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How much can Canada help if you get into trouble abroad?

The case of a Burlington teacher being detained in Indonesia is a reminder to Canadians that when they travel abroad, they’re subject to that country’s laws, says a former parliamentary secretary.

Burlington teacher held in Indonesia at mercy of its laws: former MP

Neil Bantleman, a Burlington teacher working at an international school in Indonesia, is now at the centre of a sex abuse scandal. His wife, Tracy Bantleman, says the last week since his arrest has been an "horrific nightmare." (Free Neil Bantleman & Ferdi Tjiong/Facebook)

The case of a Burlington teacher being detained in Indonesia is a reminder to Canadians that when they travel abroad, they’re subject to that country’s laws, says a former parliamentary secretary.

Dan McTeague told CBC's Metro Morning on Tuesday that all Canada can do is ensure that Neil Bantleman, who is held in a Jakarta jail but not charged in a sexual assault, is treated fairly according to the laws of the land.

When Canadians live or travel abroad, they should know that country's laws and that they’ll be subject to them, said McTeague, a former Liberal MP.

“(Travelers should) understand and be aware that when you’re in difficulty, the Canadian government can’t come in and bring in the Princess Patricia Light Infantry to get you out,” he said on Metro Morning.

The Canadian consulate has likely checked on 45-year-old Bantleman’s jail conditions and made sure he had access to consular officials and his family, McTeague said.

Bantleman can be held for up to 20 days without being charged. After 20 days, Canadian officials would likely inquire, McTeague said.

“Consular services is there to ensure your treatment is no different from anyone else’s under the circumstances,” he said. 

Bantleman worked at the prestigious Jakarta International School. He was arrested last week during a police investigation into the alleged sexual assault of three kindergarten students. His wife and family assert his innocence and have been fighting for his release.