November 25th, 2014 by Jan

On this day in 2003, Ken and I swore to the Queen and all her heirs to be loyal Canadians.

It was a great day and one we felt strong and proud about. Proud, probably because we came from the states and patriotism runs strong down there. It seeped into our bones as a by-product of the country.

Because we chose to live here, becoming citizens of Canada was important to us. We filled out the paperwork, paid the fees, and waited the necessary time for the privilege and because we are lucky enough to live here; we wanted to participate at the polls.

It’s funny that just this week I’ve read and listened to different views about citizenship.

The first came in several letters to the editor in the Undercurrent. That is Bowens weekly rag that for the most part we use as fire starter. We feel we donate 75¢ to the newspaper each week, then shake our heads because usually it is filled with non news. When we first moved here they at least listed who birthday was that week! Now, they don’t even report the fact that the last muni council is being sued! We buy it anyway. Last week was the election results and backlash and the letters to the editor were quite entertaining.

There were actually several letters from people who have lived on the island for years and years and were pissed off that they didn’t get to vote. They thought that by virtue of being long time residents they should be allowed to vote here. They could not believe they were turned away when the fact that they were not citizens came out. REALLY? Was this the first time they tried to vote in their years of residency?

One person who has lived here for “over 20 years” complained that it takes too long to become a citizen! Another, and my favourite said, where they are from, you only ave to show residence and can then have a say. She really wanted her say, so she told us in her letter who she would have voted for if she had been allowed.

Start your paperwork.

A cry I sing quite often when things go goofy in the states and people “threaten” to move to Canada. Please know this is a different cry from those who would love to be able to have paperwork and for some reason or other cannot.

In Canada, start your paperwork. Canada lets people in. New citizens are sworn in daily. Our friends Peter and Tamsin just had the experience. Peter filed his paperwork to run for our council the next day!

It takes too long is the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard. It’s true you have to actually live in Canada for four years after you have landed. But four years will pass no matter what you do next. We can hardly believe we have been here for 18 years, and 11 of them as Canadians!

On a different, yet similar note on citizenship, I am listening to the CBC 2014 Massey Lectures with Adrienne Clarkson – The Paradox of Citizenship. Wow!

Voting is a good reason to become a citizen, knowing about the Massey Lectures, and CBC  are two more great reasons to live in Canada.

And even though my council and mayor picks did not win… again. I voted, because I can, and I am extremely grateful for the right.

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