Remember that Trudeau fellow whose PR-smart maneuvers have made him one of the world’s, if not the world’s most loved politician? From his quirky socks, to his cheeky videos that celebrate everyone, it seems that this politician’s new views are as restricted as his predecessors, at least when it comes to the hope of finally advancing the aviation sector to allow direct flights between Beirut and Montreal.
In a petition started in 2016, by one of Trudeau’s own MPs, Lebanese-Canadian Eva Nassif, the request for direct flights to be started between Beirut and Montreal was made. The petition garnered 4000 signatures and made its way along Canada’s formal political tracts, up until it seemed that there would tangibly be – at least within the next two years – Air Canada flights that work non-stop between those two destinations.
A source in MEA had indicated that for the first two years after the approval of that flight, Air Canada would have had exclusive rights with MEA selling tickets on its airlines, followed by our national carrier being allowed to fly the route later on – 2019 was a presumptive date.
All of this, however, will now not take place as Justin Trudeau’s government has rejected Air Canada’s request for a direct flight, as mentioned in a tweet by Air Canada executive Duncan Bureau:
The refusal was once again cited to be related to security reasons. This is not the first time this happens with a Canadian government. In 2003, Air Canada had begun selling tickets for its inaugural flight between Beirut and Montreal when, at the last moment, the Canadian government pulled the plug on such a flight, citing yet again, security reasons with a senior government official saying it was to safeguard Canada against terrorism.
Direct flights between Beirut and North America have been banned since the 1985 after the TWA plane hijacking in the airport. Of course, 1985 was prime civil war time in Lebanon and it’s been more than 30 years since, but the only amendment to the ban for American airlines to land in BEY and for MEA to fly to the US has been through U.S. president George W. Bush who allowed American governmental planes from landing in Beirut if they need be.
Canada’s fear towards allowing a direct flight from Beirut to its airports are unfounded. Lebanon has not witnesses the airplane terror attacks that, say, Egypt has witnessed only recently and Cairo’s passengers can still fly directly to Montreal. Air Canada also has direct flights to risky areas around the world, such as Tel Aviv, Istanbul, among others.
However, according to the Huffington Post, it seems Canada’s decision is less about its own security woes, and more about not pissing off its southern neighbor, the United States, which maintains – and would probably not alter it anytime soon – the ban against flights entering its airspace, coming straight from Beirut. You’d think that a PM as anti-Trump as Trudeau would at least oppose Trump in more than just empty speeches, with actual action that would serve about half a million Lebanese-Canadian who could use such flights, but no dice.
The story of Lebanese woes with Canadian airports doesn’t stop with direct flights. It transcends it to the fact that we need transit visas to do layovers in their airports, something that many don’t realize until they’ve booked a flight to or from the U.S. by way of YUL, only to be denied boarding in their airport of origin.
Perhaps it’s time that the Lebanese-Canadian lobby pushes for much needed reform to the way their governments are dealing with Lebanon and its people in regards to this particular issue. After all, such flights and ease on transit restrictions are in the economical interest in both countries, and would go a long way in showcasing a Canada that puts its money where its mouth is, instead of empty speeches and cute socks.
Lol at people who buy Trudeau’s “I love everyone, everyone is welcome” PR stunt. Not saying he’s a bad guy, but he’s not as nice/good as he makes himself appear. W eno akid there wasn’t gonna be a direct flight 😂
These are excellent points about direct flights allowed from other dangerous places.
On another note: I hope Americans have been treating you well so far. I hope you’re in a place without extreme humid summer heat. And to circle back: I hope the plane experience was not too gruesome for you.
I think it is naive to think that the sole criteria here is “risky areas”. When you have an airport practically controlled by a terrorist organization and a government virtually absent from its own national airport and all other ports of entry, we have the audacity to whine that Canada is not allowing direct flights from Beirut? Seriously?
Did you forget how Gebran Tueni got assassinated? It was precisely due to said organization having infiltrated our airport to unimaginable depths.
I think until we have a government that has the balls to call a spade a spade and reject the “equation”, good on Canada and whoever else takes such measures for treating this doomed place exactly how it needs to be treated. If we did a fraction of what Canada is doing here, we would probably have a semblance of a country today, you wouldn’t be writing this post from another continent, and you would have been with your beloved grandpa the day he passed instead of being forced to emigrate from this shitty place. Lebanon doesn’t deserve any of your defense—it deserves exactly how it gets treated.
I take your well made points about the airport but I think it was very wrong of you to have referred to Elie & his grandfather in the manner you did. Honestly — who speaks this way to someone who is in mourning?!
I think you owe Elie an apology.
Jesus Zoe – I am precisely making a painful, mourning point here: It is due to our shitty country which all of us expats mourn 24/7 that Elie was FORCED to emigrate and be separated from his loved ones and NOT be present for his grandpa’s passing.
I have experienced the exact same situation, verbatim. A few years ago I visited my grandma in Beirut for what turned out to be the very last time I see her and flew to the US. Two days later she passed. To this day Zoe I do NOT have closure. I kid you not, each time I speak with my mother on the phone, every single week, I catch myself about to say “how is grandma”.
My point was not an attack on Elie whatsoever. I frankly don’t understand how anybody could read it that way. The point was an exasperated scream at this fucked up place called Lebanon that kicked us all out against our wills, and robbed me and Elie being with our moms & dads when our grandparents passed, and therefore doesn’t deserve Elie’s defense. On the contrary, a banana republic run by a terror organization deserves Trudeau’s measures and more.
I think you owe me a more careful read of my post Zoe.
I understood that to begin with (your having written about the state of the country forcing people to leave elderly loved ones behind & not be with them at their passing). It is salt in Elie’s very recent wound to say this now in such a manner in such a forum.
I am very sorry for your loss & pain JSBach. Memory eternal.
Fair enough and good point Zoe.
Apologies, Elie, if my comments hurt. That was certainly not my intention.
I’m sorry for sounding harsh earlier. I could have written that better. Next I will have to start shaking a cane at passing schoolchildren. (Inshaallah some years till that…).
I really believe our grandparents are with us. See the comment thread in Elie’s post about his Grandpapa & my comment there about the dream from my grandmother. She came to me in a dream about my health. I wrote it down as I do every dream of her… along w/ the date. Later on that saved my life. As I had the dream written down it was proof that the dream had come far before.
She was an herbwoman & in our tradition we believe our ancestors who pass on come to us in dreams to warn of ill health & prescribe certain food & drink. (Which she did in the dream mentioned above).
How else to explain this JSB? What she told me in the dream was very specific & then it was true. Exactly as she described.
They are not gone. One Love ❤