Companies from Nova Scotia will offer their Cajun cousins a tasteof the province’s best when they target business ties withLouisiana’s $4.5-billion food service industry later this month. Chris d’Entremont’s duties as minister of Agriculture andFisheries will be combined with his responsibilities for AcadianAffairs and a little old-fashioned marketing know-how as he leadsthe Nova Scotia trade mission to Louisiana from Feb. 21 to Feb.25. “This is an exceptional opportunity to explore a new marketplacethat has close Acadian historical and cultural ties with NovaScotia,” Mr. d’Entremont said. “This connection, and thetraditional Louisiana love of great foods, makes for aninteresting marketing mix for Nova Scotia’s agri-food and seafoodproducts.” Mr. d’Entremont begins the trip with Acadian-related meetings andevents on Monday, Feb. 21. The rest of the week will be spent meeting with business andgovernment groups to discuss the trade opportunities offered byNova Scotia’s agri-food and seafood product industries. Meetingswith the Lafayette Consolidated Government, Louisiana GovernorKathleen Blanco, Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Odom andSecretary of Wildlife and Fisheries Dwight Landreneau areincluded on the itinerary. Mr. d’Entremont will be joined on the tour by representatives ofseveral different agri-food and seafood companies, including:Nova Agri Inc. — producer of blueberries and fruit;Country Harbour Sea Farms Limited — grower and processor ofcultivated mussels; Stirling Fruit Farms Ltd. — apple producer;Han Beck Sea Products Inc. — processor of snow crab, rock craband lobster;Acadian Maple Products Ltd. — maple and blueberry producer;Sambro Fisheries Ltd. — Atlantic salmon, clam, crab, shrimp,tuna, shark and groundfish processor;Chef Stephan Inc. — retailer of fine sea salts for home cookingenthusiasts and experienced chefs. Louisiana has more than 4,200 food service outlets — aboutthree-quarters of them in New Orleans alone. Chefs in the stateserve more than 11 million visitors each year. “We look forward to making lasting trade relationships with thestate of Louisiana,” said Mr. d’Entremont.
With a significant number of voters and with candidates representing a broad range of political opinion gearing up for upcoming elections in Haiti, a credible vote is possible but the Transitional Government must take further measures to ensure success, a new United Nations report says. “Haiti is at a critical juncture,” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in the report to the Security Council on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The security environment in Haiti has improved in recent months, with MINUSTAH helping the Haitian National Police to develop a reform plan aimed at enhancing professionalism and technical skills. But the report warns that the potential for a resurgence of violence remains and continued preparedness will be crucial, particularly during the electoral period. On the question of security for voting, the Secretary-General calls for outside assistance. “Given the possible increase in tensions during the next phase of the electoral process, a useful message of reassurance and deterrence could be provided if one or more Member States indicated their readiness to back up the capabilities of MINUSTAH through the deployment, if required, of an offshore presence during this period.” Meanwhile, to create a level playing field for the elections, it is vital that the Transitional Government take measures to make them inclusive and participatory. “It is essential to avoid any perception that the judicial process is being used in a way that could adversely affect political participation,” the report says. In this regard, the prolonged detention of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is widely perceived as symptomatic of political interference in the judicial system, it says. “In addition, the recent release of Louis Jodel Chamblain, second-in-command of the paramilitary group known as the Front révolutionnaire pour l’avancement et le progrès d’Haiti, convicted in absentia and sentenced for his involvement in various crimes in 1993 and 1994, tarnished the credibility of the justice system,” the report says. It is difficult to ensure that the political process is not tainted by two events: admitting candidates seen by the public as criminals, or closely linked to gangs, and not addressing the suspicion that electoral campaigns are being financed, at least in part, by funds of dubious origin. The report says that providing public financing to political parties would help reduce the latter risk.