Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In which we get slapped

I really should work myself up into a "Lawrence 'Loose' Cannon should be fired" series of posts at some point. You could write quite a list. Anyway, if I did have such a series, today's entry would be this ratcheting up of the spat with the UAE. This is highly symbolic diplomatically for the downgrading of our relationship with that country and it is a real business irritant: "U.A.E. slaps visa requirement on Canadians." Over 25,000 Canadians live and work there:
The U.A.E. is the largest trade partner with Canada in the Middle East and North Africa, with more than $1.5 billion of business in 2008, according to U.A.E. government figures.
Not good for bidness, nope:
“This is terrible,” he added. “This hurts the competitive position of Canadian businesses. Businesses there are not going to be as open tomorrow as they were yesterday to Canadian companies.”
The UAE are clearly adopting a frosty posture towards us:
"The visa waivers are granted to countries with a special relationship ... built on economic and other areas of close and growing cooperation," said the person, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about diplomatic matters. "The current status of relations with the government in Canada compared with other countries on the visa waiver program is at a much lower level. ... It isn't fair to include it with countries with which we have a healthy and productive relationship."
A Foreign Affairs spokesman here, however, said yesterday that the UAE was merely implementing, now, a 2009 decision that would have seen Canadians require visas. Well, that is a remarkable coincidence. And it's coming on rather quickly, January 2nd is the deadline. This visa development comes right on the heels of our exit from Camp Mirage. Quite a quick follow-up poke.

Now if it was just a question of two flights to Toronto...seems like a whole lot of fuss, especially that $300 million cost to high tail it out of Camp Mirage. Pile on whatever economic damage might ensue from this visa move to that figure.

Amateur hour rolls on! Whatever will it be next.