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Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, CUPE joined the international labour community and immediately pledged support for Haiti.  Now another tragedy unfolds: a cholera epidemic that is the result of a lack of publicly provided safe drinking water.  In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, CUPE national president Paul Moist calls on the Harper government to step up and fulfill its commitment to Haiti before more lives are lost.


Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is an affiliate of Public Services International (PSI) a global union federation representing over 20 million workers who deliver public services in 150 countries around the world, including Haïti.

Immediately after the January 12 earthquake and again at the international donors’ conference, the government of Canada pledged support through various institutions and agencies as well as pledging direct financial aid to the process of creating a better Haïti.  In front of the world, the government of Canada,on behalf of its citizens made a solemn pledge to help people.  That pledge was, we believe, in recognition of our role as world citizens and our commitment to work together as a global community to build strong, sustainable and just societies where all people can enjoy a high standard of living.

Now another tragedy unfolds in Haïti – a cholera epidemic that is the result of a lack of publicly-provided safe drinking water, effective sanitation and quality health care for all.  This situation impacts all of us but our fellow world citizens in Haïti are again paying with their lives. We believe the price is too high.

Quality health care, clean water and effective sanitation are human rights.  Nowhere is this more clear than in Haiti where people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake.

The report card on Canada’s pledge to Haïti shows our country has fallen far short delivering on its aid commitment.  Our members and our families are angry.  We are embarrassed that promises made in our names have not been fulfilled.

We in CUPE and our colleagues and partners in Public Services International and other global trade union organizations will continue to monitor and report on the response of world governments and institutions.  We will continue to issue reports on what our various governments have done.

We would like to know what your government is going to do.  When will Canada keep its promise on aid to Haïti?

We look forward to your reply outlining what actions will be taken to fulfill these pledges.


Yours truly,


National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees