Sunday Aug. 18, 2019

Aug. 8, 2019

25 juillet 2019

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ORLÉANS OUTDOOR MARKET from 12 noon to 6 p.m. in the Ray Frield Centre parking lot on Tenth Line Road. Come meet local vendors and artians from across the east end.

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK – A Company of Fools presents a Torchlight Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet in Longleaf Park at 7 p.m. Pay what you can.

CUMBERLAND FARMERS MARKET from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the R. J. Kennedy Community Centre 1115 Dunning Road in Cumberlans Village. The Cumberland Farmers’ Market features a variety of localy produced vegetables, seasonal fruits and specialty foods.

THE NAVAN FAIR will take place from Thursday, Aug. 10 to Sunday, Aug. 13. Highlights the Demolition Derby. livestock shows, and Canadian rockers Honeymoon Suite who will be performing on Aug. 11. Visit


VIEWPOINT: Decision to cut embassy staff in Cuba es ridiculo
By Fred Sherwin
June 28
, 2019

The Liberal government’s recent decision to reduce our embassy in Havana, Cuba to a skeleton staff and severely cut services previously provided to Cuban residents wishing to visit Canada is short-sighted, mean-spirited and wrong.

The Trudeau government has said the decision was made to protect the health of Canadian diplomats, some of whom reported suffering concussion-like symptoms caused by an unidentified source.

A total of 14 Canadian diplomats, including family members, have complained of the same symptoms of headaches, nausea and dizzyness over the past two years, 12 of whom were recalled in 2017. The most recent case – and the case the Trudeau government’s decision was based on – occurred last November.

The initial announcement that Canada would be reducing embassy staff was made on January 19, but it wasn’t carried out until May 9. If the issue was so serious, why the delay? And why allow any staff to remain at all if their health was so gravely at risk?

The thought that the Cuban government would target embassy staff is ridiculous. Canada is, and always has been, one of the most important countries to the Cuban economy – if not the most important country – dating back to the post-revolution days when Diefenbacker refused to follow America’s lead to ostracize Cuba and the newly formed Comuunist government led by Fidel Castro.

Relations between Canada and Cuba grew even stronger after Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s three-day visit to the country in 1976 which planted the seeds of a close personal friendship. In fact, Castro was a honourary pallbearer at Trudeau’s funeral in 2000.

To quantify the importance of Canada to the Cuban economy one needs to look no further than the number of tourists who visit the country every year. In 2017, more 1.1 million Canadians visited Cuba. The next two largest contingents came from the U.S.A. (618,000) and then Germany (243,000).

In fact, Canadians make up one-quarter of all visitors to Cuba. We fill their resorts, support the growing number of Airbnbs in the country known as casa particulars and eat in their paladares. In other words, we pump hundreds of millions of dollars into their economy supporting everyone from taxi drivers to chamber maids.

If you simply take into account the $25 exit fee that is included in every airline ticket to Cuba, that’s $25.3 million. So why on earth would the Cuban government risk all that by using untrasonic surveillance equipment that might endanger the health of Canadian diplomats and their dependents? The answer is they wouldn’t. And if some of our people are complaining of these symptoms than simply replace them.

Since the initial outbreak in 2017 only two people have complained of concussion-like symptoms. That’s two out of more than 16 staff members and their families. The impact of the staff reduction on Cubans wishing to visit Canada has been devastating. In a word, they can’t.

I will give you a personal example. I was planning to bring a Cuban friend of mine to Ottawa in August. When I inquired about how he could obtain a visa since the embassy is no longer processing visa applications I was told that he would have to visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) in person. Naturally, I asked where the nearest VAC was. The person answered without realizing the idiocy of the words that followed – Mexico City. I then asked the individual on the other end of the line if they had a map of the Caribbean and Central America and tried to provide them with a short geography lesson.

First, Mexico is not a city in Cuba and second it is both physically and finan-cially possible for a Cuban to hop on over to Mexico City for the sole purpose of applying for a visa and then hoping back over several weeks later to pick it up, assuming it’s been approved.

The decision means that students who were either hoping to study in Canada or were already enrolled in a program won’t get to continue their studies and Cuban nationals won’t get to visit their loved ones visiting Canada.

I have a different theory on why Canada has decided to reduce it’s staff and services in Cuba and it has everything to do with Trudeau wanting to appease Donald Trump to avoid tariffs and over trade issues. In street parlance it’s called kissing ass and the old man is no doubt rolling in his grave over his son’s gutless decision.

For the sake of ordinary Cubans and future Cuba-Canada relations let’s hope it’s only temporary.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at




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