1 July 2014

Thoughts on Canada Day

View of Parliament in Ottawa, ON.

Happy 147th  birthday, Canada!

You've had a great year. The Men's hockey team defended our gold medal at the Sochi Olympics. The country remained intact - Quebec is still part of Canada. Rob Ford became our mascot. Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature for her short stories.

You've also had some sad moments. Rob Ford became our mascot. Justin Bieber and all his antics. The tragic freight-car derailment in Lac-M├ęgantic, QC killing 73 people. Jim Flaherty resigning as Finance Minister and passing away shortly after.

In the past year, my relationship with Canada has been tested. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely proud to be Canadian and I understand how very fortunate I am to have born in Canada. This year I realized just how fortunate I am. In December, my Irish boyfriend's was not renewed, therefore dashing our hopes of him becoming a permanent resident of Canada - for the time being, and him being forced to leave Canada and go back to Ireland. In the days following the news, I was angry. Angry at our government and angry at our immigration system, which many are calling broken. He had a good job, paid rent, paid taxes and contributed to our economy like any Canadian, but he just wasn't born Canadian.

I grew up being told, by school teachers, the media, and other people of considerable influence on children, that Canada is an extremely welcoming country and that we embrace immigration and multiculturalism. And it's true we do, you only need to walk downtown today to notice the different ethnicities taking part in Canada day festivities and celebrating their adopted country. It's heart-warming, I just wish that I could take part in all those festivities worry-free of visa or permanent residency issues with my boyfriend and friends. I am aware that most developed countries face the same problems, and that in some countries the wait time for permanent residency is much longer than that of Canada's. So, I have that to comfort me. And maple syrup and poutine, two delicious and utterly Canadian foods I could not live without!

Despite this sad situation, I will still be out today celebrating Canada and all that we stand for and represent, waving my Canadian flag proudly. And thank you Milos Raonic for your win today, you gave us something extra to celebrate!

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