The MP for Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam is calling the removal of Terry Fox's image from the Canadian passport "regrettable and somewhat tone-deaf."
Ron McKinnon added his name to the growing voices criticizing Sean Fraser, the federal minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees, about the move to take out the PoCo hometown hero from the new passport.
In his letter dated Monday (May 15), the backbencher wrote to Fraser about Fox's stature in the community and across the country, reminding him of the millions of dollars raised for cancer research every year through the annual runs in the icon's name.
"Your announcement last week regarding the removal of Terry Fox from Canada's new passport is deeply disappointing to me personally, to my community at large and to all Canadians from coast to coast who cherish his memory," reads the letter that was obtained by the Tri-City News this week.
"Canadians do understand the need to enhance passport security. But to make a change as significant as this without broad public consultation is regrettable and somewhat tone-deaf. Canadians expect more. Canadians need more."
According to the Canadian government, the Canadian passport makeover has state-of-the-art security features as well as generic artwork that highlights the country’s landscapes and people in the four seasons.
Fraser said the update comes after 10 years of consultation.
"The new Canadian passport is more than a travel document; it is a representation of our national identity and values. It is a reminder of the beauty and diversity of Canada, and it reflects the country's commitment to welcoming people from all around the world," Fraser stated in a news release.
Gone are images of the last spike being driven into the cross-country railway, as well as photos of author and activist Nelly McClung and of Vimy Ridge, the First World War battlefield that’s considered a defining event in Canada’s history.
The decision to erase the war memorial from the passport drew ire from the Royal Canadian Legion and the topic was raised this week in the House of Commons by the Opposition Conservatives.
As for Fox's image being replaced by a squirrel eating a nut, PoCo Mayor Brad West had this to say via social media on May 10: "Whoever made the decision to remove Terry Fox from Canadian passports needs to give their head a shake. Our country needs more Terry Fox, not less."
Meanwhile, this fall, Canadians will be able to renew their passport, pay their fees and upload their photograph securely and conveniently online.
This comes after the new online Passport Application Status Checker was launched in March, allowing Canadians to check the status of their passport application online.