Thursday, February 15, 2007

Suspicious Canadian Deaths in Mexico...and in Austria

Murders in Mexico have dominated the news here, with the conclusion being that Mexico is a bad place to travel to. Not only is it unsafe, but also the police will cover up the crime and, even worse, the Canadian government will make the barest token effort on the Canadian tourist's behalf. Radio shows and television news have asked if it's safe to travel to Mexico; people have stated other countries are a better bet. But are they?

I have not watched the fifth estate in years, ever since I learned of their lovely little trick of not matching answers to their questions so that they can manipulate, almost fabricate, what the interviewee seems to say. I now ignore questions and listen only to the answers in any show of that ilk. But something got me watching last night's show, and I listened carefully to what the interviewees in the hot seat actually said. It was interesting and appalling.

As one of the alternatives to Mexico, Austia would not have been on my radar as a dangerous place to go. But money rules everywhere it seems. Mexican police want to hush up murders because they're probably both incompetent and don't want to damage the tourist trade. The death of a Canadian in Austria in 1989 reveals Mexico is not alone. And the circumstances of his death have not changed, and so I was left to wonder just how many other tourists have died in a similar way on that Austrian glacier?

Read the story here, then ask yourself were the police incompetent, which boggles the mind as Europe is the home of Interpol, of terrorist cells that need expert policing to ferret out, of first world countries whose police forces are assumed to be similar to ours. Or were the police colluding with the ski operator so as not to damage a highly lucrative tourist venue, a well-known ski resort, which also boggles the mind as that level of corruption one would expect to find in Mexico not in a peaceful place like Austria.

Also, where was the Canadian government in the MacPherson's search for their former-NHL son? We have long known that the Canadian government won't protect or help its citizens when abroad unless a sustained hue and cry from the public pushes them into doing so. But the examples just keep piling up; we Canadians have a serious problem with our government. I'm fortunate as I hold dual citizenship, and if ever in trouble in a foreign land, I would not bother heading to the Canadian consulate or embassy, for I know they will dismiss me, but I can count on the British government to assist me. They did a neighbour's son many years ago, and he wasn't even born in Britain; he had citizenship through his mother. We need a public inquiry -- headed up by a learned person who has experienced this kind of shoddy treatement* -- into why our own government routinely abandons us when abroad and our worried families back home. We need this inquiry because it seems, even in the safest, most civilized countries in the world, we may die or be injured or imprisoned under suspicious circumstances and ourselves and our families left to fend for ourselves, our own personal resources dictating just how much help we can get or provide the person in trouble.

It's shameful. It's disgraceful. And it's time we shone a very large, very hot spotlight on Foreign Affairs Canada.

[*Why that kind of person and not a judge? Because judges have a habit of using mind games to justify injustice, and a wise but "ordinary" person would see things as they are and use their common sense when evaluating Foreign Affairs.]

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