In search of a Canadian visa
DEAR MR. EDMONSTON: The office of the Prime Minister has forwarded a copy of your correspondence of February 12, 2009, to the Honourable...
DEAR MR. EDMONSTON: The office of the Prime Minister has forwarded a copy of your correspondence of February 12, 2009, to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, regarding visitors to Canada from Panama having to obtain temporary resident visas (TRVs) from the Canadian visa office in Guatemala. I apologize for the delay in responding.
The number of TRV applications from persons residing in Panama is still low, at slightly more than 1000 per year. This is much below the threshold at which we can justify opening a visa office.
In order to improve service to our clients in Panama, Citizenship and Immigration Canada created in 2007 a clerical position for a part-time employee at the Canadian Embassy in Panama City. Applications are received at the Canadian Embassy in Panama and are sent by courier to the visa office in Guatemala City. Approximately 80 percent of applications are processed and the passports returned to the applicants within five working days of the date the application had been taken by the employee in Panama City.
DEAR MINISTER KENNEY: Five days doesn’t seem long at all. Let’s see, counting weekends, we are looking at one week. You say that about 200 visa cases a year take more than a week to process. This seems like an inordinately long time for many Panamanian professionals and business people who must surrender their passport to Guatemalan authorities during the processing.
Earlier this year, during his sojourn to Panama, Federal Trade Minister Stockwell Day got an earful from Canadian and American business people who complained vehemently that the processing of Canadian visas in Guatemala was unacceptably long. You imply there is no problem.
You have added a half-person to the job, following earlier requests for help. I now suggest you look at adding another employee to complete the processing in Panama.
Chamber of Commerce members tell me a slight increase in the visa processing fee, (say $10 added to the current US $65) would more than cover the base salary of two more employees. With this extra fee and the dropping of courier services to and from Guatemala, your budget should even show a profit.
Canadian Ambassador Langan-Torell can easily give you the cost figures for the issuance of visas in Panama. In the meantime, I’ll poll Canadian business groups as to their acceptance of a small extra fee and trust you will speak with Minister Day.
“FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”. No. No, you don’t get it, President/Father Lugo. Even though you are the just-elected President of Paraguay, the term “Father of Your Country” is not to be taken literally. Now, as a former Catholic bishop, you taught that confession is good for the soul. So, quit forcing three (and counting) young mothers to take to the courts to get support for your bastard children. ‘Fess-up’ and do the Christian thing. We can take the truth. After all, having a ‘love child’ is not that rare among priests, pastors, politicians, and paramours. Ask “love lips” Edwards and Reverend Jesse?
SPEAKING OF JESSE. I am an independent voter, native of Washington, D. C. and a graduate of a black college (Bowie State College). I dislike self-appointed leaders who use victims as stepping stones to public recognition. I consider Jesse Jackson an opportunist who is practically incoherent with his mumbling and embarrassingly dim-witted statements. Many remember him speaking last year into what he thought was a ‘dead’ TV microphone describing to a fellow panelist, voce sotto, how he was going to “cut Obama’s nuts out” for lecturing in black churches about the welfare state. Jackson felt that Obama was not talking racial victimization enough.
Jackson volunteered last week to go to Iran to work for an American journalist’s release from prison. If I were her, I’d be afraid, very afraid. Not of the Iranians—but of Jackson’s involvement.