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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, October 27, 2011

Waterloo University presents, "The Canadian Index of Wellbeing"

The Globe and Mail - Ottawa moves to curb marriages of convenience

"The suspicions started when the same relatives showed up again and again in wedding photos. Then came the elaborately staged – and entirely fake – wedding receptions.

Now, as Canadian intelligence officials working in China, India and other foreign missions are locked in a cat and mouse game to nab immigration fraudsters, Ottawa is preparing to unveil a new “conditional” immigration status to curb marriage fraud."

Read the article here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Eh?" vs. "Huh?"

My Love rarely says, "Eh?". Save from when she's telling that old joke, that is: "How do you spell Canada? C-eh-n-eh-d-eh." Now myself, being American and all, I say the equivalent, "Huh?" all the time. So what's the difference?

Is it what they mean?

Eh - According to the Wikipedia summary: The only usage of eh? that is exclusive to Canada, according to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, is for "ascertaining the comprehension, continued interest, agreement, etc., of the person or persons addressed" as in, "It's four kilometres away, eh, so I have to go by bike." In that case, eh? is used to confirm the attention of the listener and to invite a supportive noise such as "Mm" or "Oh" or "Okay". This usage may be paraphrased as "I'm checking to see that you're [listening/following/in agreement] so I can continue." Grammatically, this usage constitutes an interjection; functionally, it is an implicit request for back-channel communication. "Eh" can also be added to the end of a declarative sentence to turn it into a question. For example: "The weather is nice." becomes "The weather is nice, eh?" This same phrase could also be taken as "The weather is nice, don't you agree?".(more)

Huh - This is described much more succinctly by Merriam Webster: used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply. (more)

Americans joke about Canadians, or imitate them by adding strings of eh to sentences, but the reality is that it's far more common in my experience to hear huh in America than it is to hear eh in Canada.

But maybe in both countries I'm simply hanging with the wrong crowd, eh?


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Immigration is expensive

I often get asked what it cost me to emigrate from the U.S. to Canada. A lot of people have no idea what they are getting themselves into when they start this process. My case is probably special in some regards, because my Love and I have what is recognized by Canadian immigration law as a "conjugal" relationship. It's also not so special in that we initially got some bad advice from a paid consultant. That led to the expense of a failed appeal and then a totally other immigration application. All the while, we maintained a long-distance relationship, involving many flights back and forth across the country.

As to the core costs - applications, consultant, interview travel expenses, eventually an immigration attorney; we spent around $10,000. To maintain our relationship by actually seeing each other while we were in limbo, and without getting into the nitty-gritty of expense, let's count only the last four-year round: about 30 flights at $500 per round-trip - $15,000. Phone bills? Let's add another $1000.

Now, I'm not counting vacation travel (though it was way more expensive because we were apart) or anything that could be considered optional-expenses (like sending presents and cards and such to each other), or even the non-optional cost of maintaining two separate households; but you should be aware that there are of course lots of other expenses in maintaining an immigration case and a relationship from a long distance. Still, I figure on the low side from the numbers above that my immigration to Canada from the U.S. cost us upward of $26,000.

This seems like a lot of money - and it is: but its not too hard when you are paying it out over the course of a few years as we did. It just adds up is all.

I provide this information so those who may be thinking about following my lead in family class immigration understand the financial magnitude of the effort. Immigration to Canada is not easy and it's not cheap. Attorney's fees only start with a flat rate (and that's for proper filing of forms). If you get into anything complicated and actually need their guidance and advice, be prepared to pay. The fees paid to the Government of Canada are really the smallest part of your expense. Be sure you're prepared for the long haul before start down this road.       

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sweden thinks we do immigration right

"For decades, Canadians have looked to the Swedes for inspiration. There was Ottawa’s campaign to get lumpy 30-year-old Canadians to be as fit as “the 60-year-old Swede.” There are frequent calls to imitate Stockholm’s environmental policies. And, of course, there’s hockey.

"But in recent months, the tables have turned. Policy circles in Stockholm have been dominated with talk of adopting “the Canada model.” That, in fact, is the title of a widely discussed new Swedish book titled Kanadamodellen – “The Canada Model,” which urges Sweden’s governments to start making things look more like their Nordic fellow on the other side of the Atlantic."

Read Doug Saunders' article from The Globe and Mail

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Holiday Season

I celebrated my first Canadian Thanksgiving IN Canada this weekend. It was a wonderful time. I was down on the Niagara peninsula with my Love and her family. We had a quiet weekend that included long walks in the woods, plenty of good food and good company. The walks were a highlight for me. I spent a lot of my time waiting to come into Canada reading the history and literature of Ontario, and the Niagara region is ripe with it. Being in those woods in the Fall, with the colours changing and the leaves underfoot, I was reminded of the books I read on the pre-confederacy period, of when the country hadn't yet been born. It's so beautiful and solitary in places. Easy to see the inspiration that the Canadian woods have always evoked over time. We watched the sun rise over a small lake and I thought about how grateful I was that Canada valued this land enough to be careful with it, so I could enjoy it.

In the US, it feels like people are everywhere. In Canada, it still feels like there are places where people are scarce. I like that even though I live in one of the largest cities in North America, I can still quite easily get away from them if I want to.

The holiday season is here. I hope your Thanksgiving was a nice one. The weather is turning this week. Winter reports from Ontario can't be far off. The Maple Leafs are 2-0...what's not to celebrate?   

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Risky Move to Securitize Immigration - Nick Van der Graaf

"It says a lot about the new Conservative majority government that the first government bill up in this session is Bill C-4, the “Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act” – a law that poisonously conflates immigration and security issues. Written in the aftermath of the arrival, in August 2010, of the MV Sun Sea with nearly 500 Tamil refugees on board, Bill C-4 mandates, among other measures, that all groups of refugees who arrive on Canada’s shores through irregular means must spend a year in detention before a judge even hears their case. This, of course, includes children. Exceptions to this process, or lack thereof, are solely at the discretion of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, currently Jason Kenney."

Read Nick's entire article here