Friday, January 25, 2008

How safe is Canada?

If you've been watching the Canadian news at all today, you might get the impression that Australia has issued a new warning against travel to Canada. Check out today's headlines:

"Australia issues travel warning against Canada" (CTV News)
"Australia issues travel warning against Canada; says not as safe as SKorea" (The Canadian Press)
"Australia Posts Travel Warning About Canada on Website" (CityNews)
"Be careful in Canada, Australians warned" (Globe and Mail)

So what's all the fuss about? I'm not sure, to be perfectly honest. The "warning" is not new. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia (MFAT) has had a travel advisory (it's name for country specific travel advice) for Canada posted on its Smartraveller website for quite a while now.

Did anything change today? No. The advice was last updated and reissued on December 5, 2007 -- it says so right at the bottom of the page. The only notable change made at that time was the addition of the note about bush fires. The terrorism warning (now standard in most government travel advice) has been in place since the August 3 update. (If anyone is curious, take a look at what changed over the last two years.)

I won't attempt to comment on the content of the travel advisory (a subject for another post, perhaps), but one has to wonder why the Canadian media has suddenly realized this advisory is out there and is choosing to comment on it now?

We can critique the content of articles and of the advice itself, but the good news is the articles have people talking, and hopefully reading the government advice.

No comments: