Lifestyle & Belief

Canadians abroad ply their embassies with weird questions


Just because you have a Canadian passport doesn't mean you can request help from consular officials in removing an annoying mother-in-law, or with getting tickets to live tapings of TV shows.


Salah Malkawi

Canadians living abroad, here's what your government can — and more amusingly, can't — do for you.

An evidently annoyed Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs has released a list of the bizarre requests received by its embassies from Canadians living and traveling outside the country.

Need to get your mother-in-law out of the house? No, the embassy can't help with this, despite what one Canadian woman living in Cairo, Egypt, thought, when she asked consular officials to evict her mother-in-law.

Visiting New York or Chicago and trying to get tickets to live tapings of TV shows? Don't ask the Canadian consulate, like one hoser did when she needed help landing tickets to The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Same goes for theater in London, with one Canadian desperately wanting to see a play that was ending that night and demanding help in lining up cheap tickets.

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Among the other weird requests: embassy staff in Beijing, China received a call from a Canadian man asking if they could come pick up his dog at Beijing airport when it wasn't allowed on a flight due to improper paperwork.

"He wanted consular officers to pick up the dog and take care of it until he could get things sorted out — and he did not want to miss his flight and lose the ticket," the government said.

The award for boldest request goes to the family of a man who had been arrested in Germany for trafficking drugs. His loved ones asked Canada to fly a helicopter into the prison yard and rescue him, action-movie style.

"They were very surprised to learn this wasn't a service provided," the government said.

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But Canadians, take heart. It's not just Canucks calling your embassies with stupid questions.

"A US citizen called wanting to know how she could get a Canadian passport," the government said. "When told she could not get one, because she was not a Canadian citizen, she said that she thought an American going to Canada needed a Canadian passport."

In case you missed it, here's the official list of what Canadian embassies can and can't do for you:

Consular Officials CAN:

Provide advice and information for medical services.
Contact relatives or friends when you need serious help.
Provide sources of information for local laws and customs.
Replace lost or stolen passports.

Consular Officials CANNOT:

Ask your mother-in-law to leave your house.
Purchase tickets for a musical or entertainment event.
Settle disputes between you and your partner.
Pick up your dog at the airport.

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