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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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Skating season is here!


Last night I was asking my Love, "I wonder when they are going to open the Natrel Rink at Harbourfront Centre?" So I looked on their site at the live webcam (see above), and what did I see? Skaters! This morning I was up at 6am, got bundled up, and walked over to the rink. It took me a little bit to get my feet under me again, and I did take one fall (the right way - on my butt), but after a short period I was skating again! So exciting. Nathan Phillips Square's rink will be open December 2, and I might go there a few times this year too (though it's usually packed), but having my rink open makes me so happy; makes the cold weather worth the struggle. I love skating!

If you are immigrating to Canada, I really encourage you to learn to skate. Want to learn? Hockey Canada has a program for you. It's great, fun exercise, it gets you outside during the long winter, and it's certainly a way to begin your cultural integration.

See you on the pond!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Star - Immigration ministry paid for media monitoring of Minister Jason Kenney’s image


Bruce Cheadle and Stephanie Levitz
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Department of Citizenship and Immigration spent almost $750,000 monitoring ethnic media over the past three years, including assessments of election campaign events and “perceptions” of minister Jason Kenney.

A series of contracts from March 2009 through May 2012 cost taxpayers $745,050, according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information law.

Those contracts state they were for work “monitoring key words and issues related to the department’s mandate.”

But the more than 7,000 pages of documents reveal the media monitoring went well beyond public policy issues related to citizenship and immigration.

“A series of interviews and appearances by minister Kenney and his representatives were strong contributors to the upswing in the ministerial image,” says a report from May 5, 2010, under a pie graph titled “Minister Overall Perception.”

The ministerial perception charts were weekly fixtures in the lengthy media monitoring reports in the spring of 2010, when the minority Conservatives were on a constant election footing.

And while the personal Kenney pie charts vanished after the spring election window closed that year, and were not reprised, the focus of the daily media monitoring remained profoundly political.

Read more

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vancouver Sun - Skilled worker immigrant backlog to be eliminated three years ahead of schedule


OTTAWA — The government is expected to eliminate a controversial, years-old backlog of skilled worker immigration applications by the end of 2014 — about three years ahead of schedule, Postmedia News has learned.

It means a plan to create a pool of would-be Canadians from which provinces and employers could cherry-pick newcomers based on labour market need as opposed to who applied first will also be in place sooner than expected.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is expected to make the announcement Friday.

“Employers are best positioned to decide who can best fill the open jobs rather than a passive and bureaucratic system,” Kenney said of the plan last spring. “It’s not about privatizing the immigration system, it’s about a more active role of recruitment for people so they have jobs when they show up. I’d rather have an engineer working as an engineer than as a cab driver. That’s really where we’re trying to go with this.”

Read more: 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Immigration Minister Calls on Regulators to Reduce Barriers for Canada’s Immigrants


Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is seeking the cooperation of Canada's self-regulatory organizations in making it easier for new Canadians to get licensed to work in their field in Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney attended the annual conference for Canada’s self-regulatory organizations (SROs) today and asked for their cooperation in helping recent immigrants to Canada become licensed in their field.

Read the article at CICS News

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election eve in the U.S.


This will be my first U.S. presidential election away from the country. I voted in my home state of Washington via absentee ballot a few weeks back. In general, states facilitate voting by those outside of the country by a number of methods. I had the option of a paper ballot or electronic one. I could submit my ballot via regular mail or by email (I simply needed to print and scan my completed ballot). I was surprised that I was able to vote a full ticket in my home state - just the way I would have had I been living where I lived before I immigrated.

The challenge for me as an absentee voter is that I did not receive a voter's pamphlet. This is a guide to the candidates and issues prepared by the state. So I had a long conversation with my brother about the ballot issues and candidates. We don't agree on everything, and in retrospect I feel like maybe the right thing to do in the future is vote with him on local issues. He's the one impacted by the results, not me. If he believes he shouldn't support a particular property tax, well - I feel like I should support that. On matters that do impact me directly, such as candidates for State and Federal election - I'll vote my own way on those things.

As a typical, independent Washington State voter, I supported candidates from both major parties and a handful of independents too.

Our own poll here at The Expatriate Mind shows Obama leading. But in the U.S. it's much closer, and democratic friends of mine are quite nervous. I guess we'll know in less than two days just where the American public's support is as a nation struggles with the ghost of its past and the vision of its future.