I hope this is one of the last postings I will make on the issue of passports, dual citizenship, Canadians of convenience and how much you and I as taxpayers should fork out to rescue people who do not live here. It is with happy hands that I am passing on the torch to others.
For example, the big guy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is now taking the thing over. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what he said last week: “The government has taken the view on this particular occasion that, given the circumstances, given how suddenly it came upon us, that we would spare no expense to protect and to secure the safety of any Canadians who wanted to come to Canada,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Mr. Harper told reporters. Ã¢â‚¬â„¢I will tell you that we will review this. We will review lessons learned in this and we will make an assessment for future: what we believe we can credibly do and what we cannot credibly do. But, in this case, our objective was to get as many people who wanted, out as quickly as possible and, obviously, to give precedence to residents, but we didn’t restrict it to residents.”
Good. Canada as global Boy Scout must be reviewed. Go rescue Canadians who have walked into a firefight or in the way of a volcano, but letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hold the line at hiring ships to evacuate locals from the whole countryside who may once have lived in Sudbury.
And, while weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re at it, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s review what we will do for free. After all (as I said earlier), if you get lost in the woods in the Rockies, expect to pay big bucks to have the SAR boys haul your butt out of there. So why are we rescuing non-residents half way around the world and bringing them here for nothing? In the States rescuees have to sign a promissory note. The amount billed may be nominal, but the principle is large. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s called fair and equal treatment of all people receiving a benefit. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also a matter of taxpayer respect.
And then there is Kevin Sorenson. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the Conservative MP from Crowfoot, Alberta (would you believe the guy got 80.2% of the vote in the last election??), whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs committee. Good on Kev, because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s called his committee together for Tuesday to chew a while on this whole thing.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The crisis in the Middle East has raised many questions in the minds of Canadians,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kevin in a media release. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ How can there be 40,000 Canadian citizens in Lebanon? How many Canadians were in Lebanon as tourists? Do other nations have similar numbers of citizens in Lebanon? What could the Canadian government have done earlier, if anything, in the evacuation process to ensure it went faster and easier? When did we first learn that so many of our citizens requested to be evacuated? Ã¢â‚¬Å“
Hey, man, good questions! We have been asking them here now for a couple of weeks and I am delighted that machinery of government is now in gear. Damn quick, too, I might add.
So I will be seeing Kevin this week at our national caucus. The big guy, too.
More importantly, I saw a whole mess of voters when I was in the Home Hardware (paint) and the Home Depot (flooring) this afternoon. The Canadians-of-convenience issue was on the lips of every one of them, unprompted. And the opinion was unanimous. We was had.
So, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your torch.