Canadians slapped with $5.50 tax to visit USA...Fee for baby born on a plane?
Boy, you think you know a guy and then, whammo.
I mean, Canadians were positively euphoric when Barack Obama was elected president of the USA. We didn't dance in the streets, at least not in Toronto since we're saving that for the Stanley Cup celebration for the Leafs that could happen in the next 247 years. But we were pretty jubilant.
And why not? I mean, we've done so much for the U.S. over the years. We've been loyal, like a good Labrador retriever. We've been kind, like a Prairie grandmother. We've even given them some of our top talent; everyone from Mary Pickford to William Shatner to Mike Myers, Celine Dion and Avril Lavigne. Okay, I'm personally sorry about Celine Dion. But still....
We've gone into Afghanistan with you, although I can't tell why. We're trying to sell you our oil. We're good guys. We've even given you lots of new Tim Hortons outlets.
So what do you do, Mr. President? You launch new "Buy America" provisions that could hurt Canadian jobs. And now, just the other day, you turn around and say that anyone who flies or boats into the U.SA. from Canada or Mexico will now have to pony up $5.50 in American dollars, which at least is now about the same in Canadian money.
I wouldn't quite call it an outrage, and at least it won't be levied on folks who drive over the border, but is this really going to do much for the U.S. economy?
U.S. officials insist it's not an attack on Canada but Winnipeg MP Pat Martin, a New Democrat, doesn't see it that way.
"We don't charge them a fee to come and visit Banff," he said. "Why are we paying five and a half bucks for the honour of visiting the United States?"
Prime MInister Stephen Harper has suggested he doesn't like the tax. But Martin said the Tories need to stand up and yell a lot louder.
"This is a provocative insult to Canadians, " he said, "and I expect our foreign affairs diplomats and representatives to push back and push back hard."
Air Canada, for its part, let loose Tuesday afternoon.
"Air Canada is disappointed to see an additional government fee levied on air travelers," officials said.
"This decision by the U.S. government comes at a time when initiatives should be undertaken to encourage economic growth, not burden consumers with additional costs."
BABY BORN ON PLANE - AIRLINE FEE INVOLVED?
Nice to see a baby being born on a flight from India to Canada yesterday. Very touching.
They're not sure if the baby will have Canadian citizenship because the plane is said to have been over Kazakhstan at the time. More important, did Air India make the mother buy an extra ticket for the infant? Or did she merely get hit with a $75 "baby born on board" fee.
Just kidding, folks. I'm sure Air India would never do such a thing. An American-based airline? Hmmm....