Canadians got their first glimpse at the country’s new passport on Wednesday. The updated documents will be rolled out this summer, introducing enhanced state-of-the-art security features and a brand-new look.
Not everyone is happy about the passport changes, however, and several organizations, officials, and ordinary people have taken to social media to voice their displeasure at designs they argue downplay important aspects of Canadian history.
1/ Today, we’re excited to unveil the new design of the Canadian passport! pic.twitter.com/O0LLrBofcg
— Passport Canada (@PassportCan) May 10, 2023
Even before the new designs dropped Wednesday morning, there was apparent opposition to the passport redesign, particularly on the conservative end of Canada’s political spectrum.
Amid rumours that the passport would be released with a red cover similar to the country’s flag and the current Liberal Party government, the National Post published an op-ed calling changes that nobody had even seen yet the “latest attempt to reshape Canada’s symbols.”
Now that the new design has gone public, its lack of redness has not been enough to dissuade criticism from the right. Social media has been a blaze of politically charged comments criticizing the new passports for their omission of Canadian symbolism, and many others defending the designs and ridiculing the outrage.
Federal opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, in his typically acerbic style, slammed the new passport at the House of Commons yesterday, saying, “They erased Vimy Ridge to put in an image of a squirrel eating a nut. They erased Terry Fox, a guy who ran halfway across the country to fight cancer to put in a man raking leaves.”
Conservatives: The Prime Minister was a DRAMA teacher! Can you imagine?!
Liberal Govt: Here’s the new passport.
— Jenny Lee Shee (@jennyleeshee) May 10, 2023
Dan McTeague, who used to be a Liberal MP and is now the guy who reads out gas prices on the news, was among the deluge of comments dumping on the new passport.
Truly sad – a country that forgets its history …
Trudeau is wrecking Canada one woke step at a time https://t.co/X41yPESrej
— Dan McTeague (@GasPriceWizard) May 10, 2023
Organizations like the Royal Canadian Legion take issue with the removal of the Vimy Memorial from the passport’s visa pages, releasing a statement calling the memorial “a fundamental image, also representing a defining moment in Canada, a country emerging as an independent nation with limitless potential.”
The Legion added that “removing that image in the context of a design change and without knowing the rationale was, to put it bluntly, a poor decision.”
Several historical figures have also been omitted from the updated passport, including legendary Canadian Terry Fox.
Out: Terry Fox
I guess we know the ballot question for the next federal campaign. https://t.co/3YtuAlw1lI
— Jason Lietaer (@jasonlietaer) May 10, 2023
Port Coquitlam, BC, Mayor Brad West, representing Terry Fox’s hometown, is not too happy about this change. West told CTV National News on Wednesday that “My thought is that whoever made this decision needs to give their head a shake.
Others are poking fun at the outrage, like one comment calling out the placement of Terry Fox’s image in the current passport and how travellers would have to acquire 31 pages of stamps and visas to even make it to the Terry Fox page of the passport.
You’re only allowed to read about Canadian history after getting at least 30 pages of stamps for travelling outside of Canada. pic.twitter.com/jnlxnDola1
— TDot Resident (@TDotResident) May 11, 2023
The new passports won’t start to roll out until July, giving the critical crowd plenty of time to apply for a passport under the current design. The current passports will remain valid until expiry, so anyone picking up a new passport before July will be able to live blissfully for another decade without the new design.