Editorial: Government needs to fix crazy passport Catch-22

Will the Canadian government be Scrooge before or after his ghostly visitations?

It’s a strange and circular story that has left part of the Fort family stranded in New Zealand, and the rest here in British Columbia.

Reporter Robert Barron describes in his story in today’s edition how, even though he’s a Canadian citizen — actually, in an especially bizarre twist, because he’s a Canadian citizen — son Liam will likely not be allowed to come to this country to spend Christmas with his mom and sister.

It is exactly this kind of thing that makes Canadians skeptical about the quality of the government bureaucracy, and sometimes even nervous to try to use it.

One office tells Liam’s mother one thing. Another tells her something else. A third tells her something different again. It’s sheer madness. And they now seem to be stuck in a classic Catch-22: Liam can’t get a passport unless he’s in Canada, but he can’t get into Canada without a Canadian passport. It’s makes you want to tear your hair out just reading about it.

How hard can it really be to get a Canadian passport for a Canadian citizen?

It’s especially galling that had the family not tried to get Liam a Canadian passport, and instead he had simply used his valid New Zealand one to enter the country, all would have been well. But instead, the family is being punished for trying to think ahead.

So often we are left feeling like the go-between in these situations, when it’s really the two departments, or officials that need to talk to each other. If they’d just do that, things could be resolved in minutes with the application of a smidgen of common sense. Instead these issues can take days, weeks, months and in some cases even years buried in Byzantine bureaucracy, if they are resolved at all.

We hope our MP Alistair MacGregor can help reunite this family for Christmas. This should be straightforward. Will the Canadian government be Scrooge before or after his ghostly visitations? Stay tuned.

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