There’s officially a petition in the Canadian parliament demanding that direct Canada-Beirut flights be restored after the ban. The petition is calling upon the Canadian Minister of Transport to restore the license and remove the ban stopping direct flights from Canada to Beirut.
Petition For Canada-Beirut Flights
It was initiated by Christian Ziadeh from Montreal, Canada and sponsored by Canadian Federal deputy Eva Nassif – yes, who’s also Lebanese. The Government of Canada set the ban in place a long time ago due to “security issues”. The government initially granted the license to Air Canada to operate direct flights but almost immediately withdrew it in 2003. The petition argues that there are direct flights between Beirut and many European countries, which makes the argument that there’s “security threats” invalid. They also argue that there are “extreme economic benefits” for both countries as well as for the Lebanese diaspora living in Canada should the ban be removed.
Lebanese in Canada
There is an estimated 660,000 Lebanese living in Canada – which makes up 2% of the entire Canadian population. The Lebanese population in Canada is concentrated primarily in Ontario and Quebec. The last time the census was taken, which was in 2001, 41% of the Lebanese population in Canada lived in Ontario, while another 34% resided in Quebec. The greater Montreal area has an estimated 250,000 Lebanese – making it the city with the largest Lebanese population in Canada. The Greater Montreal Area alone has about 7 Lebanese churches. There were somewhat smaller Lebanese communities in Alberta (12%), Nova Scotia (5%), British Columbia (4%) and New Brunswick (2%).
Kevin O’Leary, a candidate for the conservative party of Canada as well as the next potential Prime Minister of Canada has a Lebanese background. He was born in Montreal to a Lebanese mother.
How does the petition work?
You must be a Canadian citizen or resident in order to sign the petition. The petition needs to be sponsored by a member of the parliament. After getting at least 500 signatures within 120 days of launching the petition, it is presented in the House of Commons where the government will be required to make a response. The current petition already has almost 1000 signatures. But the more we can get, the better case we can make!