...but I, a Canadian, am very annoyed at my homeland. And I'm ashamed that we are now discriminating against the citizens of a member country of our continent.
Today Canada implemented a new regulation and now requires Mexican citizens to have a visa prior to any travel to Canada. The 'reason' (excuse)?
“The visa requirement I am announcing will give us a greater ability to manage the flow of people into Canada and verify bona fides. By taking this important step towards reducing the burden on our refugee system, we will be better equipped to process genuine refugee claims faster.”
It took longer than an hour for me, an English-speaking native, to wade through all the bureaucracy on the website, download all the necessary downloads, print all the various instructions, and figure out where Miguel fits into the requirements. I'm still not sure I have it right.
Some of the requirements will be very difficult to meet, as many Mexicans do not have bank accounts, they don't pay income taxes, and they don't own property or cars. I can only imagine that this will drastically reduce the number of Mexican tourists visiting Canada, because along with the visa process, there is a non-refundable $150 fee attached ("to recover our costs").
For the last 3 years Miguel has travelled to Canada once a year. He has a passport, we bought the airline ticket, and that was that. Simple.
Now he has to provide every single detail of his personal life to some paper-stamper in Mexico City, pay $150, and wait for approval or rejection. Yes, he has a business and pays Hacienda, but that is only recent - Canada wants to see 3 years of records. They simply don't exist.
NAFTA is obviously not doing anything like the European Union, which supports the freedom of movement of people. Nope, North American countries are making it harder and harder to visit and just be a normal tourist. All in the name of "verifying bona fides".
Sorry, I don't buy it.