A sad, troubling, rage-inducing story from The Canadian Press:

A critically-ill premature-born baby from Hamilton is all alone in a Buffalo, N.Y., hospital after she was turned away for treatment at local facility and transferred across the border without her parents, who don’t have passports.

Ava Stinson was born Thursday at St. Joseph’s Hospital, 14 weeks premature.

A provincewide search for an open neonatal intensive care unit bed came up empty, leaving no choice but to send the two pound, four ounce baby to Buffalo.

Her parents Natalie Paquette and Richard Stinson couldn’t follow their child because as of June 1, a passport is required to cross the border into the United States.

They’re having to approve medical procedures over the phone and are terrified something will happen to their baby before they get there.

The Canadian Consulate in Buffalo is providing advice and guidance to the first-time parents, and their local MP, New Democrat David Christopherson, is working to arrange emergency passports.

But that will take until at least Monday afternoon and the situation is complicated by the fact the baby’s dad has a criminal record.

“I just want to be with her,” said Paquette.

“She only knows my heartbeat, my voice and her daddy’s voice. It’s all I can think about. I feel so helpless.”

I won’t get into the relative merits of the American and Canadian health-care systems here. Suffice it to say that there obviously need to be more neo-natal intensive care unit beds up here. Thankfully — and this doesn’t mean that the American system is better (after all, at least the couple and their baby are guaranteed care up here, thanks to our public system, even if it’s not perfect) — there was an opening south of the border.

That aside — now that the baby is in Buffalo — isn’t this a clear case where the law must allow for an exception? No, the parents don’t have passports, which are now needed (a rule that recently came into effect), and, yes, the father has a criminal record (I don’t know for what, but I doubt he’s a threat to American society), but surely the demands of the moment, the exceptional circumstances of this individual case (and the need for the parents to be with their baby at this difficult time, with so much uncertain) trump all other considerations, including the unfeeling application of the law.

It is likely, I suppose, that the couple will get their emergency passports. But will the U.S. then let them in? And will they get there in time, should the baby take a turn for the worse?

This story is simply heartbreaking. The powers-that-be on both sides of the border ought to work something out, quickly, that makes this happen, passports or no passports, criminal record or no criminal record.

This family must be reunited. Now.

(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)

MICHAEL STICKINGS, Assistant Editor
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EEllis
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EEllis
7 years 2 months ago
MS said “I won’t get into the relative merits of the American and Canadian health-care systems here.” then “after all, at least the couple and their baby are guaranteed care up here” Guaranteed to get their baby shipped to another country? Here’s an idea if you don’t want to get into something then don’t say anything about it, especially when it’s BS. Hospitals “down here” are prohibited from turning away patients who need urgent care and every county has a hospital (at least one if not several) that provides health care to those that could not otherwise afford it. The… Read more »
Stormrayne
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Stormrayne
7 years 2 months ago

I don’t know who you ARE….But who are you to say that this story is BS i was there personally when they told the parents that there is no beds what so ever in Canada, therefore they turned the baby away, so you and you little comment can shove it where the sun don’t shine….How Rude can you be honestly…..

didietjoel
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didietjoel
7 years 2 months ago

I can tell you all one thing. At least here in canada, we dont throw people out of the hospitals because they cant pay….

EEllis
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EEllis
7 years 2 months ago
Stormrayne said “I don’t know who you ARE….But who are you to say that this story is BS i was there personally when they told the parents that there is no beds what so ever in Canada, therefore they turned the baby away, so you and you little comment can shove it where the sun don’t shine….How Rude can you be honestly…..” Are you on crack? As any normal person can see I was responding to this quoted part of the original post. “MS said “I won’t get into the relative merits of the American and Canadian health-care systems here.”… Read more »
Dr J
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Dr J
7 years 2 months ago

I guess I’m missing what’s exceptional. Premature babies, supply shortages in state-run industries, immigration red tape, and anxious parents are all routine. As historic injustices go, fast-tracking patients across borders more swiftly than their families seems like small potatoes.

JCJim
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JCJim
7 years 2 months ago

Seems the problem is all Canada’s. Left to Canada and the democrat’s heathcare systems the child would be dead today. Once the dem’s take over here, with their governement care, where will Canada send those they cannot treat?

William_Teach
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7 years 2 months ago

Interesting. Someone who is an advocate for government run health care in the USA excuses that Canada’s government run system didn’t have room to take care of the baby, so had to send it to the USA’s non-government run system for care, but, as typical, slurs the US for the passport fiasco.

UsaqMadik
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UsaqMadik
7 years 2 months ago
Why is this a clear case where the US must make an exception? Can’t the govt in Canada generate emergency passports in less than 24 hours? What’s the hold-up? If this couple is as harmless as is claimed, of course the US will allow them entry. Its tragic yes, but isn’t the real tragedy Canada’s inadequate medical facilities? Suffice it to say, Canada’s system is wonderful until you need to use it for something more than a basic medical procedure. This baby sure is lucky to have such gracious neighbors to her South, eh? I do agree this story is… Read more »
ryukyu
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ryukyu
7 years 2 months ago

“and this doesn’t mean that the American system is better”…and how many people are crossing the border to get Canadian healthcare?

$270502
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$270502
7 years 2 months ago

Thank you for coining a new oxymoron: “Canadian guarantee.”

stoo11
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stoo11
7 years 2 months ago

The family must be reunited? Fine. Send the baby home.

robertcollins68
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robertcollins68
7 years 2 months ago

As the old Chinese proverb goes, “There is nothing is more expensive than something that is *free*” – it seems this goes for the Canadian healthcare system and its 32-84 day wait for an MRI. Best of luck to the baby, get the Canadian passport office off of its rear and issue the passports for the parents. Mr. Stickings is an idiot to attempt to put this problem on the States.

MQ73
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MQ73
7 years 2 months ago
Unfortunately, bureaucratic systems are not set up for quick creative thinking. A system should be put into place to take care of such exceptional circumstances. Perhaps appointing a 24 hour/day escort (US immigration, local law enforcement or even RCMP) until emergency passports can be arranged. The other point is Health insurance is NOT the same as access to health care. Even if uninsured, the baby would have been immediately transferred to the nearest NICU. Afterwords, the hospital would present the bill, the parents then turn out there pockets “try to squeeze blood from a stone”. Eventually, the cost would be… Read more »
EEllis
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EEllis
7 years 2 months ago

MQ Said-“A system should be put into place to take care of such exceptional circumstances. Perhaps appointing a 24 hour/day escort (US immigration, local law enforcement or even RCMP) until emergency passports can be arranged.”

The US does have such a system for foreign nationals who have medical emergencies and or other circumstances. The requirement for escort must be done privately and ICE will want someone to stand responsible for them. Obviously US taxpayers cain’t be financially responsible for the cost. Really the simple deal would be Canada issuing a passport.

elladeon
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elladeon
7 years 2 months ago

Glad you have guaranteed Canadian health care available in Buffalo. Who is paying for this again?

Oh, and Canada? You’re welcome.

Stormrayne
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Stormrayne
7 years 2 months ago

This infact is paid for by the Canadian government you arrogant bastards

orthodoc
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orthodoc
7 years 2 months ago
The requirement for a passport to enter the US has been common knowledge for two years. Why is it the fault of the Americans that this couple couldn’t be bothered to turn off the TV long enough to go online and get their damn passports? Oh, and how can you possibly justify the fact that out of the 300 hospitals in southern Ontario, not one had a NICU bed? And that you have to depend on Buffalo for one? Hamilton is home to 500,000 people as well as McMaster; Toronto is less than an hour via the QEW. It has… Read more »
caveman82952
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caveman82952
7 years 2 months ago

a

caveman82952
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caveman82952
7 years 2 months ago
My wife has leukemia, presently in the hospital receiving chemo. a copy of my first bill from Stanford Medical. My responsibility is zero, as in NADA. We long ago met our limits at the two previous hospitals Mary was in, and a very expensive six thousand dollar ambulance ride. We haven’t even paid those yet. But Stanford? For our insurance is paying for it, Blue Shield, all three hundred and thirty thousand dollars worth..now adjusted down, ..and climbing, for she is still there. We will be stuck with a sum ourselves, but I won’t lose my house over it. Our… Read more »
sybilll
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sybilll
7 years 2 months ago

caveman82952
I am daring to use the words, I will PRAY for your wife’s complete recovery. Recovery rates for Leukemia are impressive.
As respects the preemie, that is confounding. NO neo-natal in all of Canada? My great niece was in NICU. They could accomodate 8 babies, and this is just ONE hospital, in a town with SIX NICU facilities, in a town of 1,000,000. Not an entire country.

hester1
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hester1
7 years 2 months ago

Heartbreaking? Yes, but instead of getting in your little dig at American heath care, you would have better served the baby and all future cases like this in calling on the powers that be in Canada to make sure its hospitals have what is needed. Perhaps in the future then, little babies will not need to be airlifted to the U.S.

Guest
Guest
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

If Canadian health care is so wonderful then why are you Canadians ROUTINELY sending your sickest of the sick down to us heartless incompetents in the U.S.?

If Canadian-style health care becomes a reality for us down here, how many sick Canadian babies will we be able to take care of after the Canadian-style health care rationing begins?
That would probably be about the same number of critically ill Americans that show up on your doorstep, which according to the U.S. State Department is approximately ZERO.

Thank you Michael for reminding me how insufferable most Canadians are these days.

Stormrayne
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Stormrayne
7 years 2 months ago
What is wrong with you Americans??? Honestly why are you all upset about this…no one on this article has said anything Rude about the states, and then you guys are all Dissing Canada WTF is your problem….this is my niece were talking about a 14 week old premature baby and all you guys can think of is Canada this Canada that….i couldn’t believe my eyes what i was reading how can ppl be so heartless about this…if anything we are thankful and grateful for Buffalo children hospital to take this ill baby and give her intensive care and keep her… Read more »
WilG
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WilG
7 years 2 months ago
Lemme see. Canaduh allows the muslin terrorists who attacked and kiled 3000 Americans to come and go freely, indeed welcoming them with open arms. Canaduh makes no effort to police the border and keep the muslim terrorists that canaduh allows free reign on their side of the border, forcing the U.S. to police the border ourselves. Canaduh has a crappy medical system, caused by “one payer public financing”, which is incapable of aborbing one more critically ill baby, and the child is turned away. Yet somehow, this is the fault of the United States, which has a medical system that… Read more »
elladeon
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elladeon
7 years 2 months ago

Dude, let’s be fair. The Canadians did not — DID NOT — let any of the 9/11 hijackers into the US illegally. They all entered the US legally, and then stayed on expired visas. It was our immigration services that dropped the ball, *not* the Canadians.

I’ll blame them for making socialized medicine seem cool and trendy, but they are innocent of anything in 9/11.

WilG
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WilG
7 years 2 months ago

We are arrogant with good reason.

My parents knew each other.

And who cares who pays the bill for the care? The reality is that your crap medical system can’t find room for a critically ill baby. Why? Cause your medical system sux. I didn’t make it so, you did.

Lynx
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Lynx
7 years 2 months ago
For the love of all that is good, do you people really have no heart at all? This is really just an opportunity to rage on about how awful allowing a public option would be? Send the baby BACK?!! Seriously, did you folks just leave your souls offline?! For any Canadian that might be reading please know that we are not all like this. I consider my position on immigration to be very conservative (more than Bush Jr.) but this is not a place or a situation for that. We’re talking about the case of a very sick baby who… Read more »
broken_quanta
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broken_quanta
7 years 2 months ago
Stormrayne, I’m an American and I’m going to half-apologize for the slight. My daughter spent a month in two NICUs (one of the things the story might be missing is that there all NICUs are not created equal, and so the “number of NICU beds available” depends on the seriousness of a baby’s condition; the second NICU we visited was drawing patients from hundreds of miles away b/c it was the regional center for the most serious cases). My heart breaks for your family, it really does. And I too am angry at the (few) commenters griping about “who pays”… Read more »
broken_quanta
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broken_quanta
7 years 2 months ago

didietjoel,

There is absolutely no chance that anyone in the US is going to throw a baby out of a NICU because the parents can’t pay. If you believe otherwise, you know nothing of us.

hayekian
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hayekian
7 years 2 months ago
First of all, all Canadians near the border have heard about the passport regulations for at least 18 months. Second, you can get an emergency passport within 48-72 hours in Canada. It costs like $75. Broken quanta is right. Canadians hear a gross mis-representation of what care is provided on an urgent & emergent basis here in the states (I’ve worked in both systems). I’ve provided many hundreds of thousands of dollars in free care to people who have had no means to pay. I consider the massive discounting of my work in Canada, along with the lack of access… Read more »
DLS
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DLS
7 years 2 months ago
“I am amused by how a public option (note that this does not abolish private care, alive and well in all countries with public healthcare) is considered too shoddy by so many and AT THE SAME TIME too much of a threat to allow it to compete with private care.” You miss the numerous real points here. To name one of them, if we went to all-public and then experienced the set of problems we (some of us, at least, already) know we’d experience in exchange for ending the private system, then if in the future we suggested a “private… Read more »
Icejackal
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Icejackal
7 years 2 months ago

Lets not blow this up more than it’s needed, the fact of the matter is my sister and her husband needed to be by my nieces side.

we can argue all day about eachothers healthcare system even though imo neither side should complain..the states have the right amount of equiptment and staff because they pay for it, sometimes steeply…canada doesn’t at the cost of free healthcare…

now i hope every1 can agree that we all want the best for lil Ava.

p.s. @ Broken_quanta ty for ur post

sarahmitchell1981
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sarahmitchell1981
7 years 2 months ago
This is proposturous, why in God’s name would American’s sit there and comment such negative things when a child is still at risk? We can sit here and trash talk all day, but in the meantime, let’s remember that when the chips went down on 9/11, EVERY Canadian- ALL across Canada, begged God to show mercy to those America lost…We silenced ourselves for those that died, without political, social or ethnicity racism. We didnt trash your country…we stood by your side. I would like to think that Americans and Canadians may have differences, but when the chips go down, we… Read more »
EEllis
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EEllis
7 years 2 months ago

“why in God’s name would American’s sit there and comment such negative things when a child is still at risk?”

Why in gods name would people use this crisis to push a political agenda? And lets face it some were coming down on the US for not allowing access when Canada hadn’t given these poor people emergency passports. I have all the sympathy in the world for the family but most of the remarks that caused the reactions were not from family and when you take a swing at someone you got to expect they’ll swing back.

Mstewart
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Mstewart
7 years 2 months ago
Wow…. This has really become a loaded issue. After reading all of the above I have to say that the majority of every American response on here leads me to believe that you guys just cant stand to pass up an opportunity to make things all about you, and a fight at that. I’m sorry but the majority of you are rediculous and should be ashamed of the people you are. You make yourselves sound like terrible individuals who are nothing more than unevolved heartless beings with a taste for blood. None of the negative Americans on here seemed to… Read more »
EEllis
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EEllis
7 years 2 months ago
Mste said “I dont believe that the person who originally wrote this ment to bash you and your system.” Then you haven’t read much of his writings obviously. As far as the rest of your post I really don’t know where to start. 1. the 24 hour escort- How about instead Canada just issues a passport? It has to be cheaper and less effort than the numerous other options people have mentioned. They blame the US like it is unreasonable “Honestly what is she going to do? Visit her sick baby and at the same time plot and plant a… Read more »
Peter_D
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Peter_D
7 years 2 months ago

Q: What do they call the emergency room in Canada?

A: The United States!

sfcmac
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7 years 2 months ago
Yeah, you dumb hoser. It “doesn’t mean our American system is better”, even if the baby had to get room at a hospital in Buffalo. Canada sucks and you know it sucks. Your “health care system” is an epic fail. The scary thing is THE ONE is trying to make our American health care system into a Canadian clone. For anyone stupid enough to think ‘ObamaCare’ is a good idea, try getting even the most basic treatment in Canada. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451570546396929.html) People in Canada often resort to a lottery to see a physician. Pay attention all of you leftwingnuts who want… Read more »
sfcmac
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7 years 2 months ago
Yeah, you dumb hoser. It “doesn’t mean our American system is better”, even if the baby had to get room at a hospital in Buffalo. Canada sucks and you know it sucks. Your “health care system” is an epic fail. The scary thing is THE ONE is trying to make our American health care system into a Canadian clone. For anyone stupid enough to think ‘ObamaCare’ is a good idea, try getting even the most basic treatment in Canada. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451570546396929.html) People in Canada often resort to a lottery to see a physician. Pay attention all of you leftwingnuts who want… Read more »
HealthyAmerican
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HealthyAmerican
7 years 2 months ago
Judging from the mentality of the post, as well as that of the pro-Canadian comments, it’s fairly easy to see why Canada isn’t even the second most influential or dominant country on the North American continent. “We” took the baby and it is being cared for. The responsibility of getting/issuing passports rests squarely on the Canadian government. Blogger is clearly so buried in his hatred of the greatest country on earth, and unable to hide his massive inferiority complex, he leaps over the logical conclusion (Canada should have issued emergency passports) and goes right to the States Bashing. You guys… Read more »
Mstewart
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Mstewart
7 years 2 months ago
And it continues still. Unbelievable that every positive thought or attempt at common ground flew over your heads without notice. I guess you cant expect words to fall with success on deaf ears. God those American’s, so angry! lol. To those American’s so negative and self absorbed they cant see past their own ass’ to see that their shit stinks too like everyone elses; Was your childhood so troubled that you feel as though the world is always against you? This is about a child, NOT YOU!!!!! You guys remind me of the bully in the class that no one… Read more »
Snake_Oil_Baron
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Snake_Oil_Baron
7 years 2 months ago
As a Canadian I find this post disgraceful. “after all, at least the couple and their baby are guaranteed care up here” NO THEY ARE NOT. Why is their baby in the states? Why do Canadians go south (or even to India) for healthcare? We are guaranteed “equality”, not health care. If you would rather have health care than equality you have to leave. If an American with a criminal record was in the news for wanting to be fast tracked into Canada for compassionate reasons and Americans were up in arms about the Canadian delays your tune would be… Read more »
Walsingham
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Walsingham
7 years 2 months ago
Re: “This is about a child, NOT YOU!!!!!” Indeed, and that child is being taken care of by Americans. NOT YOU!!!! It is the American health care system that had the resources. Not the Canadian one. It is the American health care system that gears supply to demand. Not the Canadian one. It is the American health care system that provides the vast majority of innovation in medicine for the whole damned world, not the Canadian one. I am glad the child is here. The fact that he is here saved his life. And I have no doubt that the… Read more »
fishaddict
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fishaddict
7 years 2 months ago
I do believe that what you are seeing here is the hyper sensitivity that many Americans including myself feel on a daily basis. If you read on the net, you will see that no matter what we do it is not enough. When we give billions of dollars(more than most of the civilized world combined) for aids research we are told it is not enough. We clean up the environment, rescue whole civilizations from natural disasters, save other civilizations from being swallowed in war, spend our hard earned money so that Canada and the rest of the world can have… Read more »
facebook-575145706
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

well as a family member of the family guess what the U.S. border patrol called the parents and told them to come down to the border and let them through with 1 week temp passport on the weekend , the father will be coming back this week to finish securing the passports and it he a threat no he not the record is in the past as in over 10 years ago, please show these two loving and caring people some support, for the last 6 years or more they have been trying to have a child together.

EEllis
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EEllis
7 years 2 months ago

Somehow I doubt the border patrol issued passports to Canadian citizens but I’m glad the family are now able to be with their child.

WilG
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WilG
7 years 2 months ago
No, it’s NOT about America. It’s about a crap “medical” system that can’t absorb one critically ill baby. Little Ava was born 14 weeks premature. Were the Parents ever notified that this may have been a possibilitiy? High risk pregancy? Family history? Did the parents make any effort to make arrangements prior to Ava’s birth? Did her Doctors? I mean, it wasn’t any secret that a passport would be required. What, two years notice isn’t enough? My oldest had to spend two weeks in a NICU. We had to GO ACROSS THE HALL. Why can’t Canaduh afford to do the… Read more »
Guest
Guest
Guest
7 years 2 months ago
How lucky for this infant that Women & Children’s Hospital here in Buffalo, one of the best for preemies, was just across the boarder. How unlucky that she was born into Canada’s inadequate health care system. There is a great deal more in this story than “Oh how awful! The big bad bureaucrats in the US are enforcing the new border restrictions.” If that were really the case, that the baby wouldn’t have been able to enter, either! Canada needs to get its shit together and fast track the parents’ passports. If the fast tracking is anything like their health… Read more »
ohcanahuh
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ohcanahuh
7 years 2 months ago

i’d like to tank Canaduh for the following… Hockey, Shania Twain, and that blond wreslting chick, Maryese? Oh yea, Miriam Mcdonald from degrassi TNG. Yep… I think I thanked them for their finest products… I’ll take a 5 hr wait over a 3 month wait anyday… God bless the biggest charity in the world, my USA. Canada.. if you keep kicking, we’ll eventually send the finest men and women in the world up there to kick your butts and sue you for our medicine, our weaponry, our computers, everything you have because of us… eh?

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