Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mirage Politics Fascinating

Don Martin describes a fascinating background to the announced closure of the Camp Mirage military base. The way he describes it, this is a trade dispute that has spiralled out of control. Hopefully there's a way to turn rescue the situation before the base is closed:

In a remarkable tit-for-tat exchange, Canada’s refusal to allow more UAE-based airline flights into Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary turned into the UAE’s petulant blockade and military eviction. Some say the UAE went so far as to lobby its Arab neighbours to vote against Canada’s security council seat.

There are no angels in the air over this dispute.

Transport Canada has been needlessly protectionist in refusing sister carriers Emirates and Etihad Airlines more than their thrice-weekly landing rights in Toronto; this from a Conservative government that has campaigned worldwide to eliminate barriers to trade and commerce.

But the UAE is not playing fair in evicting Canada from Camp Mirage on 30 days notice, and then denying Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his top general permission to land there over the weekend. . .

To sacrifice so much trade in one of the world’s fastest growing economies and a military partnership with the most Western-friendly Gulf state to help a domestic airline seems an expensive airfare subsidy.

Provided Air Canada is granted equal air access to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Transport Canada should open up our skies and let consumers make the choice of which seats to fill. That is supposedly the Conservative mantra.


The_Iceman said...

It sounds like they resorted to extortion to get a better deal out of Canada. I say quid pro quo, ban their flights altogether and leave the base. As a nation we should not respond favourably to extortion. The UAE doing what they did should not lead to a better deal. If you want to play these kinds of games, there should be a penalty. I don't care how much oil money that have; it is a finite resource and when they run out, Dubai will sink into obscurity.

Anonymous said...

Iceman .. You are absolutely correct. Extortion,lying, cheating, deceit and thieving are a way of life for the arab clowns. They would sell you their mother if they thought it would benefit them or their cause.

Rob C

Patrick O'Neil said...


I gotta say I like your take on things. The UAE is what it is because of international trade. There are plenty of other rich countries in the Middle East, like Kuwait, that would be only too happy to take there place. Why not play hardball?

It's not as if they can stop buying wheat. They can't grow it.