Toronto’s Haitian community calls for more help for earthquake victims
TORONTO (CP) — About two dozen members of Toronto’s Haitian community turned out for a ‘March for Hope’ Monday to draw attention to ongoing needs in the quake-stricken country.
Organizers had expected a much larger crowd of a couple of hundred people to march from Toronto City Hall to the Ontario legislature for a moment of silence, prayers and speeches.
Speakers included Rosemary Sadlier, president of the Ontario Black History Society.
Karine Morin, whose cousin suffered an amputation and died from a lack of medical attention and whose aunt remains missing in Haiti, said before the march that organizers had three goals.
First was to call on Ottawa to widen the definition of family class so HaitianCanadians could sponsor more of their relatives to come to Canada.
Second was to allow refugees who have yet to receive status to bring family members here, and third was to begin an airlift evacuation of all critically injured Haitians to Canada.
“A lot of people have lost parents and spouses or children or have nieces or nephews or children and uncles that are survivors,” Morin said. “They really need this to be broadened a bit more.”
She said Citizenship and Immigration officials at an information session last Friday in Toronto were compassionate.
“The fact they are going around and set up a special unit that speaks all three languages — French, English and Creole — is a sure sign they’re willing to listen to the people,” said Morin.
She said the response from Canadians, who have donated $112 million to the relief efforts, including $90 million from individuals, has been incredible.
“There’s no borders to this world. We’re all brothers and sisters and that’s the feeling I get from the community in Toronto.”