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July 14th, 2009:

Down the river without a visa…

By now, everyone has heard of the incredible story of the 3 year old who drove his mini- electric car into the river, floated with it downstream for 12 klicks and was none the worse for wear at the end of it all. When rescuers caught up with the boy, the truck had capsized and he was hanging on to the axle for dear life… so we think… but based on his first words said to the rescuers as he was plucked off the ad hoc plastic floatation device –  “where’s my truck”? –  I think he was more worried about losing his truck than being swept away down the river.

A rather practical decision, wouldn’t you say? Hold on to what is dear and don’t do anything stupid that may jeopardise it.  It’s kind of like a businessperson ensuring that his or her key clients are happy with the services or goods being provided… especially in economic downtimes.  Or a country that relies on tourism as a staple of its national economy. No government in their right mind would let go of their truck during a recession. When tourists from the biggest house on the block, the U.S., is way down and those coming from other countries are steady or rising.  Why put those relationships into risk.

Well, with the recent decision to demand visas from those visitors from nations like Mexico, the Harperites didn’t just lose their grip on the floating truck, the punched a hole in it, stuffed in some dynamite and blew it out of the water!

Using an escalating number of refugees as the reason for doing so, the Harper government has in one fell swoop, nailed another nail into the coffin of our already struggling tourism sector. Mexican tourists have been on the rise for the past few years but now you can pretty much kiss that bye-bye due to this, yet another, short-sighted policy.

NAFTA. The first two letters stand for North American, right? So we can declare the continent a free trade zone but rightfully put onerous visa requirements on Mexicans seeking maple syrup in Ottawa’s By-Ward Market? Where is the sense in that?

As they plan next winters’ vacations south, Canadians should expect the same from the Mexican government.

Thanks Stevo! Now you go on and climb back aboard your truck and revisit this decision. And soon!