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Foreign interference
or foreign indifference

Governments sometimes do things that, unwittingly, “blow up” in their faces. Our Canadian governments are no different. One might in a moment of wry pique even suggest they may have become world leaders in that art.

Some readers may recall a certain Maher Arar, a Syrian national who became a Canadian citizen who [seemingly] maintained his connection with “activists” in the Middle East. Mr. Arar was arrested, and jailed, in Syria but demanded – rightly so – consular services from Canada. He subsequently sued Canada for $10 Million.

Who can forget [Canadian] child soldier Omar Khadr whose family’s support – militarily – of ISIS resulted in the death of the Khadr patriarch and his older son in a pitched battle against American soldiers in the mountains of Afghanistan? Omar was captured by US forces, charged with killing one of their own and sent to Guantanamo Bay jail in Cuba (on territory recognized by international convention as neither part of Cuba nor of the USA) where he was “left to rot” for years.

He too sued the Canadian government for providing insufficient consular services in the face of American disregard for the sovereignty rights of Canadian citizens. Yes, he too was eventually released… with a multimillion-dollar compensation award, thanks to the Canadian taxpayer.

As reported Monday, a Canadian-born (in Toronto) Panfilo Colonico was kidnapped at gunpoint from his restaurant in Ecuador. Global Affairs Canada could not or would not provide any information when contacted on Sunday. Privacy reasons cited.

Corriere Canadese was asking for confirmation that what was already being reported in the Italian press and media was in fact true, and if Canadian consular services were engaged. The response was that any answers forthcoming come from the Media department. It was not open on the weekend. On Monday we received the response cited in Marzio Pelu’s column.

Canadian governments appear to have a systemic phobia for people from the Southeastern Mediterranean lands and cultures and for select groups from “the Greater Middle East”.

So far, we know only the anecdotal information of Toronto-born Panfilo Colonico, whose family hails from Sulmona, Abbruzzo. He does not appear to be on anyone’s “wanted list”.

We can only hope he is safe, that he is not involved with nefarious organizations, and that he and/or his family are not preparing a lawsuit for consular neglect while they work their way through this mess.

We’ll see.

From the left: Maher Arar (photo Amnesty International) and Omar Khadr (photo Wikipedia)

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