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Our Man In Cairo

I am one of a handful of Canadians with a valid passport.

cairo1

As a matter of fact, I have two passports. Let me explain.

Passport Canada is terrified that it might issue a passport to a bad person.

This has forced Passport Canada to use bureaucratic procedures to drag everyone through an elongated passport application process in an effort to uncover and block all evil doers.

The longer Passport Canada can delay handing out a passport, the more time it has to check and recheck our citizens.

A dust mite or fly speck on a passport photo allows our civil servants to reject 55.3 percent of all first-time passport applications.

(Note: Passport Canada would not confide in me so I had to guess. Percentages are accurate within a plus or minus error of 90 percent.)

Our brave civil servants work in a padded room within the division of “The Passport Rejection Module.” It is sound proofed to muffle their whoops and screams each time they spot a shadow, smile or smirk on a passport photo.

Shadows, smiles or smirks ensure that an additional 44.01 percent of all first-time passport applications are rejected. (Furthermore, 100 percent of all applications fail to comply with all of the 42 streamlined guidelines for photos.)

This has caused collateral (but acceptable) damage to our economy.

Travel by Canadians is down 76.7 percent. (Statistics Canada didn’t answer the phone so I had to guess at that last figure.)

By simply keeping our borders closed to most Canadians (we can’t get back in our own country without a valid passport), custom officials have resources enough to check, double-check and triple-check every adult and toddler who applies for a passport.

Passport Canada then has time to investigate applicants’ dead relatives and any parrots or buggies they might have talked to or hooked up with.

The system is not always perfect.

After four months and three applications, Passport Canada finally sent me a new passport but neglected to return my current driver’s license and it misplaced my birth certificate.

It accidentally also sent me by DHL Express an additional passport (from someone who has a name similar to mine) plus his vital certificate of citizenship.

I swear I am not making this up. I have photos and illegal phone recordings galore.

For national security reasons I will call the owner of this second passport X.

At first glance it is easy to see how Passport Canada confused X and me.

We are both males.

Our last names have a consonant and a vowel in common.

X looks like me in that he has two ears and a nose. True, his eyes are a different color and he appears to be about a hundred pounds lighter.

Another similarity is our birthplace. I was born in Calgary. X was born in Cairo. Both city names start with the same letter.

I have a home in Edmonton about five miles from some pyramid-shaped buildings in a park. Person X may have parked near the pyramids.

So mixing up X and me is understandable, although some might find it unacceptable that Passport Canada has so much trouble identifying the people it’s supposed to keep track of.

It rejects an application because of a fly spot but it misplaces entire citizens. Several of them at once.

I accept it as a small price to pay so that we can sleep peacefully in our beds in Canada.

(Luckily we don’t need to worry about sleeping outside the country since most of us have no passports. At present 43 percent of all passport applications are “on hold” because of fly spots or smiles.)

Again that is of no consequence when we are dealing with an enemy who does not seem to exist.

I phoned Passport Canada to report what I considered a conspiracy within our government.

After being on hold for 3.6 hours I talked with someone in lost and stolen passports.

It appeared to me that X’s passport along with his Canadian citizenship certificate had been stolen and someone had then sent them to me in an effort to frame Jaron Summers.

I thought I might tell the officer on duty, I suspected Rogue Agents at Passport Canada.

The official at Passport Canada said that what I had in my hand was not a passport and I was to return it.

This confused me because on the first page of this document (which looked like a Canadian passport to me) I read: “This passport is the property of the Government of Canada.”

“It doesn’t matter what it says,” said our official. “That is not a passport, it’s a, uh, travel document.” He went off the line and came back on. “That passport has been canceled.”

(Again, everything is true, I’m not making up any of it except for the percentages.)

I have dreamed up my share of spy novels so I realized that perhaps something was rotten. “Is X a spy?” I asked.

“Why?”

“Sounds like some kind of intrigue going on. X might be an Egyptian since he was born there.”

“Why are you so paranoid?”

“Isn’t it possible that X could be a spy?”

(I have been to Cairo and I have met people there who were spies. I have encountered strange people in pyramids too.)

If the Egyptian was a spy, he could now assume the ID of Jaron Summers. (Remember X probably has my driver’s license and birth certificate.)

“If he was a spy we wouldn’t tell you,” said the passport official. “And besides, we send passports that belong to spies, only to Canada.”

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Z. That’s my first name.” (Z was not the officer’s name. Again I am employing a code letter to shield Canadian officials.)

“And your last name?” I asked.

“Z is all I have to tell you.”

“Doesn’t Canada have spies all over the world?” I asked.

“Yes. All over the place. Everywhere. There may be one behind you.”

“What if one of our spies needs a passport, does he have to return to Canada to pick it up? Or have you forgotten you ‘only’ send passports to spies who are in Canada?”

Z cautioned me that everything I said was being recorded and I said, “I caution you, I’m going to send this passport or whatever it is to the Honourable Diane Finley.”

Z didn’t know she was the Minister of Immigration and Naturalization.

“I’ve written several letters in the past to Diane,” I double cautioned.

“You had better not send her anything,” triple cautioned Z. “She has nothing to do with passports. This is Foreign Affairs, if you send anything about this to anyone, send it to the Honourable Maxime Bernier.”

Again I pressed Z for his last name.

He admitted his name was Y.” (He did not use a common given name, but the actual letter Y. He was perhaps beginning to understand the dangers we faced and the need for shielding.)

“Y is your last name?”

“First name. I’m really Y or maybe, ha-ha ― Z.” He was behaving like a lunatic from my subtle pressure. (I was not surprised Y or Z was coming unglued. We have had several civil servants in our family, all of them have at one time been institutionalized.)

Plan B.

To uncover what the Man from Cairo was all about, I had to calm down Z or Y. “Don’t worry, Z or Y. We are not quite at 1984,” I said.

“It’s past 1984 for people like you, Mr. I.”

“What does I stand for?” I asked.

“Idiot,” he said. The line went dead.

How much did the rogue agents know?

Could Z or Y be a sleeper agent?

I thought about the Man from Cairo.

If the Man from Cairo (X) were a spy and came to collect his passport (actually a travel document now canceled) I would be in trouble. Certain Egyptians have already made attempts on my life.

X could locate me since he no doubt had my driver’s license and birth certificate.

Unless…a sleeper at Passport Canada had sold or traded my personal papers to a different country. Maybe a spy from Russia. (There are oodles of spies in Russia since they have so many extra letters in their alphabet.)

The way things stand:  Passport Canada, in what might have been a botched attempt to discredit or frame me, sent me X’s document and mailed my documents to X.

Y or Z is recording my conversations and I may no longer be able to take him into my confidence.

At any moment X may start using the good name of Jaron Summers to seduce a foreign agent.

She may be C or perhaps CC or maybe CCC.

(I’m traumatized and have again started to refer to myself in the third person. Not a good sign.)

How will Jaron Summers explain this to Mrs. Summers?

Jaron Summers does not know and is afraid.

(The Marx Brothers knew how to deal with passports.)


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