Looking for danger? Head to Canada

If I were to make a list of the safest countries on Earth, I’d probably put Canada right at the top. The Australian government, however, doesn’t agree.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is now advising Australian citizens, via its “Smart Traveller” website, to “exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Canada because of the risk of terrorist attack.” Australian officials are also warning travelers to Canada of the risks of earthquakes, tornados, avalanches, and even tsunamis.

The site puts countries into five categories, from “Be alert to own security,” the lowest, to “Do not travel,” which speaks for itself, I think. Despite the warnings of possible terrorist attacks, Canada falls into the second safest category, “Exercise caution,” along with its neighbor to the south. (That’s the US, geography whizzes.)

Countries such as China, Belarus, Latvia, South Korea, and Romania fall into the safest category, while Afghanistan, Burundi, and (no surprise) Iraq are some of those deemed to be the least safe.

All this talk about government-issued travel warnings reminds me of what travel writer Cynthia Barnes once wrote about the U.S. State Department:

“[I]t’s my belief that the State Department is comprised of well-meaning ninnies. Like the father of a luscious 16-year-old, the State Department is happiest when we’re at home.”