Charities, not feds, should foot bill for long-term rebuilding in Haiti: poll
OTTAWA — Canadians are leery about the federal government shouldering the cost of long-term rebuilding in Haiti, a new poll suggests.
This comes after Prime Minister Stephen Harper has spoken of a 10-year Canadian commitment to Haitian reconstruction, no matter how tightly budgets are squeezed at home.
The Canadian Press HarrisDecima survey suggests that while there is some support for short- term rebuilding, some of that melts away in the face of a five-to 10-year commitment.
Asked who should pay to rebuild Haiti, 44 per cent of respondents said charities should foot the bill over the short term, with 40 per cent opting for government funding.
Asked about the longer term of up to 10 years, 42 per cent chose charities, with only 28 per cent saying it should be the government’s job.
The survey questioned more than 2,000 people in an omnibus telephone poll Feb. 11 to Feb. 14. It is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Doug Anderson, senior vicepresident at Harris-Decima, said it’s the idea of a long-term commitment that has people reconsidering.
“A lot of people clearly don’t have a problem with the federal government funding in the short term, but over the long term, the thing that I thought was interesting was that charities stay about the same, but some portion who were saying federal government, move to saying, ’I don’t think actu- ally funding will be needed after a while’.”
Harper, however, has repeatedly stressed that Haiti needs more than a quick fix.
“ We need to commit to Haiti for the long term,” he said before an international funding conference in January. “It is not an exaggeration to say that 10 years of hard work awaits the world in Haiti.”
The federal government has already earmarked $135 million for immediate earthquake relief in the battered Caribbean country, with hundreds of millions more promised over the next five years.