Current Sarnia City/County Councillor Dave Boushy is back from what he’s calling a very successful (albeit brief) trip to Lebanon.
The former MPP for Sarnia was invited to attend a conference of distinguished ex-pat Lebanese (Boushy was born there and emigrated to Canada in 1951). His visit was a personal expense.
During his trip to his birthplace, Boushy said he met with Michelle Cameron, Canada’s ambassador to Lebanon. During that conversation, Boushy said he discussed the potential for a “mini trade mission” to the country.
Such an initiative would focus on Canadian technologies and the possible importation of goods that are produced in Lebanon, including oranges, apples, and grapes, which are grown in a climate that is similar to southern California.
Boushy said Cameron’s response was positive. “She asked me to communicate with big players and explore the project further. If they expressed interest, both the Canadian embassy and Lebanese embassies could work jointly to make it happen.”
The politician also discussed an important social need, that being children in the area who do not have birth certificates, typically a major barrier to job opportunities or even immigration.
“There are about 100,000 of these children and the fees to get a birth certificate are high. They can’t afford it,” he said. “They will grow up without identity and would be difficult to hire them, and they won’t be able to get schooling and jobs.”
Boushy also said his trip included a visit to the house where he was born, although it no longer has a roof.