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.

13 Replies to “Canadian Citizenship”

  1. David and Pam, that’s GREAT news! Congrats to you both!

    The points you brought up in your post are so reminiscent of our reasons for vacating The Excited States for Canada, too. Even with the harper regime doing its best to destroy the Canada we moved to, it still far surpasses our former residence.

    My application for citizenship is being “processed” as of May 15, 2012 – I’m guessing my ceremony won’t be ’til next spring sometime.

    Glad for you both, and looking forward to the pics!

  2. i might have to ask them to cancel your appointment just because you didn’t write it as “Donald (and Kiefer) Sutherland”.

    nah! you’re gonna make a great Canuck! congratulations! and thank you for choosing us. 🙂

  3. Congratulations David. I’m so very pleased for you.

    This step (giant leap) you have taken is the best thing I have seen come out of George W Bush’s re-election.

    I also applaud your choice. If I had to live anywhere on the planet other than where I am, Canada would be top of the list.

    Best wishes — Mike

  4. Congratulations, David!

    Intersting that many of the Canadians you mention have lived their professional lives outside of Canada. I don’t think the present-day celebs on the list are very Canada-defining. But maybe that’s not what you meant?

  5. Thanks for the congrats, all.

    Heather, I was worried that if I put Donald S. first, I might date myself… Kind of like the time when I was much younger that someone said I looked like Julian Lennon, not his father John (I was thrilled). 🙂

    Jan, you’re right that a number of Canadians (and perhaps the most famous ones) don’t spend all (or even a majority) of time actually in the country, but on the other hand, I think they show that the country has produced a lot of great people (and a wide variety of them, too). I also think that if I named people that only Canadians would know, it would send a very different message (perhaps ‘You wouldn’t know, it’s a Canadian thing.’) which is not what I was after.

  6. Bob, our wait from the processing was about 7 or 8 months, so hopefully you’ll be taking the test in November or so. That could put your ceremony in January or February. Hoping that is the case for you

  7. There were a whole bunch of others I wanted to add, but thanks for reminding me of her. I was also thinking of Erickson and Thom, but already had Gehry. Of course, there were tons and tons of pop musicians I left off as well, but most people know my ignorance of pop music.

  8. Thanks Mike. Hope we make it to Australia some time and see another great place to live. In the meantime, you are always welcome to come and visit our home.

  9. David–congrats to you and Pam.

    I’ve suffered something of a political reconfiguration; you can read about it on my blog.

    Great Canadians? How ’bout Randy Bachman & Burton Cummings?

  10. Wow, Pete. I read some of your latest entries and it’s head-turning stuff. Thanks for the congrats,

    I’d been following some of the twists and turns of Wisconsin and Walker (funny, but I just saw an episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ so that name now carries slightly different echoes!).

    I’m surprised of your change of support, but your perceptions and logic are very convincing. I hope that things get better for the State, and that the Republican party divorces from the Tea Party (and ALEC as you rightly pointed out) and once again contributes some serious arguments to the challenges of our world. A 2 party system works better when one has a plurality of real, substantive choices.

    Bachman! Forgot about him. Yes, include him, especially because ‘Takin Care of Business’ was possibly recorded a short walk from where we live. I must confess that I didn’t know of Burton Cummings but Pam certainly does. I was a bit nervous about too many popular music references, should someone counter with Celene Dion, Justin Bieber, or worse, Nickleback. Not convincing arguments for citizenship there…

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