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Thread: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

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    Hit By Ban Bus! UndercoverGator's Avatar
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    Default Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    Grimm, you, SVZ, PB, Tiki, Moomies and the other Canucks on the board might want to stay on your side of the Rainbow Bridge until your government decides it's not powerless towards it's citizens abroad. This is fucked up.

    `Out of Canada, you have no help'
    U.S. rushes to aid of citizens abroad
    Our rules weaker, as Ianieros found
    Mar. 11, 2006. 02:06 PM
    LINDA DIEBEL
    STAFF REPORTER

    You're heading to warmer climes for Spring Break and you've got your trusty Canadian passport. You know that safety is always an issue; you may even be aware of the recent murder of a Canadian couple in Mexico. Still, deep in your heart, don't you really believe your government will be there for you in a crisis?

    Think again. The Canadian government's response to its citizens in crisis abroad appears informal at best and deficient at worst at least compared to the U.S., a country that moves heaven and earth to help distressed Americans. The U.S. has a special Washington-based agency within the State Department, named the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management and devoted to serving out-of-country Americans. There is a strict diplomatic protocol in which officials must be on site within 24 hours, and ready to report to Congress within 72 hours, of any crisis involving an American.

    Canada has no such protocol and the Conservative government last month abolished the cabinet-level post of parliamentary secretary with special responsibility for Canadians abroad.

    Moreover, Washington has an investigative protocol with countries such as Mexico, where Nancy and Domenic Ianiero, of Woodbridge, were murdered last month. "That means they don't have to wait on Interpol," said Liberal MP Dan McTeague, who used to be parliamentary secretary for Canadians abroad. "They just go right in."

    The RCMP in contrast waited a week to send its Mexico City liaison officer to the Playa del Carmen murder site, despite statements from Mexican authorities that Canadians were the prime homicide suspects. Last week, the Mounties sent two non-Spanish speaking officers to Mexico, with "observer" status only.

    The Ianiero family issued a public statement complaining about the Mexican investigation. In a letter to the Star, one family friend said he fears "our government will succeed in putting this case on the shelf along with many other Canadians still waiting for justice."

    Indeed, the line-up is long. From the Mayan Riviera to Mumbai, Canadians have poured out their hearts about a lack of action from their government.

    David Middleton, for example, learned under painful circumstances the 1996 sexual assault and murder of his daughter, Becky, 17, in Bermuda that he couldn't depend on Ottawa. He's not surprised Canadian authorities responded slowly to the Ianiero murders and says, from his own bleak experience, they did "too little, too late" on the case.

    "Our Canadian foreign policy is to do nothing, as far as I'm concerned. Nothing at all," he said. "I say to the travelling public, `It's buyer beware. Once you are out of Canada you have no rights and no help.'"

    After Becky was murdered on July 3, 1996, a Canadian consular official from New York with responsibility for Bermuda flew down. But, said Middleton, "he basically told me there was nothing the Canadian government could do for Canadians out-of-country."

    He said Ottawa failed to put pressure on Bermuda over "the badly handled police case." A man was finally jailed for five years for being "an accessory after the fact," but Middleton believes there was no justice for Becky. Before legal proceedings began, he sought help in finding a lawyer a service offered by U.S. officials from another consular officer in New York.

    "He didn't get back to me for the longest time. When he finally did, he said, `What is it that you want?' He had no idea who we were, or who Becky was," he said.

    He watched enviously last year as U.S. officials pulled out all the stops when American teen, Natalee Holloway, 18, disappeared in Aruba. While she remains missing, the FBI took a lead in the investigation, Alabama state officials called for a tourist boycott and there were even F-16s with heat-seeking equipment searching the shoreline of the former Dutch colony.

    "You gotta wonder why Canadians don't command respect," said Middleton. "It's because Canadians are wimps and Americans aren't. So when something happens, who is it that other governments are going to respect? If there is a crisis and they know you are Canadian, they figure your government will do nothing."

    Bermudian officials declined to accept forensic help from the Dade County, Fla., coroner's office. Middleton believes that if Becky had been American, such help would have been accepted.

    Still, there are other reasons U.S. officials have such clout. They are backed by a powerful weapon not available to Canadians: the immense power of the U.S. media/entertainment industry. For most of the summer, for instance, the Natalee Holloway story dominated prominent U.S. TV talk shows.

    It's important to note that, throughout the world, there are intelligent and hard-working Canadian foreign service officers doing the best job they can. They take their directive from their political masters in Canada, whether Conservative or Liberal.

    When there are problems, they must be laid at the feet of the politicians who determine resources, mandate and the extent to which services are going to be made available around the globe.

    Last summer, it was reported that a Foreign Affairs audit found that complaints that Canadians were being badly served weren't justified. But it was an internal audit.

    McTeague, MP for Pickering-Scarborough East, criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government for eliminating the post of parliamentary secretary with responsibility for Canadians abroad, while other countries (Britain, Australia, France and Germany, among others) have permanent positions. McTeague called the RCMP investigation in Playa del Carmen "woefully inadequate."

    Still, McTeague was unable to convince his own Liberal government last fall to appoint a permanent consul in Cancun in the place of the current honorary consul. The Yucatan Peninsula is one of the prime tourist destinations for Canadians anywhere in the world.

    Dan Dugas, newly appointed press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay, said yesterday that, as far as he knows, there are no plans to fill the former McTeague position.

    McTeague argues there is no comparison between how the U.S. and Canada protect their citizens, stressing that "the United States uses its entire state department on behalf of its people."

    For some Canadians though, a slow reaction is better than none.

    Yesterday, Dr. Sadan Goel of Orangeville sent his condolences to the Ianiero family, noting that "we know what it is like first-hand to lose a loved one."

    His wife, Dr. Asha Goel, was found beaten to death in the home of a relative in Mumbai, India, on Aug. 23, 2003. For more than two years, he said, Canadian authorities assured his family that the murder investigation by Mumbai police was going well. "The Goels, however, repeatedly and publicily urged the Department of Foreign Affairs and the RCMP to take a greater interest and play a more active role in uncovering the truth," he said, in a letter to the Star.

    There are many other cases of Canadians who have argued publicly that officials did not stand up for them:
    #
    Zahra Kazemi, a photojournalist, was tortured to death in Iran. Her son, Stephan Hachemi of Montreal, complained that Canada failed to take strong action against Iran.

    #
    # Luc Ethier, a Quebec aircraft technician, was gunned down in Kuwait in 2001. His father, Claude, said Canadian officials did nothing.
    William Sampson, a consultant who spent 33 months in a Saudi Arabian jail, said Canadian officials ignored his accounts of torture when they visited him. In 2003, Harper, then Canadian Alliance leader, and Stockwell Day, his foreign affairs critic who is now public safety minister, criticized the Liberal government for being too soft on Saudi Arabia and not standing up for Canadians. It's the same complaint made against Harper on the Ianiero case. Meanwhile, he will soon be off to Cancun, a stone's throw from Playa del Carmen, to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox and U.S. President George W. Bush.

    High-level summits are fine, said McTeague. "But if they are going to have them, they can't be allowed to lose sight of the fact that Canadians count. If Canadians run into trouble abroad, they must be able to expect their government to be there for them."
    http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...l=968350116467

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    SVZ
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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    We only have like 50 RCMP officers It takes population to support a universal system.

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    It's a disgrace and has been for a long time. The Kazemi case was especially shameful -- a respected Iranian-born, but Canadian journalist is tortured and murdered and our government does nothing for months?

    Don't expect it to get better under neo-con Hapless Harper's regime, either.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    Harper only cares about you till you're born, like every neocon.

    But yeah.. wtf is up with that? Sorry, shit out of luck if you're abducted? Can't do anything?

    hello, we have a strike force don't we.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    wait wait wait

    who are YOU to talk about canadian politics undercover are YOU canadian!??!?! only canadians have the right to talk about canadian politics!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    Yeah! HOW DARE YOU BE CRITICAL OF OUR GOVERNMENT, you don't live here!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    i'm crying as i type this!

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    U just jealous of our superior nation!!! We hate u and your stupid country. U will die soon. U and your dumb leader will die because u are jealous and dumb.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    yeah, what makes you so great? This is the best country on the planet, and we stand for freedom and liberty and we'll nuke the fuck out of anybody who sez otherwise!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    Hey, I love Canada! My relatives originally moved from France to Canada before the evil British forced them out and down to Louisiana. That makes me semi-Canadian by default. That plus I'm in Toronto about five times a year and I love Tim Hortons... Where else can you you get a lunch value meal consisting of two doughnuts, hot coffee and soup? Not in the States. I think that makes me an honorary Canadian..

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    Hit By Ban Bus! pacific breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    Well then, since whining is the Canadian pastime, bitch away!!

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    This is sad. But I resent the wimp comment, dammit! Our beavers got teeth, yo!
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad


    "The howling backwoods that is IMDB is where film criticism goes to die (and then have its corpse gang-raped, called a racist, and accused of supporting Al-Qaeda)" ----Sean O'Neal, The Onion AV Club

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    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    I love when non-Canadians post negative items of Canada, when they probably have much more unfavorable happenings in their country, but they try to deflect that by bad-mouthing and pointing fingers elsewhere. Canada is such a peaceful and neutral country, it comes to mind that people try to pull you down when you're up.

    Hey! I have a novel idea: post POSITIVE items of other countries!!! YAY!

    P.S. At least our Canadian schools educate us that there's no contraction in the above, It's, as it should be spelled, Its (it's a possesive pronoun) . But I'm sure your country has warmer winters than ours. That's my positive remark back to yours. Thank you.
    Go Habs Go!!

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    A*O
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    Default Re: Canada Doesn't Help It's Citizens Abroad

    Austraians caught drug smuggling overseas whine when their Govt does not intervene to organise an automatic Get Out Of Jail Free card just because they possess an Aussie passport.

    Hey! I have a novel idea: post POSITIVE items of other countries!!! YAY!
    If we did that this board would wither and die on the vine like a dying withered thing.
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