By Joanne Bladd
Canadian visitors to UAE will have to apply for visas in advance, decision follows row over landing rights and military base
The UAE will require Canadian visitors to apply for visas from January 2, 2011, the UAE Embassy in Ottowa has said in a statement on its website.
The decision, which reverses the current agreement that allows Canadians to enter the Gulf state without a visa, follows a recent political row between the two countries sparked by Canada’s refusal to grant UAE national carriers additional landing rights.
Canada last month said it would not offer flagship carriers Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways additional landing slots, despite years of requests from the UAE.
Dubai retaliated by ordering the evacuation of Canada’s Camp Mirage, based near the emirate, which had played a key role in supporting missions in Afghanistan.
The stand-off took a personal turn after a flight carrying Canada’s Defense Minister Peter MacKay was denied permission to use UAE airspace, forcing it to take a long detour.
An estimated 27,000 Canadians are currently resident in the UAE. The Gulf state is Canada’s largest trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.
In an interview last month, Canada’s opposition trade minister warned the row over landing rights would hit Canadian businesses operating in the Gulf, and risk a bilateral trade relationship worth $2bn a year.
“Canadian businesses and farmers could end up paying the price for this government’s incompetent handling of this situation.” MP Martha Hall Findlay told Arabian Business.
“Rather than avoid the issue, and ignore the UAE and its concerns, we want the Canadian government to constructively try to find a solution,” she said.
This is an excellent move -- but it would hurt ordinary Canadians more than the Canadian government, which is the real cause behind all this mess.
As a Canadian, I think the best way for the UAE to retaliate is by banning any and all Canadian goods from being sold in the UAE. Hitting the Canadian businesses is the only way to affect the government. Hit the government, don't hit the people!
This is hilarious !! So, after the comments about Emirates by the head of AirFrance-KLM, maybe all French / Dutch or even all Schengen nationals will need visas for the UAE too. Ah, but that may impact on the UAE's tourism revenue, so maybe not ;-)
As a Canadian business man, who has spent all his life trying to improve the Canadian image, I really cannot find any reason why we can't give these two major airlines companies the right to have more more landing permissions.
brilliant, hit them where it hurts most...
The Harper government has definitely made a total mess of this but this latest act by the UAE will simply curtail trade and tourism from Canada to the UAE at a time when it can ill afford it.
An eye for an eye! Well done U.A.E.. This should be taken as an example for other nations to respect the bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Johnston, You are hilarious. The issue was a lack of respect shown by the Canadian Government to the UAE Government and their ambassador in Ottawa. This row has escalated over a number of years. I for one, say well done.
UAE can afford it.. I think Canada stands to lose a lot more than what UAE, and they deserve it for their arrogance..
Well Said Peter...UAE is trying to bully Canada :-) ...very funny indeed.
Tit for tat