My eBook, How To Immigrate To Canada For Skilled Workers: The Authoritative Guide To Federal And Provincial Opportunities is available now on Amazon and other online retailers. Get your copy of the essential guide to Skilled Worker class applications today!

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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shout out to Toronto Life

Every big city nowadays has a magazine or two to call its own that take on the job of informing residents and outsiders on the inside scoop for culture, news, restauants, trends, and on and on. Think, New York Magazine and Seattle Magazine...While never exactly accurate, they do have a certain pulse on what's going on.

Toronto's version of this is Toronto Life. I have been a subscriber to this monthly and I can recommend the magazine on a number of levels. First off, they cover news of the city in both a high and in depth manner. Always giving you an overview of the month's happenings as well as particular insight into topics ranging from the real estate market to health care to the arts, and on and on. You get to know the cultural movers and shakers and through their "Urban Decoder" section, even learn some interesting facts about the Big Smoke.

Additionally, the magazine has an extensive online presence where their articles are republished and that acts as far more than just a front for gathering new subscriptions.

If Toronto is your home or home to be, I encourage you to check them out at www.torontolife.com and pick up a subsciprion too. Their little red book guides to the best of the city are worth the price of admission alone.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seasons of change

Ok, so usually I use this blog to comment on immigration matters and border politics and US and Canadian news of interest to those in the immigration process, but, as news is sort of slow and because I don't want to go silent for the summer...let's talk about the weather!

So here in Seattle it's been miserable hot for days and is supposed to continue in this manner for the week. Yesterday we had temps around 30C and thunderstorms - by the middle of the week, we're looking at closer to 32C! And that's not even counting what you Canadians know as the humidex reading. For Seattle - that's HOT.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, my love informs me of flooding downtown, and in general it's been unusually cool and rainy this summer too.

I like to think that the heavens bring signs, and this changed season will bring a season of change in my life. That change being, of course, that I am reunited with my love in Toronto.

If you have a moment, say a little prayer for us. And keep an eye on the weather too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

US Homeland Security gone wild!

Canadian border news from an article in The Canadian Press:

"Montana Rep. Julie French, D-Scobey, said the federal government is pouring $15 million in economic stimulus funds into upgrading a border crossing in her district that caters to about 10 cars a day.

"They need to be updated, yes. Fifteen million? No. I mean, common sense is what is lacking for all of this," she said."


Doing the math, that equals almost $411.00 in border security spending for every car that crosses at this remote Montana border station.

Read all about it here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fortress America's impact at the Canadian border

Paul Berton, in an editorial in the Winnipeg Sun, writes about the increasing difficulties trade and visitors encounter at our mutual border. Here's an excerpt:

"It is often proudly called the world's longest undefended border, but it's not exactly true. There may be no military presence between Canada and the United States, but the border is increasingly defended by law enforcement and government officials.

"The trend bodes ill for Canada's economy, and is perhaps best symbolized by the rising wall of security and bureaucracy for cross-border tourists.

"As if the recession weren't enough, citizens (with a few exceptions) of both countries must now carry a passport to cross the border.

"Before the new rules came into effect this spring, tourism was already in a tailspin -- spending fell 1.3% in the first three months of this year, the third straight quarterly decline, making it the most prolonged downturn since 9/11.

"In fact, it was as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that both countries started spending millions to beef up border security, causing longer wait times, bigger line-ups, and a growing series of bureaucratic obstacles for visitors to both countries.

"Late last year, the number of trips into Canada from the U.S. plummeted by 5.9% to 2.2 million visitors, the lowest in more than a decade. How much worse will it get now?

"The problem is bad enough for travellers, but it's particularly acute for Canadian businesses that rely on American tourists, because relatively speaking, fewer Americans feel the need for a passport -- 30% compared to 54% of Canadians. "

Read the entire editorial here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ottawa's money shows where it's mouth is

If you read press releases from the office of the Minister for Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenny, you'd believe all was right in the world. You'd believe that Ottawa supports a positive immigration policy, and that they stand behind immigrants, recognizing their value to the country and the economy.

But then I read that this same Minister and his office have withheld over $190 million in promised funding to Ontario that was to be dedicated to immigration and integration programs. Additionally, Ottawa was looking to cut an additional $90 million from the $920 million dollar program (though this appears to have been reinstated).

Now, why would Ottawa be messing with immigration program funding at this time? Clearly this is a nod to the economy, but its also a bow to pressure from anti-immigrant voices in the country who believe that immigrants are bad for the country and the economy and that this spending is wasted, or better used to provide services to "real" Canadians.

It's time that those who were immigrants and are now citizens speak up for those who are most in need - which happen to be each other. According to the NDP, unemployment among immigrants who have been in the country 5-10 years have experienced a climb in unemployment from 8% to a current 16%.

Read the Star article here

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Dear Readers,
you may sometimes read this blog and think by the tone that I don't love Canada. I am fairly critical at times about the government and the CIC - I'll admit. But I LOVE Canada. In my mind there is no better country in the world, nor a country that more completely reflects my view of the world. Canadians are in general some of the nicest, most interesting people I have ever met and have a social willingness to help each other that is decidedly not like the rest of North America in a very positive way. I want to be one of them. I can't wait to be Canadian. But I have waited and I will wait.

God bless Canada, and God bless you this Canada day.

- J