Thursday, April 20, 2006

McGuinty’s head still sharper than his brain

An amusing sideshow to the tussle over the new border crossing regulations is Premier Pinocchio’s attempt to pick another sissy fight with Stephen Harper.

McGuinty and his tourism minister Jim Bradley are urging the federal government to reconsider creating an ID card that Americans would find acceptable, instead of a passport.

“I think we should be looking at other alternatives before we go to the passport option because it is a great expense for a family,” McGuinty said.

Like a Liberal who can’t see past the next election, McGuinty can’t see the costs of a new identification card to everyone, not just border crossers.

Creating an ID card with biometric features would require new legislation, new bureaucracy, new civil servants, new software, etc. And there’s no guarantee the cost per card would be less than a passport. They might end up costing more.

McGuinty’s thinking is the kind of Liberal brainstorm that created the $2-billion gun registry, when everyone who owned a long gun was already required to have a Firearms Acquisition Certificate, and handguns and automatic weapons were already individually registered (except the ones owned by criminals, of course).

We’ve seen Ontario Liberals introduce a new form of identification before. In the late 1980s, the Peterson regime introduced the Ontario Health Card – in white and Liberal red, natch.

To an Ontario population then numbering 8 million, the Liberals distributed 24 million of these puppies -- including to an actual puppy. Yes, at least one dog applied for and received an Ontario Health Card. (“How was your colonoscopy, Spot?” “Ruff!”)

The Harper government could do something to make passports more affordable, such as reducing the fee, lengthening the term or introducing a “family” rate for family members applying simultaneously. But creating a new bureaucracy where one already exists? Literally priceless.

7 comments:

Steve said...

My main objection to having to use a passport is that it is not exactly portable. You either need a separate, large pocket or a purse. That's why it's always a pain when you travel overseas. But your point is well taken.

Maybe the federal government should issue a separate plastic identity card, along with your passport, that fits nicely in your wallet. The card could be used for travelling stateside, with the actual passport reserved for travelling to other countries.

Mike said...

The Feds should do no such thing.

What kind of cloths are you wearing that you can't find a pocket for a passport?

The ideas about reducing the fee and increasing the lifetime of the existing passport are great. There are a lot of things that the Feds can do to make the existing passport more functional and convenient. Sadly, none of them will be done. It is likely easier to set up an entirely new bureaucracy and hire another 1000 useless civil servants than to change the existing rules and regulations regarding the issuance and use of our current passports.

None the less, we have a perfectly good (if a little pricey) national identity paper that is suitable for international travel and we have an entire bureaucracy already in place to make sure it takes an exceedingly long time to issue them.

There is no need to introduce yet another way for the government to take and waste our money.

Blogette said...

See..this is huge news back home (Windsor) as a lot of people work in Detroit, but live in Windsor and they would all have to get passports to cross over every day and cry and bitch that it would cost a lot.

Screw them! Nurses who work in Detroit START by making a good $20,000 more a year than their Canadian counterparts. They can certainly afford to shell out $60 or whatever to keep their jobs.

~B

Josef said...

I think a Passport makes sense. Next time I go to Canada, I'll get one.

Better to use save special procedures (read ID cards) for freight.

Ian in NS said...

"Not exactly portable", steve? A passport is, what, 4x6, weighs next to nothing and will fit in virtually any side pocket or pouch you've got on any piece of luggage you own. Women can carry it in their purses.

"Not exactly portable." Ridiculous. My laptop computer is portable and it's way more of a pain in the neck to haul around with me on a trip than my passport.

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