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Cablegate: Tfha01: Canadian Pm in Haiti

VZCZCXRO4895
OO RUEHAO RUEHNG RUEHRS
DE RUEHOT #0172/01 0471746
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161741Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0360
INFO ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 000172

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID MOPS HA CA
SUBJECT: TFHA01: CANADIAN PM IN HAITI

REF: OTTAWA 158; OTTAWA 86

1. (SBU) Summary: During a two day visit to Haiti, Canadian Prime
Minister Harper pledged C$12 million (US$11.4 million) to construct
temporary buildings as a base for key Haitian government
departments and underscored that Haiti would remain a long-term
Canadian aid priority despite future budgetary restraint.
Individual Canadians have already donated over C$145 million
($138.3 million) for earthquake relief, of which at least C$124
million ($118.3 million) will be eligible for matching federal
funds. The trip is the first by a G20 leader since the earthquake
and Harper's second to the country since becoming prime minister in
2006. The visit also highlights his personal role in directing the
Canadian government's proactive response to the Haiti disaster
(reftels), not incidentally reinforcing his already high poll
numbers for competence and leadership among political leaders.
End summary.

CANADIAN ASSISTANCE FOR THE LONG AS WELL AS SHORT TERM

2. (U) Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived in Port-au-Prince on
the afternoon of February 15 to get a first-hand look at earthquake
damage and to assess the contribution of Canadian Forces (CF)
personnel to disaster relief. In the capital, he met with Haitian
President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Max Bellerive. In
response to a formal request from Bellerive, PM Harper pledged C$12
million to erect tents and construct hard-shell temporary buildings
to provide a base for key Haitian government departments for at
least one year. Construction will begin when the Haitian
government confirms a location. PM Harper called the buildings "an
important step toward recovery and reconstruction." The Boeing
C-17 cargo plane on which the PM traveled also carried relief
supplies, including water filters, medical supplies, and equipment.

3. (U) The C$12 million commitment will apparently come from a
C$555 million five year disbursement (2006-2011) that Canada had
previously earmarked for Haitian development and reconstruction.
In addition, PM Harper pledged that "Canada will continue to
support the Haitian government as it moves forward with its
reconstruction and development agenda." He underscored that
Canada's commitment will remain firm "even with the tighter fiscal
situation we have in the years to come" and that "Haiti will be a
priority." He added that "we don't intend to leave this time until
the job is done."

4. (U) On February 16, PM Harper travelled by helicopter to
Jacmel (the birthplace of Canadian Governor General Michaelle Jean)
to inspect CF facilities, including a water purification project.
He continued to Leogane -- a major hub of Canadian relief activity
-- where he visited a CF field hospital. The trip to Haiti was the
first by a G20 leader since the earthquake and Harper's second as
Canadian prime minister. He previously visited Haiti in August
2007 as part of a Latin American tour.

C$145 MILLION IN INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS

5. (U) The Canadian government has pledged C$85 million ($81.1
million) in emergency aid to Haiti and will match eligible
charitable donations of individual Canadians for earthquake relief
and reconstruction between January 12 and February 12. As of
February 11, Canadians had contributed C$145 million to 14
charities reporting donations to the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA), of which at least C$124 million should
be eligible for federal matching funds under the Haiti Earthquake
Relief Fund. The final figure is likely to be higher (probably
around C$130 million), as charities have until February 26 to
forward all donations made by the February 12 deadline to CIDA. To
be eligible for matching funds, donations had to be:

-- made between January 12 and February 12, 2010;

-- monetary (up to C$100,000) ($95,400);

-- from an individual Canadian (or from a fundraising event raising
money from individuals); and,

-- to a registered charity receiving donations for Haiti earthquake
relief.

Donations from corporations, provincial and local governments,
businesses, partnerships, schools, incorporated or non-incorporated
entities, and unions are not eligible for matching funds.

CONSULAR ASSISTANCE

6. (U) According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and

OTTAWA 00000172 002 OF 002


International Trade (DFAIT), as of February 15 at 16:00 EST:

-- 1,921 Canadians in Haiti had been located;

-- 31confirmed Canadian deaths;

-- 55 Canadians remain unaccounted for; and,

-- 4,328 people evacuated on 46 flights.

As of February 12, Canada's Joint Task Force Haiti was fully
deployed with 2,046 soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel.

PM DEMONSTRATES LEADERSHIP, COMPETENCE

7. (U) As PM Harper has now entered his fifth year as Prime
Minister, a new Nanos poll confirmed his comfortable lead over
other federal party leaders in leadership qualities, despite a
slide in December and January in his personal approval rating and
in overall support for the Conservative Party. PM Harper remained
respondents' clear choice as best prime minister (32% versus 16%
for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff) and scored well ahead of the
other leaders on trust, competence, and vision. His leadership
index ranking of 85.4 was more than twice that of Ignatieff (at
40.3), and alsol ahead of New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack
Layton (at 52.2). Ignatieff scored third behind Harper and Layton
on trust, competence, and vision. A February 4 Nanos poll had
nonetheless suggested support nationally among committed voters
remained tied at the Conservatives' 35.6%, the Liberals' 33.9%, and
the NDP's 16.4%.

8. (U) Minimize concerned.
JACOBSON

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