Back in February, we shared a petition that was launched to encourage the Canadian Government to restore direct flights between Canada and Lebanon. The petition managed to collect over 4,000 signatures. It was just announced that this petition was presented in the House of Commons on May 15, 2017. Since it got more than 500 signatures within 120 days, it means that the government of Canada must give a response to this specific petition.
The petition was initiated by Christian Ziadeh from Montreal, Canada and sponsored by Canadian Federal deputy Eva Nassif – 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 are an estimated 660,000 Lebanese living in Canada – which comprise 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.