POLITICS

Foreign Affairs Gets Odd Requests From Abroad

12/28/2011 09:05 EST | Updated 02/27/2012 05:12 EST
CP

Canadian consular officials can replace a lost passport, contact your relatives when you need help while abroad, and provide advice on medical services. They cannot, however, pick up your dog at the airport.

They also cannot settle disputes between you and your partner, or ask your mother-in-law to leave your house.

The far-fetched requests have all been made of Canadian consular officials, the Foreign Affairs department said Wednesday as it sought to remind Canadians of the services it can provide abroad.

"Consular services are available in more than 150 countries around the world, it is important for Canadians to know which services we do and do not provide," the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy said in a statement.

So while embassy officials can provide you with list of lawyers and information on local laws, they cannot arrange a helicopter to rescue your son from a German prison yard after he was arrested on drug charges, as one family requested.

Other strange requests made of Canadian consular officials include the Canadian citizen visiting Chicago who asked if consular officers could get tickets for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Another Canadian traveller, who was due to arrive in London, asked consular staff to line up in the morning to get cheap tickets for a play that was ending that night.

While the odd requests may seem frivolous, Ablonczy said Canadian travellers can help themselves with some advance planning.

"Safe and secure travel is primarily the responsibility of travellers. However, when travellers find themselves in situations beyond their control, Canadian officials are there to help," she said.