Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Some Canadian MPs Need to Buy a Clue

The Ottawa Citizen reports that members of parliament are arguing over whether the rescue of Canadians in Lebanon with dual citizenship should be paid for by the government - the same government that doled out $15+ billion for the military earlier this month. Suddenly, they're concerned about spending a bit of money to get Canadians out of a war zone - especially after 7 Canadians were killed in Lebanon over the weekend?

The champion of this cause? Conservative MP Garth Turner.

Rushing between studios I was quite aware of the fact I was busy talking about a situation while others were busy living it. I have no idea what life on ground level is like in Beirut or Haifa right now, and I thank God that I and my family are here.

That's right, Garth. You aren't there. You're passing judgment on people in a war zone from your cushy Canadian home.

...should someone who does not reside in Canada or pay taxes here be rescued by the taxpayers of Canada just because they have dual citizenship? Should they – with a government in Lebanon, a home there and the usual daily connections - be put on an equal footing with Canadian tourists who suddenly find themselves in a war zone, far away from home, bank account and loved ones? Should permanent Lebanese residents who are also Canadians pay for their rescue, or should you pay for it? Is this setting a precedent for other dual citizens around the world who might have trouble come and visit them? What are we going to do with a potential 20,000 to 40,000 Lebanese-Canadian citizens when they get here? What’s this all going to cost?

I do not presume to know the answers, because I don’t have all the facts. And this is probably not the time – with the rockets and bombs raining down – to debate it.

Then why did you bring it up?

Some days you just need to wake up and check the Common Sense meter.

Today, Garth. Today is one of those days for you.

It's not only Garth who has that opinion though.

Mr. Turner said the costly exercise raises the question of whether the government has the responsibility of removing people who are not resident citizens in Canada and added, "I think there's a strong argument to say no."

Toronto Liberal MP Derek Lee agreed, saying "we should focus primarily on Canadian citizens who are resident in Canada first. After that, I suppose we should accord the same privileges to those who are resident there ... I would be strongly in favour of that, they have to go through the process of identifying people anyway, they just can't take anybody."

Right. Screw 'em all. Let the Israeli bombs sort it out.

Oh look, a voice of reason:

Toronto Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj said half of the Ontario capital's population was born outside Canada and "if we start saying someone is more Canadian than someone else and perhaps we should provide services to one group of Canadians and not another group of Canadians, that's an incredibly slippery slope to step onto."

It's not just a ride down a slippery slope, it's a quick slide into a dirty swamp.

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