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!

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5 Comments to “Down the river without a visa…”

  1. XUP says:

    Oh ya, I realize it’s the Americans who started the passport thing, just like it’s the Czechs and Mexicans who started the refugee thing. But, Canada gets screwed in both cases. Plus, there are so many people here illegally already, I wonder why they picked on these 2 groups in particular. Then again, Canada is pretty easy to get into legally, so I don’t know why people feel the need to cut corners. Some provinces have provincial sponsorship programs which make it even easier to get landed immigrant status — but you have to live in provinces that don’t include Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

  2. Shanaco: Alberta and BC did essentially that back in the 90’s. When the Ontario provincial gov started work-for-welfare, tens of thousands of Ontario dole-recipients migrated to Alberta and BC to take advantage of their generous and no-work-required welfare systems. Both provinces introduced legislation to require a period of residency (6 and 3 months respectively IIRC) before someone could claim welfare because the influx of deadbeats was hurting their social systems.

    XUP: remember, the Americans started requiring passports… that was their idea. It’s not that they need passports to get into Canada so much as they need them to get back into the USA.

    The fact is, both the Czech and Mexican governments admit there is a problem regarding the false refugee claimants. Neither is particularly happy about the chosen solution, but they both admit there is a problem.

    The immigration minister seems to be aware that this is a sucky solution, but can’t seem to find a better one that gets the job done. I’m certain that if you have a better solution to the false-refugee claim issue, members of parliament would be delighted to hear it, and mailing an MP doesn’t even cost postage…

  3. shanaco says:

    Better yet. Let’s set up a bureaucracy that reviews inter-provincial travel!
    I’m sure there are Albertans just dying to claim refugee status in Ontario!

  4. XUP says:

    We’ve already lost a huge percentage of Americans because so many of them don’t have passports. Now we’re losing the Mexicans and the Czechs. Why not include the rest of Europe — Germany especially.. they just complain (in droves) while they’re here anyway. Aside from the tourism implications, the whole idea is akin to the WMD overkill response by Bush

  5. Rather than use visas, CIC could sit down, say quarterly, and decide where in the world there are people who might validly be considered refugees, and simply refuse the claims of people who enter in that quarter but aren’t from those countries.

    So, if CIC thinks there are no refugees in Mexico and a Mexican tries to claim refugee status, they get deported immediately – no hearing, no bullshit… straight to the exit door.

    If CIC thinks the Czech republic is a civilized country, the same can be done to the Roma that show up. I don’t know much about the Roma situation, but what I’ve read seems to indicate it’s sucky, but hardly refugee material. Yes, there are particular hard-luck stories among them, but they are nothing compared to, say, a Rwandan refugee whose family was macheted into bits, whose house was burned, all while she was being raped by a platoon for 14 days. Canada’s proper response would be to lean on the Czech and EU governments for proper treatment. Better still, we could deal with our own treatment of natives before telling the Czechs how to deal with their Roma.

    I’d also like to see STRICT enforcement of a neutral third country rule… if you are leaving (wherever) and you stop in some third country, then come to canada to claim refugee status, you are immediately deported back to that middle country. “Refugees” shouldn’t be shopping for a place to go. That’s already an agreement in place between the US and Canada: supposed refugees that come here and then try to slip into the US are sent back here, and vice versa.

    I have no problem accepting real refugees who make it here, but I have a big problem accepting any asshole who claims to be downtrodden and skipped through 38 countries to get here because we have free health care and welfare.

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