This is a short series in response to Canada’s federal election. Harper’s government has done a lot to harm travellers, and this series will explain why a traveller should vote to get rid of Harper, among other reasons.
Today, Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has announced the intention of creating a ban on travel by Canadians to certain “terrorist controlled areas,” by implementing Criminal Code provisions thereto. He would seek to impose these bans if the Conservative Party is again elected as government.
This would be an unprecedented restriction on the mobility rights of Canadians. Frankly, it’s a disgusting idea. Who is the government to tell me that I can or can’t go to a certain place? Sure, travelling to certain places might be downright stupid, as I am risking my health and safety, however, incurring that risk is my choice. I would go so far as to say (without an ounce of research ;)) that such laws would be a violation of my mobility rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
There are legitimate travel reasons to go to these dangerous places, not limited to seeing friends, family, as a journalist, etc. Some people enjoy “danger travel.” Indeed, the first modern tourist to Mogadishu, a lawless city, was a Canadian citizen in 2010. Intrigue and tourism is a legitimate reason, and the government has no moral right to make the determination as to the intent of travel.
Not only is this idea a moral wrong, it sets a dangerous precedent. The government would be set-up to ban travel to states that don’t share similar political leanings, as the United States did to Cuba. North Korea, Iran, and a number of other “rogue” states have significant tourist industries, and I give a big middle finger to any government that would restrict my right to assume my own risks for the travel that I want to do.