Last night at the bar after our Perl Mongers meeting, a guy who's new to town explained that his young son is soon going to have five citizenships.

He's German, which passes to his child.
His wife is British, ditto.
His wife's parent is Jamaican, which passes to her child.
The son was born in the United States.
They will soon be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.
None of the five will require relinquishing any others.

After hearing a few stories from [ profile] tbiedl, I'm sympathetic for the bureaucracy this family may go through.

I wonder how much this is the Canadian experience: they tried to settle in the US some years back, but were denied citizenship; they went back to Europe, but decided they preferred North America, so Canada was it.

Land of the Loon

Saturday, 23 June 2007 11:55 pm
Friday's citizenship ceremony was a reasonably banal exercise in officialdom (not High Officialdom, but certainly not minimal either). The judge was the same man who presided over [ profile] melted_snowball's citizenship last year. There were 48 New Canadians, from 20 countries. Unlike d's, there was no one from Iran or Afghanistan. The judge spoke at length about the importance of being citizens. Karen Redman, the MP for the downtown area (but not for us), spoke and handed out our citizenship packets.

They gave us pins celebrating this being Canada's 60th year of citizenship. That still catches me; 61 years ago, Canadians were all British subjects.

Because some of the new citizens were from part of La Francophonie (Senegal?), we affirmed our Citizenship in both English and French. Apparently they only do the French during an English-language ceremony at the judge's discretion, plus they have less frequent French-language ceremonies as well.

In case you're curious: the Oath of Citizenship goes like so: "I affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen." "J'affirme solennellement que je serai fidèle et porterai sincère allégeance à Sa Majesté la Reine Elizabeth Deux, Reine du Canada, à ses héritiers et successeurs, que j'observerai fidèlement les lois du Canada et que je remplirai loyalement mes obligations de citoyen canadien."

My parents took us out to lunch downtown, and my mom said she wants to go see a US Citizenship ceremony to compare. We expected that it would invoke the flag more, and likely involve a metal-detector.

On the whole, the ceremony was less of a big deal than graduation, but more of a big deal than turning 30. For me, the real big deal was Friday night, when we had something like 30 or 35 people here for the party!

What a lot of fun, from start to end. The only real disappointment was not having enough time to spend with everyone- it felt like a very short 5 or so hours to me!

Our old neighbours David and Lesley (and kids L. and A.) came. ..We'd really like them to be happy in Toronto, but we're doing our best to influence them to move back here. David's first comment was, "So this means that if you've sworn allegiance to the Queen, if we badmouth her, you have to beat us up?" Um, no. But since we're pacifists, must we have someone else beat them up? This led to the question of who at the party had actually sworn allegiance, versus being born in Canada or moving here as a kid. I've done a quick run-through of people at the party, and unless I'm mistaken, I think the only people who have declared citizenship were Karl, Jennifer, and Dan, all three of us Quakers. Huh. So I wonder whether there were any other declared Canadian citizens at the party?

You lot didn't drink as much as we expected. I am terribly terribly disappointed. Also, my parents weren't scandalized, though I don't know where they were during the Cleavage-Off that eventually went on in the living-room. Heh, I think I was talking to my Mom then, as she was trying to figure out who she'd just been talking to. My parents were both convinced I have great friends, and I'm certainly inclined to agree. If you were there and I didn't introduce you to my parents, I'm very sorry- I had tried to make that work.

What a great way to end the party; chilling with about fifteen of you LJ lot in the living-room, complete with back rubs and mellow conversation. Have I mentioned recently how grateful I am to have friends like you folk?

And additionally, a public thanks for all your party contributions.

Notable at the moment: [ profile] fuzzpsych's record album whose title (and soon, image) are at top of this post. :)

A Party

Saturday, 23 June 2007 10:43 am
Holy cats, but that was a party.

Thank you all for coming, and I will write more later. Thank you. I feel well citizenized.

That's that.

Friday, 22 June 2007 01:30 pm
I'm official.

Now, time for a nap.


Friday, 1 June 2007 10:30 am
My citizenship ceremony isn't scheduled yet. I went downtown and sat in their big marble waiting room until they released a few more morsels of information, which I'm adding to my meger collection.

Summary: My best guess, I'm probably becoming a citizen the last two weeks of June. Or the second half of July. )

I was grumpy about the general runaround, but biking to the office in the light rain helped me feel better. And I stopped at Home Hardware, which always makes me feel better. ;)
I went to the Citizenship office this morning and learned that I'm not gonna become official in the next three weeks. The officiant for June hasn't booked his ceremony-dates yet, so they haven't scheduled our ceremonies yet. I might learn this week. Maybe.

I suppose this was a good use of 45 minutes of my time, because my parents were worried about some dates in May, and originally there might've been the chance it would happen while dan was away or the day he came back!

In passing, I'd like to note that I would happily trade in the part of my sinuses sensitive to air-pressure changes. The fun started a few years ago, and has gotten slightly more pronounced over time. I'm not ecstatic about the superhero trait of being able to tell when it's gonna rain that day even if the paper weather says it won't.

Things that are Good

Tuesday, 17 April 2007 12:53 pm
[ profile] melted_snowball home again. For a whole two weeks, and one of them is full of Open Ears. Which starts in exactly a week. Yay.

Good excuses for staying up late.

6 days 'till my citizenship test.

Biking to work instead of driving.
The recent UN report on climate change released in Paris last week seems to be affecting Canadian politics much more strongly than those in the US, though I was interested to see that the NYT article on that report is currently their most emailed and blogged story. But not so for a few other papers I just looked at, namely the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the LA Times. (Chosen somewhat unscientifically).

It's frustrating that this seems to be an "elitist issue" as much as ever in the US; and the Associated Press seems to be casting the report as a French statement, highlighting Chirac's statements, when the Canadian papers (Globe and Mail, Toronto Star) are casting it as an international coalition of scientists, as it seems to be from looking at the actual report.

Anyway, the environtment and advance notice about this report has been front-and-centre on the Globe and Mail for the last two weeks, and according to their reader polls, Canadians have plunked Climate Change at (or near) the top of their list of governmental priorities. This has made for an interesting political football, since the current minority government was elected on a platform of not particularly caring about the environment, including proposing to pull out of the Kyoto Agreement, and now Harper is scared of not looking green enough.

I liked an article I read in yesterday's Globe and Mail. It showed up in the Business section of all places. I think the author hit the essentials that politicians should consider, for the near and long term.

I would love to send something like the following to federal, provincial, and local representatives. (A major problem is that I can't vote here at all, so the first paragraph is disingenuous, at least for the time being).


Yesterday's Globe and Mail had an article by Eric Reguly with five suggestions for a Canadian response to climate change. These are great ideas, and I would sincerely like to be able to vote for whoever was able to make all of them happen.

  • The first point is essentially that increasing gas taxes would be political suicide. Instead, mandate increased product standards. We should be using the technology we have. Mandated standards would push development of better technologies.

    The remaining four points are excerpts from the article:

  • Rail, not roads: Canada was built on the railway. It's time to recreate it. Shipping by truck emits five to eight times as much greenhouse gas per tonne of freight than rail. Shifting the freight onto rail for medium- to long-haul routes would work wonders for the environment, for highway safety and for infrastructure maintenance budgets; it is trucks, not cars, that do the most damage to roads.

  • There isn't a road built on the planet that cured traffic congestion. They're highly skilled at achieving the opposite. Keep the maintenance budget and axe the capital budgets for construction. In the latest fiscal year alone, Ontario's construction budget was $1.4-billion, up from $1-billion in 2002. Imagine if that money were put into public transportation.

  • Insulate homes: Mr. Harper's Tories killed the EnerGuide program, which paid for home energy audits and reimbursed owners for the cost of better insulation, more efficient furnaces and the like. Realizing their mistake, they have just launched a program inspired by EnerGuide. But it's not ambitious. An ambitious program would retrofit all of Canada's 1.6 million or so low-income households. At, say, $5,000 a pop, the bill would come to about $8-billion.

  • Kill ethanol: In Canada and the United States, ethanol, the fuel additive made from corn, consumes vast amounts of taxpayer subsidies. If ethanol were the miracle cure for greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels, the expense might be worthwhile. But, at best, the environmental benefits are inconclusive. It would be far better to divert Canada's hundreds of millions of dollars of ethanol subsidies to technologies of proven environmental benefit.


    I can't say I disagree with any of these, and I'm glad to see them appearing in the Business section of the more conservative national paper. [ETA: hm, not sure why I just thought the G&M was more conservative than the Post. Must've been thinking of the Star? Donno.]

    The complete article is behind the globe and mail's paid subscriber wall. The rest of the article is mostly lightweight. But give a shout if you want a copy.

    I wish I thought the Canadian government were sincere about making real change. But, even more, I wish that citizens in both the US and Canada had the political will to elect politicians to make real change. I don't think that's there yet really, in either country. (In a month, will climate change be replaced here by Quebec as the biggest issue facing the nation? Or US relations? Sigh.)


Tuesday, 23 January 2007 12:12 am
Blame America... and oh yeah, the Jews is a review in this week's Globe and Mail Books section, of a new book, Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America by Andrei Markovits. The book sounds challenging: how opinion of the US in Europe has been prejudicially negative (giving a number of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" examples, such as broad public protests in France and Germany against both US globalization and US protectionism). Part of his thesis is that Europe resents America for the dependence Europe had on the US after WWII; and for the changes the US has wrought in Europe since.

But the most challenging part to the book is possibly the chapter on the connections between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, in part due to the US's support for Israel, and due to a belief that the US is run by Jews.
Markovits argues that "all the historical ingredients used to demonize Jews are simply transferred to the state of Israel, which -- in the standard diction of anti-Semitism -- behaves Jew-like by grasping for global power, exhibiting Old Testament-like (pre-Christian) vengefulness. It bamboozles the world, as cunning Jews are wont to do, extorts money from hapless victims who have been fooled into seeing the Jews as victims, exhibits capitalist greed and, of course, indulges in constant brutality toward the weak. Israel thus becomes a sort of new Jew, a collective Jew among the world's nations." And that reinforces anti-Americanism, and vice-versa. Ugh. Markovits points to recent and rising cases of anti-Semitism among the European Left, and I'm a bit worried he knows what he's talking about.

Ultimately, too, I don't understand nationalism terribly well; this was drilled into me some time ago by [ profile] zubatac as he tried to explain the nature of Croatian nationalism as a small country within Europe. But since coming to Canada, I do feel a bit... I guess defensive is the right word, sometimes, when the conversation turns to US offences; which might be very similar conversations to the ones I'd be having back in the US, but the difference... I can see this as a bit of nationalism.

I guess I'd like to understand anti-X-ism better, where X isn't a personality trait or a religion, but rather an entire country, and possibly against the people who live there.

I hope to read this book, even if the cover looks totally stupid, and also the author has received laurels for writing a semi-scholarly book on Soccer and American Exceptionalism. Maybe I'll wait for the NYT to review it.

But also, I'm writing about the reviewer for the Globe and Mail, who sounds like a jerk. His end paragraph concerns anti-Americanism driving America further away from the rest of the West, because America cares too much what other countries think of it: "At stake here, however, is much more than mere vanity. The Americans don't really have much else besides that for which they stand." Ouch. That's not only a harsh blow, it has little to do with the book's thesis or his review before that throwaway line. Seems like sloppy writing and sloppy editing, and I'd have expected better from the Globe and Mail.

...Finally, on a related note, today I got a letter from Citizenship and Immigration. It came in a thick packet, so I was convinced they returned my Citizenship application for missing something. But no, it's a letter acknowledging my application, and a study guide for the test I'll take in 8 to 10 months. Yay!

A certain irony

Wednesday, 27 September 2006 09:29 pm
After my post yesterday, I was miffed to discover this morning that I can't apply for citizenship yet, after all.

Math error. Arrrrgh!

I got through being grumpy, though, and now I'm mostly a bit amused at my inability to add.

Warning, arithmetic problem ahead )

'fraid I don't have any good closing to this post. But I figured I'd give y'all a nice big bowl of schadenfreude. Mmmmmm.... schadenfreude...
This morning was frustrating, for work reasons including a canceled meeting and a long fire-alarm that left me with a headache from the sirens. I was headed for one of those work funks that was going to last all day. So instead of booking the afternoon off, I took part of my lunch hour to work on my Canadian Citizenship Application.

Yes! It's time; I've been a Permanent Resident for long enough that I can apply. I could've applied a month ago, but I wanted to leave lots of leeway because they count all the time I'm out of the country between four years ago and when my application is filed.

By the end of filling out forms, I actually felt better. I got my photos taken (in the adjoining plaza. The guy who works at the photo shop is a character. He doesn't remember me, but he's taken all of my immigration photos, over the last four years and two attempts to become a permanent resident). I paid my application fees online, which was reasonably painless, and I printed forms. They'll go into tomorrow's mail.

Today made a particularly symbolic date to have on the forms.

Tonight is also the tenth anniversary of when [ profile] melted_snowball and I first decided we were a couple. (Not our first date, a semi-formal where I went home with someone else. That's another story.) Ten years ago was a drive in the country followed by star-gazing in some farmer's field near Ithaca. There was a total lunar eclipse. You can look it up.

Six months or so later, we were living together with two other people; the next year with one other; the following year just the two of us.

Five years ago, plus a month, we moved to Canada. And the first full day we were here, we sat in the HR office where we filed paperwork for the University's health insurance, and the HR person asked what our marital status was. Well, since we were now living in Canada, and we'd been co-habitating for more than one year, we were common-law. She checked the box. She left to copy the forms and we said to each other, hm, that was a bit anticlimactic, wasn't it?

Anniversaries aren't such a big deal in our household. I'm bad with dates, and dan's anti-sentimental. So, marking our twice-five anniversary with bureaucratic forms seems oddly perfectly appropriate.

Forgive me a bit of introspection, but that's life. It's the days that roll by to become years, to become a decade. And I had so little idea ten years ago where I'd be today. But I can't help get a bit emotional about how damn lucky I am. Tomorrow is just as unknowable as ten years from now. We could get hit by a car. The world could end. God willing, there will be a good long series of tomorrows with us together in them.

So, I was thinking about this as I got on my bike to come home, and I glanced down as my bike's odometer rolled over again from 999.9 to 0.

As he noted a few weeks ago, [ profile] melted_snowball is becoming a citizen this month.

To celebrate, you are invited to a party at our house, Friday the 30th of June, from 5pm onward.

At Cait & Janelle's artsy-fartsy night this Tuesday, they badgered me mercilessly until I gave them details, made up on the spot, which summarize to:

The theme is citizenship. Wear a flag if you like. Or don't. Really, your choice. Dan will have just been declared a citizen a few hours prior. (in a nice bit of coincidence, two of his students will also become citizens the same day).

Food: I will be making stuff as I see fit, so you don't have to bring. But feel free to also. I hear a rumour a flag cake is in the works.

For number-planning purposes, it would be great if you could let me know if you're coming. Thanks.

Apologies for: the late announcement; and for the timing. I know those of you involved in a certain play will be on stage that evening. But dan's only in town for 4 nights before he's off to a conference, and we decided Canada Day wasn't the best day for it, so it's canada day minus 1.

And since it's the next question people seem to ask: dan's due back July 15th. (yay!)
This morning, driving to work, I caught part of an interview with Jim Loney on The Current, along with his partner, Dan Hunt. He spoke eloquently about the need for continued peace work, though he was firm that he would not be going back to Iraq himself. It was a fairly good interview. [I've gone back and listened to the beginning; he talks about more of the captivity; will probably be in tomorrow's paper.]

Tonight, I went to the monthly Prayer Vigil for Peace, held at the Working Centre. I showed up early; people were working on a banner to carry in an upcoming march in Ottawa (June 13-15) to call for justice for five Muslem men who have been held by Canadian Security for between four and six years without charges. They are being held on Security Certificates, which suspend the right to trial and allow indefinite detention of non-citizens and permanant residents. Amnesty International has a good writeup on them and the Security Certificate process.

Now, I have no idea whether these men are at all connected to terrorist activities; but it seems clear that they are in a position remarkably similar to the hundreds in Guantanamo Bay, in a weird legal limbo with no recourse, and it isn't clear whether the Canadian Government plans to deport them to countries where they face torture, as Amnesty says they might.

It's not a simple situation, and I wish I had more clarity on what should be done. At least I can say in principle I don't think people should be held indefinitely with no contact with families or lawyers, for five years.

Back to tonight: the man in charge of putting together this banner, Andy Macpherson, lives around the corner from the Quaker Meeting House. I believe he's come to Meeting a while back. He's involved with Catholic Worker as well as local Menonnite groups. The reason I bring him up is that I discovered that he was responsible for the design of a beautiful poster ) which I saw at the Working Centre five years ago, when I first moved here. The other designer was Jim Loney. It's a small world.

The prayer vigil was... oddly relaxing. It was a small group; I knew most of them (at least by face); and the prayers were tremendously similar to the ones you might hear in a Quaker Meeting (if one happened to be in a Meeting where prayers were read from the Bible).

I say "oddly relaxing" because there was a band playing electric bass upstairs, people cleaning kitchen equipment in the same room, and a stream of fire-sirens over the course of the first 30 minutes. Also, the ritualized prayers still felt weird to me as a Quaker; though I felt the sentiment behind the words was familiar.

We also sang; particularly pretty and simple was "Ubilate Deo" (not Jubilate; I would like to find out the origin of Ubilate, whether it's the same latin word with a different spelling; google doesn't seem to help much).

Hm. I learned a few other things; one's neat but not public knowledge, so I'll keep my lips buttoned for now.

(no subject)

Sunday, 14 May 2006 05:16 pm
For me to become a citizen, I need to document that I've been in Canada for three of the past four years. Days since I became a permanant resident count 100%, and days before that count 50%. So, much like [ profile] melted_snowball did last autumn, I've been collecting dates of when I was out of the country. Fortunately for me, the majority of times I was outside Canada, I was with d., so I merely had gaps to fill in. The last 1 1/2 years were quite easy, as I LJed all of my trips. :)

Since d.'s having his citizenship test tomorrow (*) and I'd like to know where I'm at, I finished calcuating my "Absences from Canada" this morning.

The grand total says I can apply August 10th, assuming my upcoming travel is correct:

- one trip to see dan in CA,

- one trip to Long Island for my grandmother's memorial,

- one business conference in Chicago,

- and one wedding in CA (hi [ profile] ankawonka!)

This whole counting thing is sort of fraught with potential errors. Since it's a rolling window of time from the date I put on the form, finding the "right" date isn't as simple as counting once; since the beginning date depends on the ending date, which depends on the "absence" days between the two. ...I thought I had the optimal date, then I realized the beginning date was four years from today (not August), so I had to chop off some absence days from the count; which meant I had to re-calculate the ending date, which meant the beginning date changed again, which actually changed the absence count, which meant changing the ending date, and thankfully the beginning date didn't change the absence count again.

Of course, I could always set the ending date include a fudge-factor of extra time, but what's the fun in that?

(*) d. isn't interested in a party for after he finishes with his test. I asked. :)

Right now we're sort of lounging, maybe getting a movie, maybe playing a board-game. 'S nice to be in the same country again.

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