wmtc day: four years of canada

It's wmtc day! Allan and I moved to Canada four years ago today. I looked up what I wrote last year at this time, and not much has changed.
When I think back to August 30, 2005 - driving through western New York State in the world's fullest minivan, Buster between us, Cody in a cave of boxes - it feels like a lifetime ago. And yet these three years have flown by, as time seems to move alarmingly fast, the older I get.

Not a day goes by that I am not happy and grateful that we left the US for Canada. Canada has turned out to be exactly what I thought it was: not a perfect world, just a better place.

And now, it is my home.

Next up: citizenship! We've got the forms ready to fill out. More on that as it happens.

This is all still true. Leaving the US for Canada was one of the best things we will ever do with our lives.

Not much has changed on the citizenship front, either. We applied in November 2008; in March 2009 we received notification from CIC that our application has been received and is in queue. It was a bit disappointing to see how long that one step took.

The queue letter said processing time is 8-12 months. With our immigration applications, the estimated times were longer than reality, for whatever that's worth.

I'd like to think the delay is down to an understaffed CIC and a slow-moving bureaucracy, rather than something more sinister. (CIC staffer, what do you think??)

In the 1980s, many of my activist friends - who, at the time, were all older than me - were paranoid about being spied on, even though nothing we were doing was even marginally illegal. They wouldn't talk our activities on the phone, and were always suspicious when a new person joined the group. My attitude was: Don't flatter yourself, we're not that important. Not that I knew we weren't being spied on. I just chose to proceed without fear, and not catch their paranoia, even if it might be justified.

Those friends had lived through the 1960s and early 70s, and they had seen ample proof that the US government did spy on activists - regularly and for no reason. And now I've lived through the early 21st Century, and I know it doesn't matter if my activism is legal or not. The government might take an interest anyway. No government can be considered free of that possibility.

It follows, then, that some wmtc readers have wondered if my writing critically about the Harper government, especially about Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, could reduce our chances of getting citizenship, or at least delay the process. Especially since we know the CIC does read this blog.

I'd certainly like to think that's not the case. I've done nothing illegal. In fact, I might be considered a model citizen, as I'm actively engaged in society. In my work on behalf of US war resisters in Canada, I stand beside the mainstream of Canadian society, including many Members of Parliament. But of course, I do actively oppose the current Government.

Is there something going on? We really don't know. Maybe our citizenship applications are taking the slow route through CIC channels because of my outspoken opposition to the head of that ministry. Or maybe "don't flatter yourself" is a more appropriate thought.

To be honest, I'm not worried either way. I want to be a Canadian citizen. I'd like to be able to vote one day. Meanwhile, we're here, living our lives. When it happens, it happens.

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