Overwhelmed by a second tragic death in less than four months, Montrealer Joey Valcin is asking Ottawa to help bring back the remains of his father who died in the plane crash that claimed the lives of at least six people in Haiti on Wednesday .
Updated yesterday at 10:53 p.m.
“Given that my father was a Canadian citizen and that he worked and helped for a long time within this country which warmly welcomed us in the early 2000s, I ask that the government authorities repatriate my father’s body, because the situation in Haiti does not allow me to go there to pay him a last tribute, “said the son of Gamaniel Valcin in a press briefing, Thursday, in Montreal.
The moment was doubly heartbreaking for the Valcin family, who had gathered in the same auditorium at Henri-Bourassa high school exactly a week before, for a ceremony in memory of Riley, Joey’s brother, who died tragically in a work accident at the Grande Roue de Montréal, on December 25, at the age of 22.
Joey Valcin accompanied his father to the Montreal-Trudeau airport on Wednesday morning. At the end of the day, her mother asked her to make sure her husband was not on the plane that had just crashed in the south of the country. By dialing his cell phone number, Joey was surprised to be answered “curtly” by a local police commissioner, who told him about this new twist of fate.
“Then followed horrific images of the endless tragedy on social networks,” the 27-year-old continued, visibly shocked, referring to videos where he saw people stealing coins. the crashed plane.
I find that his body was not respected, and that is why I would like very quickly to bring him back to Canada.
Joey Valcin has already made contact with the Haitian justice of the peace in charge of the case.
“I know that my father, his body, is safe in a morgue, and we are waiting for the Canadian government to see what they will do. »
Gamaniel Valcin, who regularly returned to his native island, flew to Jacmel because “in Haiti, it is much safer to travel by plane from one province to another than to take a van, because of the presence of gangs that threaten people’s lives. There are a lot of kidnappings,” his son explained.
“According to various rumors, the plane was in very poor condition, and I don’t think it should have taken off. »
A life “to help people”
Arriving in Canada in 2001, Gamaniel Valcin lived in Longueuil. He would have been 57 on April 29.
“My father was above all a man of the people, he dedicated his life to helping people,” Joey summed up, referring to his support for new Haitian immigrants in Montreal.
Mr. Valcin senior, who was a pastor, worked as a taxi driver, a job from which he used the earnings to support community members in Montreal and Haiti, his son explained.
Arriving in Canada on October 6, 2004, Joey and his brother Riley both attended Henri-Bourassa high school in Montreal North.
The Mayor of the Borough of Montreal-North, Christine Black, as well as the head of the office of Paule Robitaille, Member of Parliament for the riding of Bourassa-Sauvé, expressed their support for the family during the press conference.
The office of the federal riding of Bourassa, represented by Emmanuel Dubourg, accompanied Mr. Valcin in his first administrative steps with Global Affairs Canada. The family must first obtain the required documents from the Haitian authorities so that Canada can repatriate the body, we were told.