What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen?
January 30 – Canadian Citizenship. We just got our letter. We have been invited to become citizens. Our ceremony is March 13, 2016. This is the culmination, a final achievement, and a last step in a seven-year journey. It begets the privilege to vote as I have already been paying taxes (in both the US and Canada). It is a testimony, a commitment to a path, which took us to another country. It is also an insurance policy. Not only is achieving citizenship in Canada symbolic of “walking one’s talk”, it gives me permission to finally speak my mind and walk my talk here without fear of being deported. (As an immigrant, especially emigrating from the US, deportation lurks as a fear especially with Conservative Prime Minister Harper tightening up the immigration policy of this great nation that prides itself on being a “Cultural Mosaic”.) I can join my Quaker Friends to protest the expansion of oil exports through first nations’ lands and nature conservancies. I can be political and I can vote for the amazing green party leader Elizabeth May or the Liberal Party’s Justin Trudeau.
As a committed Quaker who strives to lead an authentic life, the welling up of tears and the rising of emotion surprises me. Strong emotion. It is joy, relief, and maybe even sadness – I have stepped ahead and made a commitment to a new life in a new country – albeit as a dual citizen. I have not left my nation of origin behind. There is a sense that I have changed my allegiance, but my allegiance is not to a country and not to a government.
However, what I realize at this moment is that my allegiance is to family, friends, and ultimately to spirit. My final and utter allegiance is to this beautiful earth. Everything comes back to a sense of place, which transcends all rules and regulations and laws. It is the unity of heart, mind and spirit that makes me who I am and makes me a citizen and child of Mother Earth. This is what Ravens View Farm means to me; sacred ground that happens to be in Canada, that called to me and invited me to steward it into the future for the next generation. This sacred ground is waking my spirit and my understanding of life, death and existence. The final frontier is actually in our own back yards.
Friday, March 13th, our lucky day! Today was the day Mark and I became Canadian Citizens. So anxious was I, it turns out I input the date for March 11, 2015 as our Citizen Ceremony date. So we made the trip into Kelowna and our friends came to celebrate with us, but as I said, “Better two days early than two days late!”
It was a wonderful ceremony so many immigrants from all over the works and all walks of life. Today 84 people from 30 countries became citizens of Canada. And there are only one million people currently in the queue to become citizens like us. Of course the journey has been a tremendous ride of applications, visa renewals, permanent residency and finally citizenship. They took our permanent residency cards, our proof heretofore of our ability to return to our community, our farm and now our adopted country. This is a culmination of a long life-changing journey. No longer are we legally tied to the racism, sexism, and increasing incivility of the United States as manifested in what is called a democracy. We are now proud and honoured citizens of Canada, which is truly a polite society that is incredibly gracious welcoming, and warm despite being the land above the 49th parallel. Thank you Canada.