a reader writes

I get email on a regular basis from Americans interested in emigrating to Canada. It seems to come in bunches - nothing for a weeks, then three or four at once. This one was particularly moving. I'm omitting some personal details and some embarrassing (though highly gratifying) praise of wmtc.
I just wanted to tell you that I'm happy to have stumbled across your blog in the course of my research. It's been very informative and has given me some hope that I'll be able to somehow get my family out of the U.S. I greatly appreciate your unapologetic tone and the way you are able to articulate the reasons for your departure. People like to talk a lot of shit about departing these shores but they can never back it up, know what I'm sayin'?

Since January of 2004 I've been looking for a way to emigrate to either NZ or Canada. After 11 months of researching NZ immigration requirements I concluded that the expense, difficulty, and distance from family would just be too much to deal with. I keep tabs on the situation to see if things could shift in our favor; however with Winston Peters being appointed the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and the weakening of the Labor Party, I'm feeling doubtful about any liberalization of the immigration process.

So Canada... . . . It's way too cold, but democracy...Hey! What a novelty! . . . I cannot yet figure out how to qualify under the skilled worker category as I don't have quite enough points and quite the right job description. My main problem is that I dropped out of university and I lose out on a lot of potential points because of that. I'm gonna keep working on it though-I may go back to school and finish my degree, making sure to include some French courses to improve my proficiency so that I can gain some more points on my application.

I've resigned myself to the fact that it is a process of two to five years, possibly longer. I just try to take things in steps, paying off [debt], saving money, finding a way to go back to school, looking for different skills I can pick up at work, learning more computer programs, etc. Just trying to keep myself from getting overwhelmed and just chipping away at things. My mother was an immigrant and I think the whole task before me scares and depresses me sometimes. We used to spend some time at the INS office, let me tell you.

When I remind myself why I need to do this the task becomes easier. We are firmly entrenched in Iraq. I believe we will eventually be instituting a draft in this country. I have a 19-year old sister who speaks, reads and writes Arabic, a 16-year old brother and a 14-year old sister and I will not let them be killed by the psychopathic criminals who comprise Bush's administration. No. If there is any way I can position myself in another country where I can harbor them for the duration of the war, I will. Their friends can come too, and I don't give a shit if I'm prosecuted for it.

I have a three-year old son. If it's not this war it will be another war and then another war...Syria, Iran, who knows where. Do you know what I mean? I cannot even say these things to other Americans-the citizens of this country are just delusional at this point. I cannot even bear the thought of such things coming to pass, yet I fear they might. Cheney and his bullshit..."decades of war"...well, I had a crying jag over that one. Insane.

My father served eight years in Vietnam. He thought he was going to be drafted so he went voluntarily in order to have a choice and not be put into ground combat. I can say from personal experience that war has effects that last a lifetime. The people who are sending the troops to die don't care. To them, other people's children are disposable objects.

. .. I simply cannot find a way to do that and provide an adequate upbringing for my son. And so, I need to remove myself from the equation completely and take my education, skills and child elsewhere. No matter how long it takes.

Thanks for providing a good example for working class people-people who aren't lawyers, IT professionals, academics or corporate managers, people who don't have equity from the sale of their homes because we could never own homes in a million years, people who don't have tons of savings or immigration lawyers, but who DO have a conscience. . .
Pretty amazing, huh? Here's an excerpt from her second email, after I wrote back.
You know, what I wrote yesterday was only one aspect of why I want to emigrate. There is also the issue of healthcare, which I currently have but could easily lose, the affordability of university education for my son, and also what I perceive as being more of an acceptance of multiculturalism. My family is multiethnic and this is an important issue for us. The United States is a racist country. I have dealt with that fact for three decades and I'm done with it. I am just done with it. I realize that Canada is not perfect and that all of these things are subject to change but I don't think it will ever be quite like the U.S. And that's good.
You know, the one thing these emails all have in common is the expression "You've given me hope". "Your blog gives me hope." Interesting how in the GNOTFOTE, so many people need hope - that they can get out.


Anonymous said...

Wow. It moves me greatly that people have such passionate reasons for choosing to live in the country I was born in. I love Canada, and am fiercely proud of my nation, and am always humbled when I hear the struggles or bureaurocratic hoops that others must go though in order to live here. Every day I am thankful that my mom chose to immgrate here hereself, rather than Miami or London like so many other of her relatives (she's originally from Jamaica).

Thank you for posting the excerpts of your correspondence -- if you speak with her again, let her know that not all of Canada is cold. As Im sure you've discovered, Toronto can be blazingly hot in the summer time, and our Spring and Autumn, while very mood-swingy, are also known for their pleasant temperatures. It's just December through March that you really have to watch out for :)

laura k said...

Kelly, thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts.

You have a great-looking blog. My mother is a champion knitter and I can never quite believe knitting has become so hip!

Anonymous said...

What can I say...you gave me hope too :-)

melusina said...

It is a wonderful thing to give people hope.

But I never thought I'd see the day when people needed hope desperately to get out of the U.S. And they are right to be afraid, and to want to protect their children, and to realize that they can get a better life for their family elsewhere.

I got lucky, but it wasn't planned this way (just to get out of the U.S.). I miss America, I miss the land and the people, but I won't be going back for awhile.

Ah, it saddens me too much.

RossK said...

One teeny-tiny wee bit of extra hope for those who are worried about the cold.

Come to the Left Coast Of Canuckistan!