Tag Archives: Canadian Citizens

THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION 2016 – Red Sky in Morning, Sailors Take Warning

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Those who have visited my blog Immigrating to Canada know I am an ex-patriot American, now a dual citizen of both the US and Canada, who left the United States with my husband after Georg W got re-elected in 2004. We left motivated by the Quaker Peace Testimonies and the need to leave a country that had perpetrated a war against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq under the false pretenses of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) with over a million lives lost. This war continues today more than a decade later. For me, it has been nearly a decade of attempting to make sense of our life-altering decision to “walk our talk” and follow our moral compass north to British Columbia and Ravens View Farm.

I have been crying off and on for several days. Only after 24 hours did I realize that I am suffering from my own posttraumatic stress disorder, which originated on election night 2004 when Kerry, who looked to be winning, lost to George W late in the evening. The grief and near hysteria I experienced was a result of the pledge I had made to Mark, to leave the country if Bush got re-elected. This was now to become a reality. The loss of that election was extremely personal as I was soon to leave my family and friends, my home, my community and all that I held dear. (This experience is captured in  IMMIGRATING TO CANADA blog post Reminiscences Before And After The 2008 Us Election.)

Many FB posts and letters by celebrities say in essence “It is our duty as Americans to stay and fight for our beloved country.” This is because half of the citizens of the United States are united in fear and they are aware that during the Viet Nam war many conscientious objectors sought asylum in Canada refusing to fight in that unjust war. Many threatened to leave the US if Bush got re-elected, but few of us actually did. The difference between then and now is that we waited until the next presidential election  working daily, calling and walking door-to-door in an effort to get out the vote and elect a president that would lead the country mindful of the ideals of our democracy outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

It takes an enormous amount of courage to leave your homeland, your country. It is not a decision to be made without a great deal of thought and consideration. And for those who left, not from fear, but from a need to speak our truth through action, I hope that we demonstrated that there are in fact many ways to voice discontent, and emigrating to Canada is just one. Freedom of speech and to gather allows for peaceful civil disobedience to protect earth’s gift of water at Standing Rock and protesting in the streets of our cities. However one chooses to take a stand, it takes deep courage and conviction. This election has given rise to both and the nation will be better for it. And remember, no matter where you live in this age of technology, you can take a stand and you can fight.

If you are considering coming to Canada,  you can rent The Cottage at Ravens View Farm for a week. I will cook you farm-raised organic roast chicken dinner and share our experience with you  over a bottle of Okanagan Valley wine.

A New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a New Parliament. A Renewed Canada.

A New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a New Parliament. A Renewed Canada.

As a new citizen of Canada, having voted in my first federal election, an initiation rite as a new citizen if you will, I have been watching the swearing in of the new Liberal Government in Canada led by the new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, this early PST November 4, 2015.

I have been deeply moved viewing the ceremony. Thirty new ministers have been sworn in. This parade of cabinet members has demonstrated, from the outset, the intentions of this new government to fully represent and meet the expectations of a diverse nation. Prime Minister Trudeau has begun the process of fulfilling his campaign promises.

Canada’s reputation on the world stage is well on its way to being reclaimed. Ministers, representing every Province across the country, include first nation and aboriginals, francophone, immigrants, including from Afghanistan, disabled and women. There is a balance of gender, with 50% of the cabinet being women, young and old, veteran politicians with new comers to the political stage, all of who are coming with a wide variety of resumes and experience.

The opening ceremony began with a performance by two young first nations throat singers, who giggled charmingly at the end producing smiles around the room and finished with three young Métis dancers leading the procession out. Some of the Ministers picked up their young children from the audience and carried them out in their arms. A new government with young leaders with young children promising a better future for the youth of this country which is planning for its 150th anniversary.

I am pleased by the potential of this new government to provide new leadership and take its place on the international stage. Justin Trudeau will be going to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Paris with his new minister, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and CLIMATE CHANGE and Elizabeth May the leader of the Green Party and likely Stephane Dion, former leader of the Liberal Party, now Minister of Foreign Affairs. Crystia Freeland journalist and Author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else has been named minister of International Trade. Backing up the promise to cut taxes for the poor and raise taxes of the wealthy. A lot of changes being made and to be made to regain Canada’s reputation as inclusive country with open parliamentary governance.

I realize upon re-reading this post that I have repeated the word new over and over again. But I am not afraid of change and today I love being a new citizen of Canada with the promise of change with new leadership.

New York Times article.

What does it mean to be a Canadian Citizen? Winter 2015

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.

The day after the 2012 Election in the US

Wednesday November 7, 2012, The day after the 2012 Election in the US.

It is interesting in this day after the 2012 election pondering what this means for the United States and how I feel as an expatriate.  I am still a citizen of United states although am a permanent resident of my adopted country Canada and will soon be applying for citizen ship having been resident for now fives years. 

We are expatriates, my husband Mark and I, having left the United
States after the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004.  When Obama was elected four years ago so many of our friends,  family and acquaintances who knew of our “defection” asked, “Are you going to move back now?” Well if Canada and the Okanagan Valley had not embraced us so warmly and so generously, maybe I might have considered it. But it is clear that we are meant to be here in Canada, in British Columbia, and in Peachland, on this lovely little “hobby” fam.  But of course we replied that  we will wait and see.  And how prophetically this convenient answer was to this query, because how sorely disappointed we have been in the performance, the decisions and the lack of honouring promises made by this idealistic and amazing young leader.  But when Guantanamo Bay’s prison was not closed down and still detains, to this day, suspected terrorists without due process of law, I wonder, “Where is Justice?”  When the war in Afghanistan, albeit an inherited war, continues as a Quaker I ask, “Where is the peace making?” 

One cannot deny that Obama inherited a hideous situation not of his making and was challenged far beyond what any president since Roosevelt faced with war, pending economic collapse, and countless other debacles that were foisted on the American people by an ineffective and glib and ignorant president who was at the beck and call of people fueled by greed and the hunger for absolute power.

So you can see my politics.  But what are my politics?  In this time of spiritual upheaval and spiritual renewal and spiritual awakening, where are their politics. And what do I believe is the meaning of
this election in which Barack was re-elected by a hair with a country divided in their politics, their beliefs, and their values. 

It is an election where people have

  • respected people of the same sex to marry. 
  • recognized that maybe marijuana is not much different than alcohol and should be legal.  And that the
  • understood that the United states is a cultural mosaic like Canada and not a melting pot in which everyone is assimilated into one, but a country in which we have our differences of race, creed, sex, sexual preference, education and whatnot. 

In a country that is nearly evenly divided, are we “polarized” or are we coming into balance? Are we no longer giving credence and lip service to the extremists, but realizing that there is value in recognizing and respecting our differences? Maybe we are getting closer to becoming “one”.  Is it blind optimism to believe that we are witnessing a shift? We all saw how Romney went from the extreme right trying to appeal to the “Tea Party” to becoming more and more moderate to appeal to a larger electorate. There is a coming together in this balanced and evenly divided election.  I find hope in this election like I haven’t felt in a long while.