Friday, July 21, 2006

The Language Of Refuge

This morning's Globe and Mail headline, First planeload of refugees arrives in Canada, might have been a result of mere editorial sloppiness.

Or it could be a telling slip.

Because if the people being evacuated from Lebanon are Canadian citizens, they're not actually refugees. As Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees states:
"A person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."

Unless, of course, Lebanon is their country of habitual residence. In which case, why are they abandoning their homeland in its hour of need, if they are in no danger of persecution?


Jim Hutchinson said...

This whole episode is a metaphor for what it means to be a Canadian: make a choice, then blame someone else and let someone else pay for it when that choice proves troublesome. Citizens of convenience to say the least.
What a joke. But, how very typically "Canadian."

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I think they're using the term "refugee" in a more loose sense, the way the people at the SuperDome after Katrina were refered to as "refugees" even though they were all Americans in America. And I'm certain I saw a CNN graphic about the current situation that said "American refugees", and no one in the U.S. is questioning the "Americaness" of the Americans in Lebanon. The Americans realize that a citizen is a citizen no matter where they live or how much they pay in taxes (or even if they pay no taxes), and the Americans will go through Hell and high water until everyone with an American passport is out of Lebanon.

A few so-called "conservatives" here in Canada could learn from that American example.

For the record, I'm a "citizen" of Canada, not a "taxpayer" of Canada and I hope the government will forever think of me as a national, not just a subscriber. Furthermore I will be a citizen until the day I die, regardless of my income or tax status, or where in the world I am living. The Americans understand that "citizen" trumps "resident" or "taxpayer". I wonder when we Canadians forgot?