"Abousfian Abdelrazik was initially told he could obtain travel documents, such as an emergency passport, in order to return to Canada – as long as he had a plane ticket.
But Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon now says the 47-year-old must get his name off a UN terrorist blacklist before he can come home.
His comments come little more than a week after a group of 170 Canadians pooled their money to purchase a plane ticket. They did so knowing they could be charged under Canadian law for contributing financially to someone who is on a UN terror list."
A UN terrorist blacklist, you say, Mr. Cannon?
Canada feared U.S. backlash over man trapped in Sudan
"Senior government of Canada officials should be mindful of the potential reaction of our U.S. counterparts to Abdelrazik's return to Canada as he is on the U.S. no-fly list," intelligence officials say in documents in the possession of The Globe and Mail.
"Continued co-operation between Canada and the U.S. in the matters of security is essential. We will need to continue to work closely on issues related to the Security of North America, including the case of Mr. Abdelrazik," the document says.
The Abdelrazik documents - prepared by senior intelligence and security officials in Transport Canada, the unit that creates and maintains Canada's own version of the terrorist "no-fly" list - make clear that it was the U.S. list that kept Mr. Abdelrazik from returning to Canada when he was released from prison three years ago. "
OK. So really it's about the US list. And the Canadian government's position is that sacrificing a Canadian citizen and the sovereignty of Canada is just the price of keeping those trucks flowing back and forth across the border without tripping over any accompanying U.S. frowny faces.
How's that working out for us?
U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano said this week :
"a recent northern border review by her department highlighted ongoing U.S. worries about how Canada conducts risk assessments of people entering the country and "very real" differences in immigration and visa policy.
"That of course is a security concern," she said."
Christopher Sands, a Canada-U.S. border expert at the Hudson Institute, called Napolitano's comments "arresting" and said they show Washington is not yet convinced that Canada has done enough on security around who enters the country.
"She said, there's a security risk there," said Sands. "They have looked and seen differences between what the U.S. does, and what Canada does, and seen it as a source of concern."As has been noted here before, Sands, whom the Montreal Gazette fails to note is also on the North American Competitiveness Council and co-author of Negotiating North America : The Security and Prosperity Partnership, put it more succinctly back in November :
"In exchange for continued visa-free access to the United States, American officials are pressuring the federal government to supply them with more information on Canadians.
Not only about (routine) individuals but also about people that you may be looking at for reasons, but there's no indictment and there's no charge."
"Homeland security is the gatekeeper with its finger on the jugular affecting your ability to move back and forth across the border, the market access upon which the Canadian economy depends."
They've made their deal, I'd say.Dr. Dawg has it about right.
Chris wrote to his MP asking what assurances he has that as an international traveller the government will protect him. You can do the same.
To contact Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon directly :
Telephone: (613) 992-5516
Fax: (613) 992-6802
EMail: CannoL@parl.gc.ca .