion at the Centre d’opération d’urgence, Les Cayes

Accompanied by government authorities and representatives from civil society, the Governor General and His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond will visit this emergency operations centre, which is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and was created to help reduce the vulnerability of Haiti’s population to natural disasters like floods, landslides and cyclones.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Opening remarks

10:30 a.m.
Visit to the Institute Brenda Strafford, Les Cayes
Accompanied by its administrators, Their Excellencies will visit the Institute Brenda Stafford and have discussions with staff and patients. Opened officially on March 24, 1984, in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency and previously run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis, this institute is now run by two Canadians. The Foundation has funded a number of health training projects for doctors and nurses in Haiti.
OPEN TO MEDIA

11:30 a.m.
Visit to a rice-growing project run by the Coordination des Associations pour le Développement Intégral de la Première Section des Cayes (CADIPS)
CADIPS project in Madame Combe
Their Excellencies will travel to Madame Combe to visit a rice-growing project run by CADIPS, which was created in 1998 in a rural region of Les Cayes and brings together 30 small groups of agricultural producers. Subsidized a number of times by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the purpose of this project is to improve the producers’ living conditions through a community development program. For example, the construction of a large irrigation system made up of several canals spread out over the plains of Les Cayes increased rice production.
OPEN TO MEDIA

12:30 p.m.
Opening of a police station in the southern region
Haitian National Police Station at Torbeck, Les Cayes
Their Excellencies will attend the opening of the police station in the southern region, a Global Peace and Security Fund project (Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) to restore police stations in the southern region in order to strengthen the Haitian National Police. Through this project, 21 police stations were equipped and 14 were restored, including the police station at Torbeck, with the United Nations Development Programme.
OPEN TO MEDIA
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press by the Governor General and Canada’s ambassador to Haiti at 1:15 p.m. The statements will focus on the humanitarian aid projects visited earlier in Les Cayes.

1:45 p.m.
Community lunch with local authorities, representatives from civil society and the Canadian community
Hôtel Le Manguier, Les Cayes
Their Excellencies will meet with various stakeholders from Les Cayes and the southern region, including local authorities, representatives from civil society, development partners and representatives from the Canadian community at a community lunch.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Opening remarks

7:30 p.m. 
Honorary reception hosted by Canada’s ambassador to Haiti
Official residence, Port-au-Prince
His Excellency Gilles Rivard, Canada’s ambassador to Haiti, will host a reception in honour of Their Excellencies’ visit to the country. During the evening, Their Excellencies will speak to representatives from the government of Haiti, members of parliament, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives from civil society and the cultural community about the aid offered by the Government of Canada to help the Haitian population.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Remarks

Saturday, January 17 – Port-au-Prince

9:05 a.m.
Meeting with the Brazilian non-governmental organization Viva Rio, leaders from the Bel Air community and the population
Hôtel Oloffson and Bel Air neighbourhood, Port-au-Prince
Their Excellencies will discuss human development, health, youth, and access to water with representatives from the Brazilian non-governmental organization Viva Rio, including its executive director, Rubem César Fernandes, and leaders from the Bel Air community. The purpose of the Viva Rio project is to implement a series of activities focused on quickly improving the quality of life and security in the Bel Air neighbourhood. The discussion will be followed by a visit to Bel Air, where Their Excellencies will see a water intake point built by Viva Rio and visit a voodoo flag craft workshop funded by the Local Fund Management Centre.
OPEN TO MEDIA – Opening remarks and neighbourhood visit

1:30 p.m.
Official lunch with the Prime Minister of Haiti and members of her cabinet
Hôtel Montana, Port-au-Prince
Their Excellencies will attend an official lunch hosted by Michèle Pierre-Louis, Prime Minister of Haiti, and members of her cabinet.
CLOSED TO MEDIA
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press by the Governor General and the Prime Minister of Haiti at 3:30 p.m. at the Hôtel Montana.

Sunday, January 18 – Ennery & Port-au-Prince

9:15 a.m.
Official welcome to Ennery
Ennery soccer field
Upon their arrival, Their Excellencies will be welcomed by Vic Thomas Wishmick, Mayor of Ennery, who will give them the keys to the city. Their Excellencies will then donate 200 trees to the city of Ennery, in symbolic support of the efforts to rebuild the country’s environment and the protection of the Haitian people.
OPEN TO MEDIA

9:35 a.m.
Visit to the Ennery bridge
Accompanied by the Mayor of Ennery, Their Excellencies will visit the Ennery bridge, which collapsed during the last cyclone season.
OPEN TO MEDIA

9:50 a.m.
Meeting with the beneficiaries of the Appui aux populations sinistrées project
Field, Ennery
Their Excellencies will speak with the leaders and beneficiaries of this project to support devastated populations in upper Artibonite, one component of which is the distribution of bean and banana seeds. The project is implemented by a Haitian non-governmental organization, Promotion d’un Développement Autonome (PRODEVA), and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. During this meeting, the director of PROVEDA will ask Their Excellencies to deliver cows to five women who are benefiting from the project.
OPEN TO MEDIA

11:05 a.m. 
Laying of flowers at the Toussaint Louverture monument in memory of hurricane victims
Statue of Toussaint Louverture, Ennery
Their Excellencies will lay flowers at the foot of the statue in honour of all those who died in the 2008 hurricanes.
OPEN TO MEDIA
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Media will be able to attend the statements to the press by the Governor General and Canada’s ambassador to Haiti. The statements will focus on the humanitarian aid projects visited earlier in Ennery.

1:00 p.m.
Visit to the Espoir d’enfants orphanage, Port-au-Prince
During their visit to the Espoir d’enfants orphanage, Their Excellencies will award a certificate of appreciation to Canadian Jacqueline Lessard, an 82-year-old great-grandmother who has worked there since it opened. The orphanage was founded in February 2002 through the initiative of a committee of people who wanted to help orphans. The orphanage currently houses 55 children. The orphanage’s funding comes mainly from Canadian donors.
OPEN TO MEDIA
JOINT MEDIA AVAILABILITY – Before her official departure, the Governor General will give a brief summary of her visit to Haiti. She will be accompanied by His Excellency Gilles Rivard, Canada’s ambassador to Haiti.

For more information on the working visit to the Republic of Haiti, visit www.gg.ca. To follow discussions and blogs related to this visit, please visit www.citizenvoices.gg.ca .


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The itinerary is subject to change. This page will be updated on a daily basis.

Media information
In Ottawa:
Marie-Ève Létourneau
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-0287
613-302-0912 (cellular)
meletourneau@gg.ca

Alain Cacchione
Spokesperson and media relations
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
613-995-1874 
alain.cacchione@international.gc.ca

In Haiti:
Marthe Blouin
Official spokesperson to the Governor General of Canada
613-993-0397
613-301-3379 (cellular)
mblouin@gg.ca