...I have wondered why it was that France and Britain had 4,000-odd people to rescue in Lebanon, and we have 40,000. After all, those countries dwarf ours in both population and resources and are half a world closer, so why does Canada have to ferry out ten times as many? Are there that many Canadians on holiday over there?
Of course, it’s turned that out lots of these folks calling our embassy in Beirut (about 25,000 last time I checked) are not tourists. They live there. In many cases, they have been there for years and years and are permanent residents of that country, who once lived in this country. They carry dual citizenship and because one of the passports in their wallets is Canadian, they reasonably flocked to accept our country’s generous offer of free passage to safety.
This raises a few questions. Like, 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?
Many of these Canadian passport holders may have taken out Canadian citizenship simply to help get themselves out of difficulties such as this. They may have no intention of remaining in Canada after the current hostilities die down, but they will take advantage of every protection Canadian citizenship offers while protecting themselves against the current disadvantages of Lebanese citizenship (such as being subject to conscription or commandeering of property).
Worse, some of these passport holders may also be active Hezbollah militants who could be using our passport and rescue as cover to get to Canada to carry out terrorist activities here.
Perhaps we should remind these dual passport holders of the responsibilities and loyalty owed to their native Lebanon. Surely loyal Lebanese will not abandon their homeland to its fate.