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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Hockey Sweater - from

Here's a classic Christmas story that I just love, 'The Hockey Sweater" as read in the 1980's by the author, Roch Carrier.

"It's Christmastime. On CBC Radio's Morningside, that means a visit by Roch Carrier, author of the beloved children's story "The Hockey Sweater." In Quebec in the 1940s, hockey was a religion and the Montreal Canadiens star Maurice (Rocket) Richard was a god. "The devil," to little boys in Roch's village, lived in Toronto and wore the blue and white of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In this clip, Carrier gives a delightful reading of his tale of hockey heartbreak.

"His Canadiens sweater — bearing Richard's No. 9, like all the other boys — has worn out. But when a new one arrives in the mail from Eaton's, he is horrified to see instead a Maple Leafs jersey. Roch tearfully swears to his uncomprehending mother: "I'll never wear that uniform!" But wear it he does. After the story, listeners get an extra treat. Gzowski reads his own boyhood hockey sweater story. Carrier then declares: "This is a great moment."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

If only in my dreams...

I'll be home for Christmas;
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More YouTube Canadian music videos

I used to love New Years in Toronto with my love (yes I'm still calling her that) and one of the reasons was to watch Ed the Sock's "Fromage" show on Much Music. Now, while Ed's show hurls it at the year's worst, my videos are simply songs I love and have discovered and I want you to as well. While I know at least one of my prior picks has made Ed's list, I hope that's the last one!

So here's some more of my Canadian pop and whatever (it's all pop to me) favorites I found on YouTube and other places...

Jarvis Church - Shake it off
Summer 2002...this was the sound of Toronto. Jarvis Church is also known as Gerald Eaton of the Philosopher Kings, who are next on my list...

The Philosopher Kings - Cry
This is a great remake of the godley and Creme (10cc) hit from the 70's. PK are funky and jazzy too.

Kathleen Edwards - Hockey Skates
what a lovely sad love song. I'm probably drawn to these because of my romantic history. I'd rather play the game and lose than not play at all!

The Tragically Hip - Blow at high dough

Like many, I probably first became aware of this tune as the closing credits theme from Rick Mercer's "Made in Canada" series. The Hip simply rock and you become aware of it almost instantly.

Remy Shand - Rocksteady
Remy is a funky white Canadian dude who was signed to Motown. Check out the first single from his album. I do believe he plays all the instruments. Sweet.

Sam Roberts - Hard Road
I think I first saw Sam Roberts as the halftime show at the Grey Cup football game. I remember really liking the straightforward approach to the music, as well as the "Rubber Soul"/"Revolver" period influences his music evoked. So I got the disc. And yes - it rocked.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

More fun with YouTube - Some Candian music videos

Here's a few of my favorite videos by Canadian artists (not necessarily current cuts, just under the category of "stuff I like") as we wind out the old year and welcome in the new. If I can remember anything about them, I'll be sure and make a note...

Barenaked Ladies - "Call and Answer"
This is my favorite BnL song. It's just so perfectly sad, and in this case, that's a very good thing. Steve Page does this thing in his songwriting where you ask, "is he angry? Is he sad? If he's sad, why does he sound so angry?" Listen to the lyrics and you'll get what I mean.

Barenaked Ladies - Pinch Me
When I first remember the band, it's not from the late exposure they got via a Mitsubishi ad, but instead through this silly video with this great low-key groove. Try and see the world beyond your front door once and awhile too...

Nelly Furtado - I'm Like A Bird
Nelly's first single and a lovely one at that - well before the club-grind of "Loose," here's a dancy, poppy Nelly, produced by Toronto's Track and Field (aka Philosopher Kings' Gerald Eaton and Brian West). Great little pop tune.

Len - Steal My Sunshine
This brother and sister act are one-hit wonders, but they did leave us one wonderful hit. I just love this tune.

Sum 41 - In Too Deep
From the band that brought you, "Does this look infected?" comes this "smart-punk" rocker. Listen to how a great band can take a simple melody and work the most out of it.

(more to come...)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Favorite Toronto scenes from YouTube

It's the holidays, so I thought I'd back off on the commentary and do something fun.

A little while back I was bemoaning the fact that the webcam at had gone offline, and that after a time, I had thought to look for video of Toronto on YouTube.

So for your enjoyment, here are a few of my favorites - I'll give a one-liner description, but mainly let the videos speak for themselves. Happy Holidays and God bless you!

Eaton Centre at Christmas, 2004

Younge Street at Gould - just north of Eaton Centre

Skaters in Downtown Toronto - no ice

Barry and Avi explore downtown Toronto

More to come...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This hour has 22 minutes of Rick Mercer

One thing I love about lousy weather and the winter that approaches is that there is time to slow down and catch up. Part of that for me is getting current again with the Canada I love by catching up with the politics and the humor.

Fall TV includes favorites on CBC, even here in Seattle - and on Tuesday nights, that means "Rick Mercer Report" and "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" ( the show's name is a parody of This Hour Has Seven Days, a CBC newsmagazine from the 60's - Wikipedia). Both are comedies so far removed from American formulas that they are refreshing to me. Canada has a golden reputation for comedic talent and these two shows bring it on in droves.

Topical, current, irreverant - in Canada no target is safe - no politician either. Politicians seem to line up to take the truth with the laughter at their own expense, and this is the beauty of these shows. It's a pretty powerful thing to not take yourself too seriously, and a positive democratic act to see politicians laugh at themselves. We're fairly poor at it here in America. And we get poorer all the time.

Of the current crop of comedians, Rick Mercer has to be my favorite. He's just too smart and funny. He is known for his "Rant" - a monolouge that is funny and insightful and articulate and comes at you at 120km/h - heck, maybe 140...If you think you've missed something he's said, he's begun posting the scripts for the Rant on his blog .

If you dont happen to get the CBC where you live, then you can still check out the programs on their websites (links nested here) - many have archives of their episodes you can watch online. It's a great way to pass at least part of a cold, dark night.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pass the buck outside the country

In a recent article from the Candian Press, published in the Toronto Star, the Tories (in this case, the mouthpiece being John Tory - I love that - born to the role I suppose) are proposing a program that, "...would allow skilled immigrants to start working on their Canadian accreditation while they are outside the country, waiting for their visa applications to be processed."

Now that sounds promising at the surface, but there's a common sense question to be asked: What has led the Tories to believe that they can run and administer a program outside of Canada that no Canadian government has been able to create and run INSIDE of Canada?

I also don't see anything about addressing another root source of wasted professional immigrant talent: a curb on protectionist professional societies that throw up barriers to entry.

New program ideas like this are certainly welcome - but where is the coordinated policy - the one that seeks to identify not a single problem with an isolated solution, but instead, a wholistic approach?

For instance - why can't the government pass legislation that says, if we let an individual in based on X set of professional skills that out country is facing a shortage of, NO employer may discriminate in hiring them for any reason (the classic being - "lack of Canadian work experience"...If you can tell me where outside of Canada I can get this, I'll make you a billionare!)?

This program proposal seems like more feel good legislation than anything else - we can have a flawed program for accredidation, but professionals coming to Canada will still face career-stalling hurdles once they arrive. All the Tories are doing is passing the buck - this time outside the Country, where no one will really know what's going on anyhow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sgro seeks a reality check - Immigrant system needs overhaul: Sgro

Former cabinet Minister Judy Sgro believes Canada's current immigration system needs to match its immigration policies, especially when it comes to the number of applicants being processed.

Her arguments do make sense: think of it like handing out...I don't to get into the Canadian Idol tryouts...Follow me here: thousands of kids want a chance to get on the show and let their talent shine, but you know, there's only so many hours in the day, so many judges to check out the talent...So at some point, they have to turn people away and say, "come back again next time."

This is essentially what Sgro is saying - don't take in anymore than you can process, and no more than you are allotted. When you reach capacity, stop until more capacity opens up.

Common sense immigration that an oxymoron?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Are YOU reading my blog?

You know, I was just thinking...I get quite a few visitors, but not a lot of commentors. I'm beginning to wonder as I approach my 100th post, whether this blog is valuable to anyone but myself! Do me a favor and drop me a note if this blog has done anything for you. Thanks! - J

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Are they reading my blog? - 800,000 caught in immigrant backlog

Are they reading my blog? In my last post, I did the simple math and it's clear that the 14% increase in the immigration backlog is being noticed in Canada. Get the facts with the article above. It's nice to have your rantings noticed!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hold the line - no - grow the line

If Canada is facing a labour shortage, then what does the Conservative Government plan to do about it? Sounds like about the same thing they are doing on the environment - a whole lot of nothing.

In an article in today's
Toronto Star, immigration officials say they plan to keep 2007 immigration numbers just about the same as 2006. Granted, the numbers are strong - 260,000 new immigrants in the next year - but what's distressing is the article's footnote:

"Yet the report also notes that the department is grappling with a backlog of applications that now tops 800,000, a challenge that officials recognize they must address."

Must address? I'll say so. The last number immgration gave up about the backlog of applicants was over a year ago and at that time, they claimed 700,000. That's a increase in the number of applicants in line of over 14% over the last year.

So when are they going to address it? Maybe Mister Harper needs to put The Honourable Rona Ambrose to work on it...she's good at making plans.

Then, by the year 2050...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Let non-citizen immigrants vote? - Let immigrants vote: Miller

This is the face of the man who wants 200,000 landed immigrants to have the right to vote even if they are not citizens.

This is interesting to me based on what I was just writing the other day. Remember the 2% of immigrants that become citizens? Miller doesn't want to do anything to help or encourage that - he just wants their votes.

"We allow people who don't live in Toronto to vote, simply because they own property here," Miller told the Toronto Star's editorial board yesterday. "And if we ask ourselves, `How have we let neighbourhoods where there are often high proportions of landed immigrants deteriorate?' one of the reasons is they haven't had a vote."

Isn't it one of the responsibilities of "good government" to watch out for those who are most vulnerable and for the disenfranchised? Perhaps letting that responsinility lag is another reason? Miller goes on to state that these residents haven't had a say in decisions that affect them. Well...who's fault is that? And if you believe what you say, then regardless of whether you can turn them into voters, what are you going to do about it?

I'm not sure if I'm so hot on this idea. I think voting is and should be a right of citizenship. I think more needs to be done to encourage full and active citizenship, rather than seek to bypass it.

When I come to Canada, it's to become a citizen and a proud Canadian. Lord, hear my prayer.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Population hike and citizenship - disconnected numbers Immigrants boost Canada's population hike: report

Did you know that 2/3 of Canada's population growth is fueled by immigration? That's the latest news from Stats Canada. Comparatively, less than 1/3 of growth in the US is accountable to immigration.

I find it interesting that in the same year that Canada welcomed an additional 254,400 new immgrants, that only 4,635 of the 200,000+ that were welcomed into the country three years ago (the basic residency requirement to become a citizen) became citizens (see the Government of Canada's press release).

That's a 2% conversion rate of immigrants to citizens. Ever wonder why so few immigrants are becomming citizens? What is the disincentive? It seems to me that a logical goal for the government would be to convert these immigrants into citizens and taxpayers. This conversion rate is a poor reflection on the CIC's ability to fully integrate immigrants into Canada.

I realize that many new immigrants are temporary residents, but the majority are family class, permanent resident immigrants coming to make a life in this beautiful country. Why is it they are not taking the ultimate step in itegration and becoming citizens?

What do you think is going on?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The YouTube phenom and Toronto

Since the demise of the Panorama webcam at, I've been searching for other cams in the Toronto area to make up for the lack of visual connection with the city I am separated from. Then it came to me: YouTube! I did a quick search for the keywords, "Downtown Toronto," and here are the results I got - 346 videos posted by people like you and I to explore.

Most of the videos I've sampled so far are short, shot by tourists, and rough. But a few videos are really nice - ones where the videographer simply stood on a street corner and looked around; no commentary and simply the sounds of the city.

If you're homesick for T-dot, follow the link above and maybe it'll help you feel a little better.

PS. For those of you who are curious, I am eeking still glacially forward in my move towards applying in the Skilled Worker class. It's a matter of savings right now and work is slow...I'm remaining faithful though, and hope still springs to life where doubt tries to plant a seed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

How I spent my Summer vacation

Ok - I think I'm back. Fall is officially here and that means that (once the weather really turns) there'll be plenty of excuse to be inside on this machine, seeking out and commenting on immigration issues and keeping you up to date with my glacial struggle (emotional and financial) to make a new life in Canada.

So how did I spend the Summer? Well, I travelled a bit, went camping, rode motorcycles, performed in a band at a handful of shows, did lots of physical labor and generally enjoyed a dry and warm season. I leave the summer feeling much more fit than I did entering it, and now I'm looking forward to Fall.

The emerging Canadian in me is looking forward to hockey season, and new episodes of The Mercer Report, 22 Minutes and Air Farce. Makes the typical bleak Fall and Winter evenings a little easier to bear.

Plus I picked up a gig that may help me significantly toward my financial goals required to get back in line.

So thank you, Summer of 2006 - you were a hoot.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New BnL release - get it today!

Ok - I haven't just had fun here for a bit, so let's lighten the mood! Barenaked Ladies have a new release and it's great. Follow the link below to check it out!

BnL were introduced to me by my ex and while I had been aware of them before, I didn't really get into them until the stories they sang connected with experiences in my own life. Now I can't hear them and not see some of the landscapes and heartscapes of Toronto that have become my own. This latest release is well worth some of your money!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

9/11 - the immigration legacy

It's been five years since that sad day that America was attacked. Five years since the towers fell in New York and the Pentagon was punctured; since flight 93 went down. Five years since this nation and many other Western nations began to live in fear.

While many in the press are summarizing 9/11 from the point of view of loss of freedom vs. security issues; or they are looking at the impact on health to the emergency responders at ground zero in NY; there is one impact I don't want to go unmentioned, and so tonight I decided it was a good time to mention it.

9/11 has made immigration more difficult than ever to both the US and Canada. It has taken away manpower and budgets that used to go to process cases. It has bred an atmosphere of mistrust in new immigrants. It has led to calls to close borders. It has empowered racist tendencies. There are calls everywhere for reductions in immigrants allowed in and a tightening of requirements that would even allow for application in the first place.

The dream of a free and open North America has been replaced with the dream of a big wall on our northern and southern borders.

9/11 has impacted all of us, but living in fear of the world through a bias against immigration can only harm us in the long run. Answering the call to secure our borders and biometricize the world in order to allow it access to us will lead to our econmoic and political undoing. Business is conducted where it is free to be so and business WILL migrate to those markets. In the arena of World Politics, our cries of freedom and liberty for all will be reduced to hollow rhetoric when viewed against our actions.

The greatest damage done on 9/11 was the freeing of the forces of fear. It has already done far worse to this nation than anything that happened five years ago.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Losing touch Part II

When I was in the thick of the immigration process with my ex, I wrote about losing touch with my US identity. I was so preparing for my life in Canada, that my life and what was going on here in my home in the US had fallen off the table. I wanted to be ready, to be culturally prepared as I could for the day I began to make my life with her in Toronto.

I wanted to be able to slip in without the media break-in period. So I used the web to keep up on the news on Pulse and CTV; I watched the CBC at 10pm (luckily, being close to Vancouver, it comes on cable); Rick Mercer on Tuesdays, Air Farce and 22 Minutes on Fridays...and of course...Hockey Night on Saturdays (which I know will remain a ritual, no matter what).

I kept up on my pop music at MUCH...I listened for Canadian artists and didn't hesitate to buy a disk I thought I might like. With the help of my ex, I learned that Jarvis Church (2002's "Shake it off" is a MUST) was really Gerald Eaton and discovered the Philospher Kings, Nelly Furtado, Sum 41, Remey Shand, and even Stompin' Tom.

I read books of humour, culture and history...The Star was (is) my homepage here on the web...

Now I find as my near term hopes of immigrating are fading, that I am losing touch with Canada too...I'm not as active in keeping current...maybe it's the Summer and how busy I have been...maybe it's a reflection of some current feeling of defeat and a little loss of hope?

Time will tell...

Monday, August 14, 2006

The doldrums

I am inert. My progress, glacial. My dreams, adrift. I am in fact, no closer now than I was months ago at making new application to immigrate to Canada. I've all but given up on reconciliation with my love, my ex...When we spoke recently about even trying again, her response was, "what? Another year...two? Do you expect I'm just going to wait and see how it turns out?" That pretty much counts "us" out of the process and counts me, and only me, in.

So, I slowly have to save to meet the requirements, and only when that is done, can I prepare to submit again. My Canadian future is mine alone again. I don't know if I'll mention my ex again in this blog.

I know my entries of late have been sporadic - mainly because I am simply trying to survive and keeping current with news and issues on the immigration front has fallen off a bit in urgency since I feel the real action is still a ways off.

As I get back on top of things and the Summer finally ends, I'm sure to get back to my commentary. As I slowly leave this love truely behind, I'm sure I'll also find my courage and optimism again as well.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! Watch for the Fall schedule to be chock-full of notes and news!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Checking in - process issues

Hi to everyone. Yes - I've been away, doing some travelling with my love and even back to discussing the possibilites of restarting our immigration process - as frustrating as it might be. In our case, the prospect of getting back in line for a PRP is one filled with doubt and dread. She's still not sure she can do it. Add to that the fact that neither one of us is in a place financially to afford it right now, and it seems like I'll be blogging about this, still, for a time to come...Hope your summer os going well. When the weather changes, I'll get back to more regular postings again. What are you doing in front of your computer now anyhow?!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Live Toronto web cam is history

Once upon a time, there was a webcam atop the building that houses the Panorama restaurant on Bay Street, north of College. I loved and used the camera very often to get a feel for what was happening, at the very least weather-wise, in T-dot.

A few months ago, I noticed the cam, which was accessible through the website, was mis-aligned - no longer pointing where it should. Then I noticed the camera had gone offline completely. No explaination at either the or Panorama websites as to what has happened to it.

I miss it. if you do too, write the good folks at and let them know.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Immigrants feel positive about their Canada, but troubles remain - Sharing a strong sense of belonging

Nice survey results article here noting the strong and positive connection Canadian immigrants feel to their new country. Here are a couple excerpts and I encourage you to read the artcile.

"Back home they say if you want to make a lot of money, don't go to Canada," he says laughing. "But if you want a peaceful, more civilized way of life, there is no place better."

"But there are several clouds on the horizon.

"Underemployment, discrimination and lack of cultural and political representation are immigration flashpoints reflected in the poll.

"The lack of recognition for foreign-trained professionals has made a cliché out of the Toronto taxi driver with a PhD. Employment is ranked as the most important issue governments should address among immigrants here less than 10 years.

"Although not a dominant sentiment among visible minority groups, a worrisome 37 per cent say they have personally experienced discrimination.

"About 50 per cent of visible minorities feel the mainstream media present negative stereotypes of many people from racial or ethnic minorities."

This isn't a "bad news" poll. All in all it gives and excellent and balanced view of the state of immigrants in the most populous of Canadian cities. Do yourself a favor and read the entire article for an up to date view of the immigrant experience in Canada.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The immigrant experience - racism in Canada - Welcome but unequal?

Good article here noting the experience of 3,000 Canadian immigrants when it comes to racism or un-equal treatment in their experience with government, services and employers.

It's interesting that racism is still alive and well in Canada, just like it is in the US. I guess it's no suprise that in the experience of new immigrants to Canada, the racism is subtle. Canada is a subtle country, after all.

Sometimes I am concerned about the discrimination I may face in Canada as a new immigrant. It doesn't concern me so much that I wont continue to pursue my dreams though. As in the US, racism is primarily excercised by a few ignorant individuals. The institutional experience of those surveyed is mushc closer to what is happening in a lot of western nations.

As the face of a nation changes, so does its biases. Maybe oneday those who have been most victimized will be in control, and maybe they'll be more understanding.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The frog and the pan of water - U.S. learns to live with less freedom

We, not the French, are a nation of frogs.

The citizens of the US, post 9/11 are like nothing more than mute, cowering amphibians sitting in a pail filled with the water of freedom, suspended above the fire of tyranny.

The current government keeps adding wood to the fire below, but not at a rate fast enough for the citizens to notice their freedoms evaporate. So the citizens don't notice. In fact, they encourage the government to add more fuel to the fire. This fuel is composed of fear and takes the shape of security.

Soon the water of freedom will boil and freedom will evaporate completely - but not before the citizens to whom it once mattered so much have all died in along with their freedom.

This article reinforces my desire to make a new life in Canada. Canadians are still wise enough to think for themselves - to protect their freedoms from their own government. The citizens of the US have forgotten who this country belongs to.

As a wise man once said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Canadians are Canadian - Political gurus explore U.S.-Canada split

The most interesting thing I found about this article didn't have to do with Al Gore's visit to the Mont-Tremblant, Quebec conference noted, but instead, the continuing work of Environics as explained by pollster Michael Adams. If you haven't read their book "Fire and Ice," regarding the differences between the US and Canadian peoples and how they view the world around them, do yourself a favor and get it.

What is clear is that far from being culturally absorbed by us southerners and our culture, Canadians remain distinct in their world view - one fostered by multiculturalism, tolerance, and a healthy skepticism regarding those who are given the gift of political power.

As Americans give over more and more power to their leaders; seeing dissent as un-patriotic; willing to trade freedom for security, Canadians continue to mature in a politically and socially more responsible manner - taking care of their own and promoting good relations with the rest of the world.

Beware Harper and any attempts to model Canadian politics and foreign affairs after the US model. Yes - it does bring power and wealth - but only for the few.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Summertime and the living is bloggerful

Hi readers...The Expatriate Mind will be slowing down for the summer (if you couldn't tell already) to get some much needed chores done, as well as focus and save and enjoy life! The posts won't be so frequent, but we'll definently keep you aware when something of note happens in the immigration front. in the meantime, I hope you all enjoy your summer too!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - Majority welcome immigration, poll shows - Majority welcome immigration, poll shows

This interesting article speaks to the acceptance of immigrants by the general public in many nations around the world:

"In the U.S. and Australia, just over half said immigrants are good for their country. In Canada — where immigrants are actively recruited — three-fourths said immigrants are a good influence."

Isn't it cool that Canada still leads the way in polls like this. Pat yourselves on the back, O'Canada - you set a good example for all nations in this area.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

You're not welcome here - U.S. ID plan turns Canadians off

The US does an amzing job beating up on it's enemies, but we also don't forget our friends. In this article, a recent seurvey of 1,500 Canadians finds that if the US enacts it's proposals for new documentation requirements for crossing the border, 50% of Canadians will choose to stay home rather than pay the fees and gain the documents required to comply.

What a great way to tell friends you aren't welcome here. Frankly, I don't know how we are dealing with this issue on the southern border. The US is so big, it seems like two different borders and problems.

I am obviously against anything that makes crossing borders harder. I wish it were easier. I wish all of north america was open to residents of Mexico, the US and Canada...what a wonderful world that would be...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Confused - what's new?

So my ex was back to visit last week and we had a wonderful number of days. She's simply the best, and I do still love her very much. Again we ponder what it means to our futures and again we are confused. I don't know that any answers are going to come soon, but I do have an answer in my heart for the question I pondered. At least for now, my dreams of immigration to Canada are still about her and I...I guess as long as she is in my personal picture, it will be the case. So maybe my answer is that I can't give you one. I want immigration to be about us and be about love. I am prepared for if it isn't and believe there are still many good reasons to make a life in beatiful Canada. But I haven't really had to make that choice, because the personal picture is so cloudy.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Federal Budget steps up to immigration issue (well, some)

Budget Speech (Budget 2006)

Well, the Federal Budget is in and there are three items within it that will impact immigration opportunities in Canada. From the Budget Speech:

"Mr. Speaker, this country was built by people seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They come here for opportunity, and contribute their culture, skills and energy in return.

This government will provide more help to new Canadians to get started.

Effective immediately, the Right of Permanent Residence Fee is reduced by 50 per cent—from $975 to $490.

We are increasing immigration settlement funding by $307 million.

And we are taking action to establish the Canadian Agency for Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Credentials. "

What do these choices mean to immigrants?

Well, reducing the Head Tax for ROPR is a start, but it should simply be eliminated. Immigrants are milked for money every place they turn. And you already know my feelings about the impact this head tax has on those living in disadvantaged conditions.

Immigration settlement funding...The Newcomer Settlement Program. Now this sounds good. You can read more about the areas of application for this funding at the Program's Guidelines page. All in all I like the idea of this program - my only worry is that too much of this money is heading to ad agencies for campaigns to make new immigrants thankful they were allowed in (j/k).

The best news is for the formation of the Canadian Agency for Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Credentials (CAARFC - I had to...). Properly developed and given authority, this agency could clear the way for new Canadians to contribute at the highest level and wipe out a protectionist white collar glass ceiling.

What's missing? Clearly funding to increase manpower and clear the lines of the 700,000 waiting to come to Canada. What's missing? Reform that will make the CIC more responsive to the needs of new Canadians.

Harper scares me, but he has delivered a Budget that intends to keep some promises to new Canadians. Let's hope good things come from this start.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Troubling Tories

Who does Stephen Harper think he is? Canada's answer to George Bush, seems to be the answer. Harper is showing a Bush-like penchant for controlling the media that was unheard of in the days of Liberal rule.

First we heard about no longer notifying the press about Minister's meetings. This was obviously done to control comments coming out of scrums when the meetings were over and avoid embarrasing answers to tough questions on policies from the minority govenment.

Next we heard that Harper didn't want his Ministers to talk to the press at all.

Now we hear that he doesn't want the press covering the repatriation of Canadian war dead (Tories rebuked over rules for war dead - Toronto Star).

I've warned Canadians time and again not to learn any lessons from the current US government. They are an evil bunch, sucking away civil rights in the name of security and slowly stripping the Bill of Rights from the Constitution.

Canadians need to fight back now, and frankly, step up to any opportunity for a confidence vote and put Harper to bed before he guts your own Charter.

There is NOTHING good about a secretive government. Harper is afraid of the light. He's trouble, and he's changing the way Canada is viewed in the world - not for the better.

Government accountability? It's hard to count in the dark, Stephen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The immigration head-tax lives on

Federal ministers consult head-tax victims

Good article here about the attempt to make right with Chinese-Canadian immigrants who faced generations of debt and years of separation due to a Federal head-tax policy in the last century. These immigrants from the late 19th to mid 20th century faced fees from $50 to $500 (adjusted to 2005 dollars, that's $1000 to almost $10,000) in order to immigrate and were excluded from immigration completely between the 1923 and 1947.

Funny how little things have changed.

If new immigrants can get through the system, they still face a tax at the border of about $1,000. They either must put these funds away well in advance, never knowing when the capricious CIC will rule on their case, or must come up with it in six-months after being granted landing. Don't come up with it; don't enter within six-months of being approved and you've lost your place. Start again.

Keep in mind just how much $1000 is to an individual coming to Canada from an improverished nation.

The head tax lives.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Losing a little touch

I have to admit, as I am trying to come to a conclusion in my heart about immigrating to Canada, I am also distancing myself a bit. Maybe it's to soften dissapointment? I used to be up on the day to day of what's happening in T-dot and Ottawa (which makes comedy Friday on CBC that much more fun), but recently I've fallen off and sometimes I'm not getting the references anymore.

Like Rick Mercer's Rant last week...funny...but I wasn't as dialed in. But is anyone dialed into the Liberal Leadership race?

Okay - now I don't feel so bad!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Listening to God

You should be grateful you aren't in my head these days. If you were, you'd be adrift in a bit of a sea of confusion. As I noted in the last post, I'm feeling indecisive. But more practically, I'm also still very, very short on having the kind of money I need to apply under the Skilled Worker class. Living in Seattle is expensive and this last year has not been one of the most profitable. In my worst moments, I feel like if God wants me to come to Canada, he'll make those funds available to me. It's a terrible, self-centered thought. Imagine making this some sort of test for God? Yes - I do that occasionally.

What I really need to do is seek His will for me in all of this. When I listen to the good part of my heart - the one where I know his spirit is - the answer is still "yes." But I also hear, "be patient." I've said before that this is something that if done, is done with a spirit of commitment. Coming to Canada isn't some experiment. And it's something that would change the rest of my life. When I remember that, I'm less impatient for God to put things in the order He wants them to be for me.

I'm going to use this time to research more and to be sure this truely is the desire of my heart, even if I'm alone. I have a feeling it is.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

More days of indecision

Awhile back, I asked myself some questions about my inent in coming to Canada. Specifically, I asked if it wasn't just about love. Again I am asking myself, could I go it alone? If I make it, can I make it alone? With other options available to me, is it the best or right thing for me? Am I trying to prove some point? Do I think that if I make it alone, something will change and love will come back? These are hard questions for an optimist. They are questions I don't want to ask, or maybe more accurately, don't want answers to. Is it still the same without her love? If it isn't, is it where I really want to be? Is my Canada really, above all, empty without her? Tough questions.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tories reveal job policy for immigrants - deportation - Tories begin deporting illegal workers

So it begins. The start of Stephen Harper's promises to Canadian immigrants. I guess if you can't do anything about leveling the playing field, the best thing to do is to create job openings. The Conservative solution? Deport.

Having delt with Canadian immigration for a few years now, I feel I can say with some reliability that things are very, very messed up in the Great White North. Let's recap some of the high points - and remember, these issues are not new - they are chronic:
  • 700,000 people in the line, growing each day, with no plan to address wait times
  • An expensive and complicated application process
  • Families separated by breaucrats with little check on their powers, and who operate outside of such accepted norms as "rules of evidence" in favor or fear and speculation
  • Evaluations and rulings that change lives made in 30-seconds or less
  • An appeal process that, if won, simply puts the applicant back in line again
It is no wonder that people enter Canada illegally to try and establish themselves. If the government does provide amnesty to illegal workers, will more come? Absolutely.

They'll come because it will be the only immigration policy that has a chance of working.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So far away

Fortune does twist and turn. Here I am, close to what I thought was the date I would reapply and do my best to come back home, when things have changed again. Since I am going at this alone, then I can only hope of sucessfully applying if I come in under the skilled worker class. The big hurdle I have is the $10,000 barrier - in order to apply, you have to show you have this amount of cash saved for your move to Canada in order to sustain yourself as you seek work initially (assuming you don't come in with a job offer, which in my case, I wont). I spent that kind of money on the Family Class's not in the bank right now. On top of that, lawyer fees (another couple thousand dollars), application fees, doctor reports, and on and on...Right now the resources to continue this journey are very far away.

I've been feeling down about all of this lately. Feeling very alone in this for the first time. The easy path would be to stop and say the dream of this new life died with our love. Just cast off my little boat of memories and let it drift away. I don't know if I can do that. My resolve will be tested, as I am working to save and thinking of ways to raise the money I need. I'll keep you posted as to how that goes.

Tonight, it's a sad journey.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Selection process - flaws? - Time to take a look at selection process flaws

My pal, Allan Thompson takes a look at some interesting data from Stats Canada in this article. Some of the high points include the following:

"The study revealed that about a third of male immigrants who were between the ages of 25 and 45 when they arrived in Canada ended up leaving within 20 years.

"And more than half of those who left Canada did so within the first year of getting here."

And he comes to some conclusions too:

"Notably, the recent StatsCan study shows that the immigrants most likely to stay in Canada are immigrants chosen for their family ties, or admitted as refugees.Does this data not suggest that family class immigrants — as a group, if not as individuals — might well be making more of an economic contribution to Canada than previously believed by virtue of the simple fact that they are here for the long haul?"

Allan suggests looking at the selection process to perhaps bring some balance back in, in relation to family class vs. skilled worker class applicants. He also suggests, "At the same time, we could revamp our approach to skilled-worker immigrants and have more flexible rules for the new kind of mobile migrant who regards Canada as a good place to work and live, but not necessarily the only good place to work and live."

I have to say, I have a bit of an issue with this. Making it easy to come and work in a country, I believe, is just the right thing to do for a strong and flexible world economy. But to grant the rights and privledges of residency, I believe an individual should have to make a choice and a commitment to Canada. I frankly don't even think about getting residency without then working to the next goal - citizenship.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fear of forms

Forms are such simple things in theory. You fill them out accurately, and that's that, submit them to someone, something happens. If only it were so simple when it comes to immigration forms. Each time the time comes to approach these documents, to be sure you've read all their requirements carefully (some forms ask to be written in ALL CAPS, for instance - don't send it in that way and it may be returned), and then...look into the soul of someone who is going to give you only a few seconds of their time to evaluate you...Each time I feel a little trepidation that I'm missing something critical.

Actually, that's what I fear more than the forms - those in power who will make a snap judgement that may not be in my favor and end up costing me perhaps another year and perhaps thousands of dollars if I choose to fight their decision.

The only counter to fear is faith. I can't spend my effort worrying about things that I can't control. I have to put my best into these forms, hoping to convince and overwhelm with positive proof, those that hold this opportunity in their hands. I have to trust that God knows what's best for me, and that he'll allow them to smile on me if He chooses.

I'm going to approach the coming months and my new application this way. It's really the only way I can and retain my sanity.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Recognition issue recognized - PM wants immigrants' skills recognized: McGuinty

Back before the election, I said given the choices, I would've voted Conservative. In the debates for Prime Minister, I noted that to my ears (now) Prime Minister Harper seemed to be the only candidate with ideas about immigration issues he was willing to promote.

This encouraging article from the Star gives me a bit of hope that Harper will perhaps be a man of his word on immigration issues, and it appears that the Provinces are getting in the pro-immigration line.

The reality of Canada's labor situation may finally be making itself known. Perhaps the Provinces finally understand that promoting economic growth by taking down barriers that all Canadians, old and new face in seeking employment where their skills are recognized is good for them.

Like me, there are many people in the world who want to come to Canada and make a life and contribute. Taking the steps that have been promised in recognizing foreign qualifications will go a long way toward helping new Canadians become established and insure that they are able to bring their best to their new home.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Getting Closer

The days are still flying by. In just about a month and two thirds, I'll be able to get back in line to see if I can take the next step in my journey to Canada. It's almost time to get off my ass and do more work, see about consulting a lawyer, downloading and beginning to prepare the next round of documentation; gathering documents and anything else that might be of help. There's always more to do than I think of, but I am used to the process.

Once again my faith is coming through. I always look for confirmation of my prayers, and the hopes I put to God in trust that he'll do what's right for me. He has recently given me a couple of good jobs. If I am frugal, the money I am making on them should cover the fees I am expecting in my next bid to come home to Toronto. WIth that said, I'll probably drop the donation link soon.

So CIC, here I come. I come in hope and I come in faith and I come with love and in peace. I hope this time you will welcome this pilgrim.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Google Earth and Video help you learn about and stay in touch with T-dot

For those of you who are far away from Toronto like I am, or even have never been there, there are a couple tools you should be aware of. They are from Google, and they are free, and they are oh-so-cool!

One is Google Earth which "...combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips." You can use it to explore Toronto, though it's coverage beyond the U.S. in terms of searching for addresses was a little limited last time I used it.

The next tool I just discovered today and it's called Google Video. Now what's cool about this is that you can find videos that have been published on the web by both pros and everyday people. Seach for "Toronto" and you'll currently find over 500 videos! Here's a sample:

Toronto bike ride
by ilya emilianov

12 min 44 sec - Sep 10, 2004
- a silent ride down Younge Street

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Beware private health-care - it's all about profits

CBC British Columbia - Private health-care debate heats up

Private care advocate pleased
Dr. Brian Day, who owns the largest private surgical clinic in Canada, says the government is simply responding to the wishes of Canadians who've grown tired of an expensive system that doesn't deliver.

"For many years now, we've been under this impression that we've got this wonderful system, but the truth has come home to roost," said Day.

Cambie Surgery Centre

Day could become the next president of the Canadian Medical Association. He is one of six candidates running for the position. The voting begins later this week.

John Lennon sang, "You don't know what you got, until you lose it..." and Canadians are going to be singing the same thing if they don't take steps to fix what they have for a healthcare program, rather than lose it to for-profit, private healthcare and insurance interests. If you think healthcare under the US private care system is "wonderful," you really have another thing coming.

Here's a little personal experience to help you understand. I was in a car accident. I needed to be checked out to be sure I wasn't messed up too bad. I could feel I had whiplash. So I went to the Emergency Room of a small local hospital, I checked in, waited an hour, had my blood pressure and pulse checked, saw a doctor for 10-minutes (tops), who wrote me a perscription for pain killers and sent me home. Cost? $620.00 for the visit, $50 for the meds.

A yearly check in with my regular doctor averages at least $500. I pay $100 a month in health insurance, but NONE of this activity is covered. If I wanted it covered, I'd pay $2-300 EVERY MONTH to the insurance companies.

Dr. Day happens to run a private clinic, where people who can pay, do pay to get to the front of the line for their treatment. I have a couple of questions for you to ponder tonight:
  1. Do you think he'll charge LESS if the government suddenly supports his private practice?
  2. Do you think it's in his interest to tell the public that Canada's current system is a good one?

Just remember the $1200.00 a year this American pays right now to cover only the most extreme health emergencies before you dismantle your current system. If you believe poor access is bad, what will you think of no access at all? Many Americans face that reality every day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A new twist: Part II

Maybe there's something about the air in Seattle...maybe there's something about reunions...something about the air and reunions that make you hope for a future you gave up on. I couldn't tell you. I, as you know from my posts, live in Hope and Faith.

Now, conversely, maybe there's something about the cold of Toronto...maybe there's something about being back in your own hometown and alone...something about the cold abd being back alone that reminds you of all the reasons why you gave up on that future you dreamed of in the first place.

That seems to be the case with my love. In the last few days, in our calls, she has begun to distance herself again...Let's face it, when someone choses to work, "I'm not your girlfriend, so I shouldn't really care..." into a sentance, it's not just by chance.

So the dreams I dream are again, mine alone. It was a nice fantasy while it lasted - that she might want to fight the good fight with me again - but sometimes we all end up fighting our fights alone, save for God by our side.

And I don't have to worry about Him leaving me.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Toronto Favorites

I was thinking of Toronto again, and thinking of my favorite places in my home away from home that I miss so much. I'm a City boy, so my list is pretty focused on places you'd find downtown. My home when I was with my love was downtown on Bay Street, and from that central location, my adventures always began either on foot, or by taxi. There isn't any special order or logic to my list - simply what is coming to my mind and my heart tonight...

  • Younge Street - from near the Eaton Centre to the South and The Bay to the North, this slice of the longest street in the world is packed with more variety and interest than you could imagine. There are toy stores; SAM SAM the record man and other record stores, large and small; yummy pizza, Spring Rolls, coffee shops galore, and don't forget the almond croisants; sports stores for both fitness needs and Leafs gear (go Leafs go!); strange little shops with questionable electronics at prices so good that you probably wont buy anything; and stores so expensive that you probably can't afford to buy anything at all!
  • Kennsington Market - this is a weird little neighborhood, almost like a hippie throwback, with houses truned into shops and fruit and veggie stands here and there and everywhere. I remember it hot and crowded and hard to park.
  • Nathan Phillips Square - A skating rink in the winter and a wading pool in the summer and a gathering place all year round. I love the modernist architecture, though the huge, unused concrete ramp is a real detraction. Rumour has it a remodel is in the offing. Maybe they'll make the rink big enough for hockey games, or maybe they'll make a skating path all around the square.
  • St. Lawrenece Market - I love this old place off of Front Street. The cheese shop is amazing and it's a lot like shopping at Seattle's Pike Place Market - lots of small local vendors. If you like the adventure of putting a meal together at a time, you'll love this place.
  • West Queen Street - I could adventure all day on Queen. From the cafe, "Sugar", back to where the street meets Nathan Phillips Square, there are more boutiques, cool shops (especially for me the vintage guitars at "Capsule") and yummy snacks than I can remember. This is an organic neighborhood at it's best. I hope it doesn't become too gentrified.

That's a start I guess. I think my lists are redundant, but I cycle these memories and they are always fresh and warm to me, like the croisants on Younge Street. If you're in Toronto, pick one up for me sometime.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A new twist

The Mind has been silent for a few weeks, but for very good reason...that being a twist in our tale of love and loss and immigration.

First a little background - My love and I never have stopped contact, even though we have considered things over. We speak almost every day still; the same with emails, and the cards and letters have still passed back and forth, presents for Christmas and birthdays...the way things should be if you still care.

We recently decided that it would be nice to see one another again, even though it has been many months, so we booked it, and it happened over this last week. She flew in on that familliar Air Canada plane from Pearson and I met her at Sea-Tac, Baggage Claim 15, as usual...except this time I didn't see her in the confusion of the crowd. She stood there until our eyes met..."Have I changed that much?" she asked.

So, how was the visit? Uncomfortable? Sad? No - it was fun and it was amazing, and we had simply the best time - the time we usually have, full of adventure and laughter and smiles and tenderness! So what does that mean? Well, we aren't sure yet, but it may mean that we are back on for April - at it together again.

We rediscovered that together, life is so much better! Please pray for us!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A better political system

So the Conservatives under Stephen Harper have won a majority and will form the next government of Canada. From a US point of view, conservative is probably a good thing. Bush probably is thinking (well, wait...does he ever think about Canada?), "I can work with this." What is fascinating from my point of view is the difference between the electoral systems in our two countries.

Here in the US, we vote for local, regional, state and federal positions including the Poresident. In Washington State where I live, voters are forced in advance to choose a party to vote for. In Canadian federal elections, voters can still make up their minds at the poles. In Canada, you vote locally, and it is the accumulation of local preferences that create the leadership position in Parliment. The leader of the party with the majority of seats becomes the Prime Minister.

I like this system. It really is democratic in the best (and in all fairness, the worst) sense. In my opinion, better than the US system. Why? Because look at the results: In Canada, there are four parties that must get along and agree in order to move legislation forward. This is good. It requires consensus. In the US, the limited two-party system results in a majority typically getting their way...for years...

The bad in Canadian political structure? A minority government (one without a clear majority) can fall at any time. Elections can come at very short notice. Bickering and the difficulty in reaching consensus can mean that getting legislation passed in a huge political challenge.

Still and all, the Canadian political system is one that I have come to prefer. I can't imagine Bush lasting through even one question period...and that's a sad commentary.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Chasing the dragon

First, a recap of the basics: Professionals looking to immigrate to Canada face huge hurdles - it's no secret. We are told by the government we are wanted, we are sorted and rated for our skills and qualifications. However, once professionals arrive, they find themselves limited by a lack of "Canadian experience" in their profession, or Candian credientials required by professional organizations that control accreditation. Thus, their skills are wasted.

Why is this and why can we expect that change wont be coming soon? It's simple. It's chasing a dragon. New immigrants are not citizens - they are permanent residents at best (temporary residents at worst). Because they are not citizens, they do not vote. They do not have a voice in government. Their issues do not directly drive the acquisition of seats in Parliment by any party.

When the minority of these new immigrants do succeed in overcoming the obstacles of integration into Canada, their political thinking and issues are no longer the ones they once shared with new immigrants.

When will change come? In this blogger's humble opinion, only when employment in Canada is in true defecit - when the shortage of trained professionals required to maintain economic momentum becomes chronic. When there are no doctors or nurses to be seen save for wait times that are perhaps double of what they currently are. When there are not enough skilled engineers to oversee infrasturcture projects that are causing true economic loss to those in power.

As long as the Canadian people, through fear or greed or worst of all omission of attention do not care about the skill and intellectual capital being wasted through the barriers imposed on eager immigrants, then nothing will really change.

And as long as nothing changes, immigrants will chase the dragon - that mythical creature that, if you could kill, would make everything better.

Friday, January 13, 2006

If I had a vote

Like a lot of Canadians, I have been following the election coverage. The Globe and Mail has a nice email update I get every morning, and of course, my evenings with Peter Mansbridge give me another healthy dose through the eyes of the CBC. Early overtures and common sense demonstrated by the Conservatives gave me a feeling that it may be time for a change in the Federal government, even if by a minority Conservative government, but now, weeks later, I'ave heard enough from Harper to scare me silly.

If I had a vote, it would be Liberal.

I owe even the shread of possibility that I have to oneday become a Canadian to the Liberal governments of the past that opened the policy doors to multiculturalism and to immigrants. Without their vision and compassion, I don't think we would recognize modern Canada. I believe that even while flawed, Liberals still represent the Canadian ideals I have come to love more than any other party.

I also believe in redemption. I don't think when someone makes a mistake that you exile them. I believe that the recent scandals that the Liberals have had to face head-on have served as wake-up call and a call to live up to the ideal of "good government" once again. Whereas the other parties see these troubles as an opportunity to strike, I sort of look at it like youwould a restaurant that had just had a food safety scare with the department of health on their backs - if you really think about it - that restaurant should be the safest place to eat!

so my best wishes to the Liberals. If you do manage to hold on or even if you don't - keep your commitments to immigrants and those wishing to make your country their home. We're all watching you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Winter to come

It's been awhile since I've been to Toronto, and over a couple years now since I wintered over there. With the unusual warmth this year, I'm not missing much of the cold and the snow that I associate with my time in the City I love. All I'm missing is a lot of people coming down with colds, or so it seems from the reports I'm getting from my friends.

I always look for signs and try to approach my life with faith. The sign I see in this Canadian Winter is that it's just not right that I am not there to spend it with my loved ones and God knows it. He is just telling me to continue to have faith, that I will be home one day - on His schedule and not mine, and when that day comes, and when that season comes - that Winter of homecoming, He'll make it beautiful and more than I could ever hope for.

My friends and I will meet again for a skate at Nathan Phillips Square, then off to dinner somewhere on Queen West. We'll head back to my place or one of theirs for something warm to drink and I'll take my place near some window with the same wonder I've had since childhood of watching the snowfall and hoping for at least a little while that it wont stop.

It will be so much fun. For now, I'm not missing anything!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Fundraising program begins - Donate now!

Well, it's come to this. I am making an appeal to those of you who regularly read TEM to help me out. If you have been informed, entertained, amused, upset or inspired by this here blog, then I'm asking you to help by hitting the button to the right and making a small donation to help with the cost of applications to gain my Canadian residency.

As you know, I have already put thousands into this effort and frankly, I'm tapped out. While I am doing everything I can to be ready in April to apply once again, I thought I would ask my public to chip in too. Once I have the basics covered, or am back on my financial feet, I will pull the program and believe me - it's hard to ask this of you all.

If you can help, then thank you very much. If you have ideas for me on other fundraising approaches I could take, please pass them on.

Thank you in advance for anything you can do. Remember, your donation is being used soley to pay processing fees to the Canadian government for someone who sincerely wants to become a a benefit to the society he has grown to love.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The price of admission is $975

The Globe and Mail: Martin pledges to repeal $975 immigrant 'head tax'

Well the campaign is back after a nice holiday respite. Martin is looking to shore up immigrant support by addressing an issue close to their wallets, and that's the entry fee that immigrants must pay after they have recieved their permanent residency permit and arrive at the border for the first time.

Fees are everywhere in the immigration process and they aren't cheap. In addition to a process which is unmonitored, expensive, mistake prone, defensive, and in some instances (such as those cases dealing with inadmissability) is not even required to abide by rules any other agency must adhere to; once you do get approved, there's one more little hurdle.

Now to those of us in the west, $975 may not seem like a lot of money. But consider the wages and the ability to save those wages for a moment: The Red Cross estimates that the average monthly wage of those people living in developing countries to be $17 CAD. If an individual from a developing country could afford to put all of their earnings aside to pay the current head-tax, it would take 6-years. Think about that.

Let's hope this isn't just another promise that wont be kept once the upcoming election is decided.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year - hope is all that's left

Happy New Year, everyone! This will be my year of hope, and it and faith are nearly all I have left at this point. I am running out of cash, and don't know even if I choose to, whether I could afford a lawyer or not to help me with my immigration quest, or at this point even afford the application and landing fees. Probaly because in the years gone by I have spent so much already...But those are years gone by and not this new year of 2006! In this year I will have faith and hope. God WILL find a way.