In the medical profession there’s a saying used, comparing horses and zebras, when a physician comes up with the misdiagnosis of an ailment.
Something about looking for zebras instead of horses, or horses instead of zebras…
Regardless of the situation, a simpler answer is usually at-hand; I think that’s the moral of the phrase, anyways.
Recently, without much fanfare, Passport Canada made a simple move to ease a problem that has been talked about by government officials for the better part of three years.
Since US Congress passed laws empowering the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) back in 2004, there’s been growing concern at the Canada/US border regarding security and ease of travel. Government officials from both sides of the border have spent an inordinate amount of time, trying to find a suitable solution to balance both security and expedited travel.
Business and tourism associations have been vocal in their opposition to enhanced documentation requirements at border crossings, claiming that people will be scared away from crossing the border due to the new inconvenience.
Regardless, the WHTI initiatives have pressed forward and near the beginning of the year any person entering the US by air was required to have a valid passport. The passport requirement is expected to be extended to land and sea crossings in the summer of 2008, but some groups have been working diligently to find an alternative to the passport.
Apparently, obtaining a passport is one of the most difficult things a human being will ever have to do during their lifetime.
As a result, the effort of a great number of people has been put to use finding a suitable alternative. There’s been talk of an official identification card, enhanced drivers licenses, biometric capabilities, and it’s possible we were one or two meetings away from having every person in North America implanted with a computer chip, just for good measure.
Thankfully though, Passport Canada came to the rescue. The government agency simplified its renewal process, hopefully easing the burden of passport application and making passports more attainable for the average person.
Although biometrics and enhanced drivers licenses may still work their way into the WHTI initiative, it’s good to know that in the mean time getting a passport will not be so much of a waiting game.
On the other hand, my dreams of finally seeing a zebra may have been dashed.
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