Canadians of a certain vintage will clearly remember “the Canadian Caper,” that dangerous moment in 1979 when our diplomats put their lives on the line to smuggle six of their American colleagues out of revolutionary Iran.
Given the situation in Iran – revolutionaries storming the U.S. Embassy, diplomats held hostage, the revolutionary government unable to control its own supporters, and war clouds on the horizon – the name given to this rescue significantly trivializes the risks taken by Ambassador Ken Taylor and his fellow Canadian diplomats.
But the United States was our friend, neighbour and ally. What else would we do?
Of course Canadians were there for the half dozen American diplomats who had slipped away from the chaos of the hostage taking. It took courage and resolve – and a flexible attitude about the rule of law – to sneak them out. But sneak them out we did.
It was such a good yarn that Hollywood eventually made a movie about it … and gave all the credit to the CIA. Mr. Taylor, who died in 2015, was graceful about that predictable slight.
Now, so to speak, the shoe is on the other foot.
Two Canadian businessmen are being held in China, supposedly on suspicion of “endangering national security” but…