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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.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hockey Day in Canada

It's been "Hockey Day in Canada" all day today. For ten years the CBC has put together an all-day broadcast featuring three all-Canadian NHL match-ups and wonderful portraits of hockey's influence in communities across the nation.

I'm lucky enough to be able to see the broadcast here in Seattle, where it is available on both the CBC and the NHL Network in its entirety. I have to admit, it's bittersweet to watch. Its so revealing of the country I love.

To play requires many complex skills: skating, hand-eye coordination, strength, endurance, toughness, grace; and at its highest level, speed and unmatched agility. Hockey can only be played as a team - together. Beyond the athleticism, and though a worldwide game, so many Canadian qualities shine through. This is a country that works together to a common goal, and to do so requires the same strength, endurance, toughness and grace. Canada is proud to be the home of hockey. Canada loves its game.

Unlike many sports that are "me first" endeavors where individual accomplishment is praised above all, hockey is all about the team, the group, and at the heart of it all - relationships.

Like hockey, in Canada we're all in this together. That gives me incredible hope.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nights like tonight

Nights like tonight I miss home. I miss Toronto and my love. It's -11 outside. It's snowing. I remember the last winter we were together. This would be a night we would be out after dark, maybe doing some grocery shopping for dinner at Loblaws or Dominion. We would walk back to our apartment, so warm after the cold, after the wind snaking through the high rises, whipping up the snow. The apartment is warm and inviting. We cook dinner together as I watch the snowstorm, saying how beautiful it looks - and my love saying, "only until it starts to melt and get grey and messy!" She has a different view of the snow - but she's Canadian, after all. After dinner we watch a little TV, then its time to crawl into bed. She always goes to sleep first and during the quiet I count all my blessings and thank God for such a wonderful woman.

When I miss Toronto, it's this simple beautiful night that I miss the most.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Promises, promises

From an article in today's Toronto Star:

"Despite a much publicized promise nine months ago that Ottawa would expedite the immigration process for Afghans who risked their lives working for Canada, the workers, mainly interpreters, are caught in a bureaucratic maze."

Kenny makes a lot of statements, a lot of promises. The thing with a promise is - you need to keep it. After reading the article it's clear that this is program set up to fail for the Afganis who have supported Canada's war effort.

Read the entire article here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Canadian character shines through

Even Jason Kenny has heart. I know it might be hard to believe for those who are in the midst of their immigration applications, but it's true. The Immigration Minister's response to the crisis in Haiti, where thousands of children have been orphaned reveals that under the layers of his Tory armour, he's still Canadian after all.

"Haitian children are expected in Canada within days as Ottawa fast-tracks the adoption process for those where homes are already waiting for them, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday.

"We have already identified about 100 such applications (at different stages) ... in our system and we are working to contact those adoptive parents to let them know what we are doing," he told a news conference.

"I hope that we can bring these children to Canada within the coming days," Kenney said of those cases where there is evidence that approval has been granted by Haitian authorities.

The federal government will also provide temporary resident permits, waive fees and temporarily cover health costs as it steps up its efforts to bring orphans to Canada."

Read the article here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ottawa moving to fast-track applications for refugees and immigrants

Interesting article in the Star about the possibility of Canada making it easier for Haitians who are seeking family class or refugee access to immigrate. While there is no official word yet, speculation revolves around easing documentation requirements, and fast-tracking applications already in process. A huge logistical issue for applicants who are not already well into the process is the utter devastation - imagine trying to locate all the documents that the CIC wants to review. And how do you get police clearance documents when the police department is destroyed?

Read the article here

Friday, January 08, 2010

Immigrants are the new kids on the ice

Wonderful and heartwarming article in the Star to start the new year. I think this year I am going to try and broaden the focus of the site from immigration news, politics and personal news to also include more human interest coverage about the immigrant experience in Canada. I hope you enjoy this first reference of the year.

"Some of the players on George Webster Elementary School's hockey team are new to the country, and most are even newer to skating. Only two have ever played organized sports before."