Justin Trudeau’s Government Rejects Request For Direct Flights Between Lebanon and Canada

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.

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A List Of Major World Leaders That Passed While Lebanon Has Nabih Berri

nabih-berri

With the United States getting Trump *shivers* as their new president, and regardless of what one would think of the new administration (if you need help, it sucks), transition of power and changing politicians is a sign of a healthy democracy (at least until the new face of democracy cancels it out).

So to celebrate our version of democracy, I felt like putting the stagnation of the Lebanese political system in perspective with how the World Leaders have changed while Nabih Berri remained where he is.

USA:

5 presidents: George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump.

France:

4 presidents: François Mitterand, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, Francois Hollande.

UK:

5 PMs: John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May.

Germany:

3 Chancellors: Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Shröder, Angela Merkel.

Italy:

11 PMs: Giulio Andreotti, Giuliano Amato (2 non-consecutive terms), Carlo Ciampi, Silvio Berlusconi (3 non-consecutive terms, Lamberto Dini, Romano Prodi (2 non-consecutive terms), Massivo D’Alema, Mario Monti, Enrico Letta, Matteo Renzi, Paolo Gentiloni.

Canada:

6 PMs: Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau.

Australia:

6 PMs: Paul Keating, John Howard, Kevin Rudd (2 non-consecutive terms), Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Malcom Turbull.

Russia:

3 presidents: Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin (2 non-consecutive terms so far), Dmitry Medvedev.

And for fun – Lebanon:

4 presidents: Elias Hrawi, Emile Lahoud, Michel Sleiman, Michel Aoun.

8 PMs: Omar Karami (2 non-consecutive terms), Rafic Hariri (2 non-consecutive terms), Selim Hoss, Rachid Solh, Najib Miqati (2 non consecutive terms), Fouad Sanioura, Saad Hariri (2 non-consecutive terms), Tammam Salam.

I’m just saying.

Which iPhone 5 to Buy in Lebanon?

I told you about this before (here and here) but minister Sehnaoui confirmed it on twitter yesterday.

Nicolas Sehnaoui iPhone 5 tweets

For the many Lebanese who will benefit from the price reductions (the phone is going for $800 max these days for the 16GB capacity) to buy the iPhone 5 either for themselves or for their loved ones this Christmas, there’s one important thing you need to ask the shop from which you’re buying the phone: which country did you get it from?

If they got their iPhone 5 from the United States or Canada, model being A1428, the LTE that will launch later in 2013 won’t work on it as the chips are incompatible.

If the country of origin is anything in Europe or Australia, then it will work. The model should be A1429.

If you can’t but buy it from the United States, here’s a way you can do it: send the person buying it for you to an Apple Store and get them to buy a no-contract Verizon iPhone 5. It will have the sim card slot fully unlocked and its LTE capabilities are compatible with the frequency that’ll be launched in Lebanon soon.

For those of you who have already bought their iPhone 5 without asking about the country of origin, tough luck. Odds are you won’t be able to benefit from LTE once it’s rolled out.

Argo – Movie Review

Argo, based on a real story, is set in 1979 Iran, after the Islamic revolution at the heart of the American hostage crisis of the Carter era. 6 Americans were able to escape the confines of the embassy as it was overtaken, seeking shelter with the Canadian ambassador who harbors them as they wait inside the four walls of his house for salvation and for a rescue that never seems to come.

69 days after the American embassy in Iran events, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), a CIA agent, is called in to a secret meeting to discuss possible rescue scenarios for those 6 Americans who are at the most immediate danger with them being as exposed as they are. Mendez comes up with the ingenious idea of orchestrating a fake movie, with the help of John Chambers (John Goodman), a Hollywood make-up artist, who brings a producer to the team in order to get the plan going. And Argo is set in motion.

One of the most intense thrillers you will watch, Argo keeps you glued to your seat for the entirety of its two hour run. The intermingling of historical footage with the movie’s lead-in scenes immediately draw you in. The movie has a dark tone throughout, one that doesn’t let down – even with the many comic moments that are there to lighten the mood in stark contrast to the overall grim setting of the time during which the events take place.

Ben Affleck delivers his best movie yet as a director and with a list of movies that have all been well-done, his talent as a filmmaker is beginning to surpass that of him as an actor even though he also delivers a decent performance here. The comic relief I mentioned earlier is provided by good old John Goodman and Alan Arkin as a couple of movie-makers who are quirky and fun. The trio, Affleck included, also deliver subtle criticism at a movie industry which chases blockbuster flicks and leaves those which advance the art of filmmaking behind.

Argo brings life to a Tehran ravaged by the revolution of the 1970s. It showcases the morbid atmosphere, the oppression and the desperation present everywhere in Iran at the time. It gets your feelings regarding the country, whether positive or negative, to the surface. It doesn’t shy away from historical accuracy, even if it involves showcasing American shortcomings. It doesn’t shy away from showing all the help that America’s neighbors to the North provided, proving insurmountable to the rescue efforts. And as one of its final scenes, involving an airport, sets in, you are so taken in you can barely breathe. You feel for the characters on screen. You may already know the resolution but you can’t not be afraid for them. And if you’re not, then the only thing I have to say to you is: Argo!@#$ yourself.

9/10 

Many Lebanese Will Be Stripped From Canadian Nationality

Have you ever heard the story of those smart ass Lebanese who “immigrate” to Canada and then return to Lebanon without having their passports stamped on their way out to make it seem as if they’re still there?

Well, those Lebanese are taking their smart asses all the way to courts as the Canadian federal government is stripping many of them of the Canadian nationality which they obtained fraudulently.

Do they deserve it? Hell yes. Not only is what they did giving a bad reputation to all the Lebanese who work hard to get the Canadian citizenship but it’s also illegal and it’s high time someone taught those Lebanese who think they can take their illegal ways abroad a thing or two about rules.

No, I’m not a bitter person who’s upset that my passport is next to rubbish but I’m a Lebanese who believes that if I were to get somewhere, I’d want to earn it and not cheat my way to it.

Many of those involved in the scam are from the Middle East, particularly Lebanon. While they do not wish to actually move to Canada, they want an escape hatch in the event their home countries become unstable, according to internal documents.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that a percentage of applicants from the Middle East obtain permanent resident status, then Canadian citizenship, with the goal of acquiring a second passport as insurance in case of instability in their country of first residence,” reads a federal study.

Such an honorable thing. (Source).

 

Haifa Wehbe’s New Album MJK is #1 on US iTunes

I may not like her but I think this is impressive. Haifa Wehbe is the first Lebanese artist to hold a #1 position of any sort on US iTunes. Granted, it is the #1 World Album which means it’s not exactly selling in the buckloads like the #1 All-Genre album (incidentally, that’s Blown Away by Carrie Underwood, whom I really, really like. Obviously.)

I actually had no idea she had new music out. But her international fans are buying. Good for her, I guess. Nice exposure. On the all-genre chart, however, her album doesn’t come in the top 200, which is expected.

Other places where MJK (what does that mean?) is charting are:

One Month Phoneless

On March 12th, my iPhone’s power button decided to sink in and become unusable. After asking around, it seemed that any attempt to fix it in Lebanon would render the warranty void, so my friend Ali agreed to do me a favor and I sent him the phone on March 14th to Canada so Apple could check it out.

Ali postponed his flight to Lebanon due to unforeseen complications and Apple eventually replaced my phone with a new one. How awesome is that?

But I’ve been without phone for a month.

Many people asked why I didn’t just use any other phone. Apart from the unavailability of any other phone (I’m not going to buy a phone just to use it for a few weeks), I also have to get my simcard replaced since my iPhone uses a microsim, which I decided not to do.

Instead, I convinced myself that I’d be sort of giving up my iPhone for lent.

So what did I learn from a month of being phoneless?

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