Canada joins Haiti Independence Day celebration

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau meets with Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Henry Ceant on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press via Associated Press

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on New Year’s Day joined members of the Haitian community in Canada and around the world in celebrating Haiti’s Independence Day.

“Canada and Haiti share a strong relationship, rooted in our shared language and close connections between people in our two countries,” said Trudeau in a statement, stating that more than 165,000 Canadians of Haitian origin call Canada home.

He noted that the two countries work together in several international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the International Organization of La Francophonie.

In June, Trudeau noted that Canada welcomed Haiti at the G7 Summit Outreach Session, “where countries came together to protect our oceans, seas and coastal communities.”

He said Canada supports Haiti’s efforts to encourage economic growth and create opportunities for all its citizens, and that the North American country is also helping to ensure “all Haitians have access to the good quality health and education services they need.”

“Today, I invite all Canadians to celebrate the important contributions the Haitian-Canadian community makes to our country,” Trudeau said. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my best wishes to all those celebrating Haiti’s Independence Day.”

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, also on Tuesday congratulated Haiti on its 215th anniversary of independence, stating that the resilience, courage and determination of Haitians continue to be an inspiration to all.

“This occasion is, indeed, cause for celebration, but it is also a timely reminder of the historic importance of the Haitian Revolution and its continued significance as a symbol of triumph over adversity in the quest for liberty, equality and control of national destiny,” said LaRocque in his congratulatory message to President Jovenel Moise.

Haiti gained its political independence on Jan. 1, 1804 after Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a former slave, led the revolutionaries at the Battle of Vertieres on Nov. 18, 1803, where French forces were defeated.

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