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Former N.B. Child and Youth Advocate Bernard Richard said the children of Haiti are what motivate him to try to improve the devastated country. ((CBC))

New Brunswick's former Child and Youth Advocate says his town's ties to Haiti began long before last year's devastating earthquake, and the children suffering in the country are what motivate him to help in its recovery.

"Cap Pelé has an almost 100-year history with Haiti through our smoked herring industry, we produce quite a bit of smoked herring, 50 per cent goes to Haiti even today, after the earthquake and so there is a natural tendency in our community to want to support Haiti," said Bernard Richard.

Richard is a former MLA from the area and also served as the Child and Youth Advocate for New Brunswick. Since stepping down in March, he is now involved with relief efforts in Haiti as chair of the aid agency Plan Canada.

Jo-Ann Garnier, who is from Haiti, visited the fishing village of Cap Pelé  Thursday to talk about her town's recovery.

Garnier wanted to thank people for their support and talk about what still needs to be done.

"Every time I go and look the children in the eyes there, I think they're not responsible for the political instability, they're not responsible for all that's gone wrong in Haiti, they deserve an equal chance," said Richard. "That's what motivates me."

Garnier works as Plan's Director of Policy, Strategy and Advocacy in Haiti. 

She said progress is being made in rebuilding the country, thanks in part to New Brunswickers' generosity.

But said the process is far from over.

"Sanitation facilities, access to clean water, hygiene promotion is extremely important, it's also important to have the centres where people can have access to the services," said Garnier.

Richard said world events have taken a lot of attention from Haiti.

He said there are still more than one million people living in tents, who still need food and medical services.