We've also CC'd the Prime Minister, John Key, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Chris Tremain and the CEO of Internal Affairs Colin MacDonald on this letter.
Hopefully the Government will take notice of how our fellow Commonwealth nation Canada democratically consulted their public about this matter of national importance.
Chief Executive Officer
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Gatineau QC K1A 0G3
1 July 2013
Dear Christine Desloges.
I am writing to congratulate Passport Canada on the recent introduction of 10-year biometric passports as a result of extensive consultation with the Canadian public.
Page 4 in What Passport Canada Heard from Canadians Public Consultations Findings Report, October 25, 2010 states:
· Finding 1: The introduction of the 5- and 10-year ePassport is strongly supported. This stems from the popularity of the 10-year validity option, as well as the importance assigned to the need to follow international practices and stay at the fore of passport security.
We congratulate your department on the transparent manner in which you consulted the Canadian public on this very important matter. I am a New Zealand passport holder, and in 2005, the New Zealand Government secretly passed amendments to their Passport Act 1992, which among other things reduced the validity of all New Zealand travel documents from 10 years to five years, and doubled the application fee. At the time, the New Zealand Government cited that this was necessary due to security concerns and passport integrity.
Since that time, however, New Zealand along with all other nations, including Canada, that are part of the US Visa Waver programme, has introduced biometric passports – which as you are aware, are considered by the International Civil Aviation Organization to be the most secure travel document available. Further, we note that most OECD nations have 10-year passports, and that today Canada joined a growing group of OECD nations in issuing 10-year passports to its citizens.
By introducing 10-year passports, Canada will join four other nations, of the Five Nations Passport Group, consisting of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, who issue citizens with 10-year passports. New Zealand is the last remaining country in this group, to deny its citizens the option of a 10-year passport.
The New Zealand Government prefers to exclude New Zealand citizens by keeping discussions about passport validity firmly behind closed doors. As a fellow member of the Five Nations Passport Group we hope that the New Zealand Government will take notice of Passport Canada’s fine example of public consultation, and consult with the New Zealand public on this matter of national importance.
On behalf of our ten thousand supporters we offer our congratulations to you and your department on giving Canadian citizens the option of 10-year Passports.
CC: Rt Hon John Key
Hon Chris Tremain