Canadian Citizenship

Maple Leaf If there was ever some­thing that was going to get me updat­ing this blog again, it would have to be some­thing like this. In less from 24 hours from now, Pam and I will be Cana­di­an cit­i­zens.

We have been request­ed to appear at about 8AM tomor­row morn­ing at the Immi­gra­tion offices in Yale­town where I took the test for cit­i­zen­ship about 2 months ago (I guess this means I passed.) The instruc­tions includ­ed what we need­ed to bring in with us (all pre­vi­ous doc­u­ments used in the cit­i­zen­ship appli­ca­tion we made, any  pass­ports — can­celled or not, our card that shows we are per­ma­nent res­i­dents and a few oth­er doc­u­ments. Option­al­ly, we  can bring a ‘holy book’ of our choos­ing. Not plan­ning on doing that. We can also choose whether we swear or affirm our cit­i­zen­ship. I don’t believe that there is a legal dif­fer­ence as to which one choos­es, but I sup­pose ‘swear­ing’ alle­giance to the Queen of Eng­land is some­thing that some (par­tic­u­lar­ly Amer­i­cans) are not as keen to do as affirm­ing. I haven’t decid­ed whether I’ll be a swear­er or an affirmer, but I’m lean­ing toward affir­ma­tion, all the same. Swear­ing just sounds too reli­gious for my taste. I’ll see if I can post some pho­tos of the cer­e­mo­ny (one of Pam’s friends is com­ing to be a wit­ness, of which I’m glad and thank­ful).

Thoughts that come to mind about this upcom­ing event: relief that our sta­tus will final­ly be set­tled once and for all. There’ll be no more wor­ries about renew­ing Res­i­den­cy Sta­tus doc­u­ments. I also feel excit­ed that I’ll be able to vote, both in the local and fed­er­al elec­tions. In fact, I’m think­ing that I may vol­un­teer some time work­ing on a cam­paign again, which is some­thing I did before we left the US. I guess, you can take the boy out of the Coun­try, but you can’t take Pol­i­tics out of the boy.

Final­ly, I have a sense of clo­sure and a lit­tle pride, that the past 7 years (last week, on the 14th,  it was 7 years to the day that we arrived here with noth­ing but the our lap­tops on our backs) have meant some­thing, and that I’ll now be able, with­out equiv­o­ca­tion, to call myself a Cana­di­an. Ever since the 2000 US elec­tion, I’ve felt embar­rassed and even ashamed to call myself an Amer­i­can, a label that I didn’t achieve, but was born into. To be a born white and Amer­i­can in the last or cur­rent cen­tu­ry, is to be priv­i­leged. Not hav­ing cho­sen or even worked for that priv­i­lege, I’ve late­ly felt more than a lit­tle uncom­fort­able with hav­ing it. Whether it’s White Man’s Guilt or Blame-Amer­i­ca-First or what­ev­er the peo­ple on Fox and Friends call it, I nev­er want to have to cringe again when I see some­one in a for­eign coun­try act like a jerk and just keep my head down, hop­ing that they don’t hold it against the rest of us as well. Nope,  just us Cana­di­ans at this table.

I also like Cana­da, if not Mr. Harper’s Cana­da (and I’ll work hard to help us return to the Cana­da we could be, not his greedy and envi­ron­men­tal­ly malfeasant petro-theoc­ra­cy with noth­ing but mon­ey and pow­er on his mind). I like the Cana­da of Lester Pear­son, Pierre Trudeau, Ter­ry Fox,  Glenn Gould, Frank Gehry, William Shat­ner, Moshe Safdie, Guy Lal­ib­erté,  Nathan Fil­lion, Kiefer (and Don­ald) Suther­land, Dou­glas Cou­p­land, Mar­shall McLuhan, Stephen Pinker, David Suzu­ki, John Kric­falusi, John Byrne, Cory Doc­torow and Mar­garet Atwood…yes, that’s a coun­try I want to be con­sid­ered a cit­i­zen of, even if I wasn’t born there.

Final­ly, I think it is bet­ter to choose one’s coun­try rather than sim­ply wear it, like a red, white and blue birth­mark. Many in my fam­i­ly were immi­grants who became cit­i­zens of a coun­try they weren’t born in,  and now, I’m one as well. Tomor­row, I’ll have the papers to prove it.