Throw The Journos From The Plane

The first step was to tell Canadian media who accompanied him to find their own flight home from the G8 summit to free up seats on the Airbus;

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered his official plane to be diverted to Cyprus on Wednesday to pick up Canadians fleeing Israeli air strikes in Lebanon.

Harper was already in Europe at the end of a week-long official three-country tour and decided to divert the Canadian Forces Airbus he was flying in to take as many citizens as he could before returning to Canada.

The Canadian leader has been criticized for the speed the government has taken in arranging the evacuation and for having defended Israel’s actions in Lebanon even after a bomb Israel dropped on Sunday killed eight Canadians.

Harper rejected the idea he had ordered the diversion simply to generate good publicity.

“Criticism in this kind of situation given all the complexities is inevitable,” Harper told reporters before the plane took off.

“But one way or the other, we believe there’s a real need here, and we can make a more-than-symbolic contribution to helping with the situation.”

He expects to pick up 100 to 120 people of about 350 that his spokeswoman said were boarding a vessel in Lebanon for an overnight journey to Cyprus.

Those from that ship who could not fit on Harper’s plane would fly on another plane the Canadian government was chartering. Canada has chartered six other vessels as well.

Spokeswoman Sandra Buckler estimated Canada had 40,000 to 50,000 people in Lebanon, possibly the largest contingent of any western nation, and Harper said Canadian officials were working around the clock on evacuation plans.

While most of the Liberal-dominated Canadian media has been “going Katrina” with the critics and disgruntled evacuees – “we had to sleep on the floor.” – about all they’ve succeeded in doing so far is to raise awareness – and questions – about how the hell Canada came to have 50,000 “citizens” in Lebanon?.

One wag from the CBC went so far to explain them away as “snowbirds” – forgetting, presumably, that this is July.

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Kate McMillan
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Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. John Burgess says:

    In addition to businessmen, students, aid workers, and a bunch of tourists, there are thousands of bi-national Canadian-Lebanese.

    There’s nothing quite so safe in the Middle East as having a second, valid passport. You just never know when it might save your life.

  2. Bithead says:

    * I wonder just what percentage of Candians are bi-national…

    * Can you imagine the howl that the press and the left would have set up had Harper simply gone home, without stopping? All the usual suspects would have freshly minted labels saying ‘heartless’, ‘cruel’, “elitist’ and so on.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Just as with many if not most of the Americans, I suspect the Canadians in Lebanon are mostly Canadian citizens who are also Lebanese citizens permanently resident in Lebanon.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Or perhaps they went there for the waters.