Canada removes Terry Fox from passport, prompting backlash

By Martin MacMahon and Hana Mae Nassar

The federal government’s decision to remove Terry Fox from Canadian passports is drawing some backlash.

The Canadian hero’s image was removed as part of a broader overhaul of the travel document.

It was not specific to him, with other iconic Canadian imagery, including a representation of Vimy Ridge, also being taken out.

The move isn’t sitting well with many, including Dave Teixeira, the organizer of the Terry Fox Hometown Run.

“I would advocate that he should be on more things. He’s one of Canada’s greatest heroes. He was a young person in the early 80s who inspired a nation and a world to do better. And because of him, there’s been a lot of suffering that’s been alleviated because of the money raised for cancer (research),” Teixeira told CityNews Wednesday.

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Teixeira says Fox’s efforts and story should be showcased in any way possible.

He’s not the only one taking issue with the decision. Brad West, who is the mayor of Fox’s hometown of Port Coquitlam, is also weighing in, expressing his displeasure.

“I’m the Mayor of Terry Fox’s hometown. 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,” he tweeted Wednesday.

With images representing Canada’s history being removed from the passport, the federal government is replacing them with images of the country’s diversity, nature, and wildlife.

“The new passport has been redesigned from cover to cover with state-of-the-art security features and new artwork, maintaining its status as one of the most secure and universally accepted travel documents in the world for all Canadians,” the federal government said in a release.

“I’m not sure why this would be necessary. There’s no reason, in my opinion, there’s no negativity that they’ve dug up on Terry because there’s nothing to dig up. To remove such an iconic Canadian in place of what I’ll call such generic Canadiana imagery makes absolutely no sense,” Teixeira said.

He says he felt “frustrated” and “baffled” by the government’s move, adding, “there doesn’t seem to be, at least not yet, any particular reason why he is being removed in place of generic imagery.”

“I would like to understand more of why that’s taking place. But, it just makes no sense,” Teixeira added.

Telling CityNews he plans to contact local members of parliament over the issue, he’s encouraging others to do the same, adding he expects the government will be getting “an earful” over the removal.

He says he feels the decision “might have been a bit of a bureaucratic blunder that might have been made outside of the traditional channels.”

“I always like to give people and organizations the benefit of the doubt, so I’m doing that at this point,” Teixeira said.

In addition to the design modifications, the government announced Wednesday Canadians would be able to renew their passports online starting this fall, among other changes.

-With files from Lucas Casaletto

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