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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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The packing list - update

A few entries ago, I was writing about what I might bring to Canada when I immigrate at midsummer. I was going through my spreadsheet again, and I think I've reached a conclusion: I'm not going to take much. I think it comes down to just a couple basic categories of things that are going to make the cut: clothes, tools of my trades, and memories (photos, archives). I don't even think a lot of my Canadian library is going to make the cut. Media (CD's, DVD's)? Not sure. But I am sure that lots of household things are going on the block. It's sort of a freeing feeling. Whatever my love and I might need that we don't have and I don't bring, because let's face it, shipping is expensive - we can use the cash from the sale to purchase in Toronto. So now I have a plan - and a much shorter list.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The National Post - Kenney outlines changes to Canada's citizenship guide

Newcomers referring to Canada’s citizenship study guide will find new changes including sections that include an emphasis on Canada’s democratic principles, recognition that gay and lesbian couples have access to marriage and that forced marriage is not tolerated in the country, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced Monday.

Read the entire article

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fraser Institute gets it wrong on the value of immigrants

Academics. Sometimes they just get it wrong. According to a recent report in the National Post, The Fraser Institute, in its just-released report on the impact of immigration in Canada, concludes that immigrants no longer represent a net economic gain to the country, and in fact, represent a cost of $25 billion per year to the Canadian economy.

But the National Post wisely points out the many flaws in the limited logic of the report's authors, as well as posing the question of how the recommendations of the authors for curing this deficit would play out if they were applied to native Canadians as well.

"What of the many people born in Canada who never pay any taxes, yet use our healthcare system? By the logic at play in the Fraser study, a stay-at home mother or elderly married woman who was born in Canada but never worked outside the home should also be regarded as a drain on our economy. In fact, if state benefits were tied to income taxes, 40% of Canadians would not receive them, because they don't pay any. Yet these Canadians generally contribute to society in other ways -by raising children, doing unpaid work inside households or as future taxpayers."

Read the article here

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The National Post - Waive immigrant fees, court rules

"The Federal Court of Appeal has opened the doors to indigent immigrants by forcing the government to consider requests to waive application fees from would-be immigrants who claim they can’t afford to pay."

Read the article here

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What I'll miss

This morning I got to thinking about what I'm going to miss once I immigrate to Canada in just over two months. Some of the things are going to be profound, no doubt - some, more everyday; but in thinking about them I'm realizing the scale of the adjustment I'll be making in my life.

The low-hanging fruit have to be family. I've lived near my mom and dad, brothers, sister, cousins all my life. Never more than an hour or so away. If something came up and I was needed, I could be there in a flash. That wont be the case soon. I expect to deal with a lot of feelings around not being here to help when called upon. I just wont be called upon. It's the same with just can't help but lose touch when you are 1750 miles away, and in another country.

I'm going to miss Seattle and everything familliar about it. I've lived in or near the city my entire life and I've been both a participant in and witness to its changes over the years. Now I won't be aware of these things. I'll become a time-traveler - a Rip Van Winkle. I'll awake every few months to a new city that I'll see as changing dramaticly while I'm away.

I'm going to miss America. Yes - that's right. I like this country a lot. But I am not insensitive to the fact that I will soon be what was best termed by Garrison Keillor as "illiterate in two cultures". I'll be learning Canadian culture and losing touch with American culture. While there's more and more in my mind to dislike in a country as profundly unjust as America, it is my home, and its highest ideals are some of the best that I hold.

More mundane things? Dick's Drive In...Frisco Freeze...the teryaki place down the street; the Vietnamese market; the view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day across Puget Sound; the quiet of Pike Place Market on a weekday morning.

I am excited about the future. I love Toronto. But there's a lot I'll be missing here. 

Sunday, May 08, 2011

He only arrived with one suitcase

One of the big issues I'm facing as I prepare to immigrate is what to bring into Canada with me to start and what to follow later. Upon landing, a new immigrant is required to present:

  • Two (2) copies of a detailed list of all the personal or household items you are bringing with you

  • Two (2) copies of a list of items that are arriving later and their money value

  • These must be items that you already own and not things you bought just prior to moving to Canada. You account for these items on Forms B4 and B4A.

    So I've got my lists together now and I'm looking at them and the question comes - do I really need to take all this stuff? Where are we going to put it? Should I sell what I'm not taking? Will I want it later? These are not decisions free of stress. I'm finding most of what I really want to take with me isn't stuff like blenders and TV's and such - most of it is like my history - photos and archives and all that. The other stuff, if my love doesn't already have it for her (our) place, it would be fun to get it together, rather than have her inherit my old things.

    So tonight I'm feeling like I'm leaving this land and I can't take much with me, so I'm asking myself, what's really important? It's a tough question. It's part of the adjustment.

    You know how you read about the classic immigrants tale - "he only arrived with one suitcase...." Well, there's a reason for that. It's near impossible to bring your life with you. What you can pack in a suitcase may be all that fits. I'm going to have to pack carefully.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    Canadian election aftermath

    I watched last night with millions of others in Canada and the U.S. as a sea-change occurred in Canadian politics. Stephen Harper and his Tories achieved a majority in Parliament; Jack Layton's NDP took over Quebec and more than doubled their number of seats, becoming the official opposition; and Michael Ignatieff both lost his seat and saw his Liberal party decimated in the process - reduced by 31 seats in the GTA alone. And let's not forget Elizabeth May becoming the first member of the Green Party to be elected to office in all of North America.

    So what does this mean to immigration? Unfortunately, it can be viewed as a validation by Canadian voters of the Harper/Kenney policies which have increasingly focused on immigration primarily as an economic driver for the economy. In this model, issues of family reunification have been set aside in favour of a focus on temporary and skilled workers who come into Canada with minimal risk (usually with a job in hand) and in the case of temporary workers, minimal commitment.

    On the plus-side, the NDP will hold the Tories to the fire and to the spirit of Canada's core immigration values. Layton will be a vocal critic when Harper and his cronies stray too far. But the trouble Layton will face is that with the Tories in majority, the NDP has no practical power - yet.

    Canada's leaders do have a history of being responsive to their population. With that in mind, even if you don't agree with the results of the election the best thing you can do is stay in touch with your Member of Parliament and let them know which policies you believe they should support. If you are an immigrant and citizen, you can help others who are currently in the shoes you once were by advocating fair and balanced immigration policy.

    I am looking forward to a few years down the line when I will be able to vote in Canadian elections and put my vote where my mouth is. Canada's great democracy underwent a sea-change last night. It will be exciting to see how this new future develops.