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05/26/2010

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The passport office is one of the most effective and efficient agencies found in government. I had a new passport issued in less than two weeks just last month.

My own dealings with the passport office left me with the clear impression that had I needed a rush renewal in order to meet a business commitment they would have provided similar service to what Mr. Tracy received. Indeed, when I applied the clerk clearly asked when I was travelling and whether or not I needed an expedited service.

Let's not start criticizing government departments that are doing very good work for providing excellent work exactly when needed. Aren't we supposed to want a civil service that operates that well?

Sid and Ralph... what an imagination!

Tracy's passport story sounds fishy to me.
How can someone living in Las Vegas, who is a Canadian citizen, afford to have his passport expired?
There is even a guideline that says that Canadian passport entering the USA should have expiry date not less than three months from the date of entry.

How many times Tracy crossed the border in his life??
What a guy..

I'm a Canuck who's been living in the US for the past 20 years, and I still have Canadian citizenship. When I was packing to go home to Ottawa for Christmas a couple of years ago, I was horrified to realize my passport had expired. I called my family in tears and said I wouldn't be able to make it home. My sister did some checking, and said that if we went to the passport office in downtown Ottawa I could get a passport "while I waited".

I flew into Canada using my US driver's license as ID (luckily I could get into Canada that way, I just couldn't get back into the US, which is probably what happened to Paul Tracy). We immediately went to the passport office, which was located in a downtown office/shopping tower. An enterprising photo store in the mall charged an outrageous fee for my passport pics, and then I went to the passport office and filled out forms (I think I waited about 2 hours in chairs before my number was called, like at the DMV). As I'd arrived late in the day, my passport wouldn't be ready to be picked up until the following morning. However, if I'd arrived in the morning, I could have returned to pick up my passport the same day. The apps were being processed right there behind the counter.

I paid A LOT extra for expedited service, and I'm sure Paul Tracy did, too. I just think you do a disservice to the people at the passport office by suggesting that Tracy got special treatment, when he got what any other person is eligible to receive as long as they have access to a major city and a passport office. I have a very bad history of letting my passport expire and had mine renewed in person in Toronto back in the mid-1980s, too, although I can't claim to know whether that service is still available at that location.

Here's the link for "urgent" passport apps: http://www.ppt.gc.ca/cdn/urgent.aspx?lang=eng . All they ask is that you have proof of needing your application completed in an expedited fashion. I showed my outbound plane ticket, and your passport-lacking compadre could probably show his Indy tickets and get same-day service. Tell him to send me a postcard as a thank you :)

Anyone can get a passport in 4 hours if you're willing to pay an extra $50 processing fee. Let your friend know he can still make it.

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