Canada's Foreign Policy: Canadians'… you are on your own

Numerous commentator have asked why Canadians don’t seem to care about Foreign Policy. Well, maybe it is because our foreign policy so rarely cares about them.

Consider the plight of Abousfian Abdelrazi, the Sudanese-born Canadian whose name is stuck on the 1267 UN no-flight list. And let’s be clear, both Canadian and Sudanese authorities have cleared Abdelrazik of any association with a terrorist organization.

So what happens when your own government determines you should be presumed innocent? Do they help you get home? Do they advocate on your behalf? Do they help in any meaningful way?

The answer is simple: no.

As Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said to the Globe and Mail.

“It’s up to him, its incumbent on him to make sure he gets off that list”

And how, exactly, is a lone citizen like Abousfian Abdelrazi supposed to lobby the UN security council to change his status? It is bad enough that he is functionally exiled with no access to appeal or any due process. What is appalling is that his own government has effectively abandoned him.

Remember this could be you, if in some Brazilesque bureaucratic hic-cup you could end up on a no-fly list.

Sadly, if you end up on a no-fly list (as Senator Ted Kennedy once famously did) the Canadian government will write a letter on your behalf (they the UN Security Council in December 2007 to ask to have Abdelrazik removed). However, what we now know is that doesn’t work out – too bad, you are on your own.

2 thoughts on “Canada's Foreign Policy: Canadians'… you are on your own

  1. Veronica

    Actually, it's not just that it's hard for an individual to petition a UN Committee (here, the 1267 Committee) but that in order to be de-listed you pretty much have to have the support of your government (see section 7): set If he's on the UN's Consolidated list, does that mean he's also on Canada's Passenger Protect list? I don't know the answer to this. If he is, it makes the Canadian government's insistence that he get a plane ticket, etc. even more disingenuous — since appeals for reconsideration for that list have to be approved by the Minister of Transport.

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