Gov't advised to cut aid to dual citizens in trouble abroad

By Gerald V. Paul
The Conservative government is being advised by senior bureaucrats to consider limiting consular assistance for Canadians with dual citizenship who travel on a foreign passport or those who live outside the country for a long period of time.
The recommendation on the degree of aid extended to Canadians in distress around the globe is contained in briefing books.
Each year, the Department of Foreign Affairs is called upon thousands of times to help Canadians who have run into trouble abroad, but it’s arguing that these demands are getting more and more onerous.
“The sheer number, scope and complexity of consular cases and international crisis and the vagaries of country conditions where our citizens travel and live underline the importance of ensuring that the available consular resources are managed appropriately,”the briefing says.
Foreign Affairs suggests that the government impose conditions on Canadians living abroad so they have to qualify before receiving consular assistance abroad.
“Consideration could be given to the feasibility of approaches used by other countries such as the imposition of a residency required or a tax contribution obligation as a condition to be eligible for assistance abroad,” senior civil servants say in the briefing book.
“Recent crisis have highlighted that many Canadian passport holders have limited connection to Canada [and ] are seen by some as maintaining a ‘citizenship of convenience,” says the mid-2013 briefing book, obtained under access-to-information law.
Senior bureaucrats are making the case in the name of managing scarce resources, noting Foreign Affairs has been asked to help Canadian citizens in 50 international crisis in 36 countries in one recent 15-month period alone. The federal government is scaling back spending across the board to retire the federal deficit by 2015 so the Conservatives can present a balanced budget and likely tax cuts- before the next election.