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Also available is my new eBook, "How To Immigrate To Canada In The Family Class: The Authoritative Guide Including Québec And Super Visa Opportunities". Get it at Amazon or the other e-retailers noted above.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Uncle Sam is a greedy leech

I have lived in Canada for over four years. I do not collect any benefits from my former country, The United States. The only things in my life that have meaning in association with it are I pay taxes and vote.

The US must tie these two acts together - taxes and the right to vote - because the country was founded on the concept that taxation without representation was evil. That's why they split from Great Britain. But I would argue that I have no voice in American politics. My issues do not matter to politicians. My home state of Washington is not busy insuring that expats from their state are treated fairly.

But the US wants to tax whatever they consider revenue that I make here in Canada, even if Canada doesn't consider it revenue. That means tax-free savings, retirement paid into Canadian retirement plans and any gains made on property. And what the US may tax in the future from expats is not fixed. It can change in an instant. As of this year, they are forcing Canadian banks to report on US citizen accounts so they can be sure they are getting everything they want.

I am taxed, but I am NOT represented. The US, unlike any other "free" nation in the world taxes you for life as long as you are a citizen. And they also make renouncing that citizenship expensive, time consuming and perilous.

The basic fee to apply to get rid of the burden of citizenship in the US is over $2,000. The wait time can be over 10-months. The exit fees include paying estimated taxes on future earnings. And they will estimate that those are, by the way.

They threaten that it may be harder to enter the country once you give up your citizenship. Like, who would do that kind of thing? Give up US citizenship? It makes them suspicious. You must be a threat now. We have to think twice about letting you in.

Frankly, it's nothing but a cash grab by those powerless to fight against it. When I become a Canadian citizen, I will have to revisit whether it makes sense to retain my citizenship. The only long term benefit will be social security. But I'm sure they'll tax that to the point of uselessness too.

The greedy leech keeps sucking.  

Read the Globe and Mail article about the issue here 

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 1.5 million members can't be wrong

Our friends and supporters at have made some great changes that I encourage you to check out.

Dedicated to life abroad, helps you throughout your adventure, whether you are about to relocate or already living in Canada.

Created as expat-blog 10 years ago, the website now offers a brand-new version with a new name: It offers expats and soon-to-be expats a wide range of features to help them in organizing their expat project and in their daily expat life in Toronto and Canada: forum, jobs, interviews, guides, events, business directory… You will find information on all expat related subjects. is a participative website: expats can share their experience, ask questions, find answers, get advice from the other members… and make their expat project a smash!

Visit today and become a member. It's easy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Should I stay or should I go?

I'm in the doldrums. There are months to go before I apply for citizenship and all I can do is wait and study for the exam. I have been careful not to travel out of the country because that will delay the date when I have reached my four-years, but it's hard. I have family in the States and they want to see me and it's hard for them to understand. I'm thinking maybe I'll push my application date back a few more weeks and see them in the springtime instead of making them wait until May.

These are the decisions you have to make as an immigrant awaiting citizenship. The government has its requirements. You have to meet them. The first litmus test is have four-years worth of days in Canada. It was only three years a short time ago, but I have Harper to thank for pushing me and many others back. He was big on talk, then big on delaying tactics for immigration and citizenship opportunities.

I'll continue to get things in order for the application date and try not to sweat a few extra weeks delay. It will mean a lot to my family to see me. That's actually more important.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Not skating yet - thanks El Niño

12C this coming weekend, with rain. 12C! It's the middle of December and I haven't been skating yet this year. Climate change? Probably has something to do with it. The weather pattern for eastern Canada this late fall has the cold air we normally experience (highs should be around -4C this time of year) pushed far to the north. Instead of the cold, we are getting warm air masses from the U.S. deep south, which are mild, though not necessarily wet.

I am holding out hope that once the winter season is here in another couple of weeks, temperatures will at least have dropped to near seasonable. I don't actually like to sweat when I'm on ice. I'm not playing hockey after all! I just want to enjoy a skate in the cold.   

Friday, December 04, 2015

Citizenship - take those sample tests!

You may not be aware, but you can prepare for your Canadian citizenship test online by taking sample tests directly from the CIC. While other sources of citizenship preparation are available, it's important that you ensure your preparation comes from the CIC citizenship guide, Discover Canada, and that any tests you practise with are also based on that material.

Here's an official list of study questions you can use for your own preparation.

For those of you with an Android device, the app, How Canadian Are You, Eh? is the CIC's official test preparation tool, and the one I personally use.

The actual test is comprised of 20 multiple choice questions, and most of these tools simulate the real test.

Luck favors the prepared! Get studying!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Canada, Syrian and other refugees

While a much larger country to the south struggles with every aspect of immigration policy, in Canada, the foundations that have been laid of the years are far clearer. We are a country that embraces immigration (though the implementation may be slower than many would wish, and the Harper years were actually an anti-immigration period for the country in terms of policy).

There is a crisis in Syria and Europe and the world is being asked to play a role in helping those desperately in need of a new home.

The Government of Canada has made the following commitments related to refugees from Syria and all refugees in general:

  • expand Canada’s intake of refugees from Syria by 25,000 through immediate government sponsorship, and also work with private sponsors to accept even more;
  • fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants;
  • invest at least an additional $100 million this fiscal year to increase – without reducing standards – refugee processing as well as sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada; and,
  • provide an immediate, new $100 million contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support the critical relief activities in Syria and the surrounding area.
I am looking forward to seeing how well they implement these lofty goals. I am pleased to say we have ended the Harper era of anti-immigration policy.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Canada Visa - CIC Issues Instructions to Allow for Religious Accommodation During Canadian Citizenship Oath

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has updated instructions related to the taking of the Oath of Citizenship as a result of a recent decision by the Federal Court of Appeal.
The published instructions state:
Following the recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada v. Ishaq, operational instructions  related to the delivery of the Oath of Citizenship have been updated.
The operational policy requires applicants to remove their face covering when taking the Oath, but applicants who are unwilling to do so for  religious reasons must now be accommodated and allowed to recite the Oath of Citizenship privately, in front of a female judge or official who is  authorized to administer the Oath, before joining the public ceremony.
In mid-September, the Federal Court of Appeal had dismissed a government appeal over a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies in what amounted to a major policy rebuke of the previous Conservative government, led by now former-Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The issue of face coverings while taking the Oath of Citizenship became a major point of contention during the recent Canadian federal election campaign, with the major opposition parties opposing the previous government’s stance on the issue.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Online citizenship test preparation classes from Catholic Crosscultural Services

The former Harper government stopped funding it (as they stopped funding lots of settlement programs...), but the Online Citizenship Preparation web site from Catholic Crosscultural Services is still available for your use. Let's hope the Grits pick the funding back up again.

Online Citizenship Preparation is a bilingual training that provides newcomers across Canada with an opportunity to prepare for the Canadian citizenship test and learn how to become an engaged citizen of Canada.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Canadian Immigration News - Changes to Canadian Immigration Likely After Liberals Win Election

Daytime in Canada again for immigraation and citizenship candidates? In this honeymoon period, let's look at what the new Liberal government is pledging regarding the immigration file.

(Excerpt from an article at

Canadian Citizenship
The previous government of Canada made a number of changes to requirements for individuals seeking naturalized Canadian citizenship, with opposition parties, as well as a large section of the Canadian public and potential applicants alike, vocally opposed to those changes.

Since the changes came into force in June, 2015, the physical residency requirement before an application may be made was increased to four years from three. In addition, time spent in Canada on a work or study permit is no longer counted. The Liberals have pledged to restore the residency time credit for foreign students and other temporary residents applying to become Canadian citizens.

Furthermore, the Liberals have stated their intention to Repeal bill C-24, also known as the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. Among other measures, this legislation allows the government, through the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to strip dual citizens (as well as those who may qualify for citizenship of another country) of their citizenship in certain cases.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't let the door hit you on the way out - Canada says goodbye to the Harper government

As you can see, the way out is to the Right!

How many clichés can I site? It's morning in Canada. Our long national nightmare is over. History judges us all. Hope is better than fear. Hold on there - I sound like the NDP!

Last night, Canada said goodbye to Stephen Harper's Conservative party in a big way, voting in a Liberal majority government under Justin Trudeau that ran a campaign based on a view of federal government as being activist for citizens, job growth and infrastructure investment.

Across the country, the election was a referendum on Harper: A leader who over nearly 10 years consolidated power from Parliament and the cabinet into his own seat of power in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Harper was the sole spokesperson for his party - he muzzled MP's in an anti-democratic push to create a federal government with a single point of view - his own.

Harper tried to create a Canada that was non-inclusive, uninformed, complacent and ignorant of the actions of its own government, He did this through the defunding of Stats Canada, elimination of the long form census, defunding of science and research and the cutting of government services to the most needy.

In order to balance his budget and allowing himself to look fiscally responsible in the run up to this election, Harper's government failed to spend federal dollars in critical areas of their responsibility; slowing immigration, limiting access to government services and stalling the economy. Harper's policies and actions were always targeted to his base. He was the first Canadian Prime Minister to run a nearly continuous election campaign for 10 years. Everything he did seemed aimed at insuring his chances in the next election with his so-called "old stock" Canadians, whenever that election was.

On the immigration and citizenship front, Harper chronically understaffed and underfunded the CIC, delaying the processing of immigration applications and increasing wait times for permanent residence and citizenship. More sinisterly, the PMO inserted itself politically in the work of the CIC, asking to review certain files for Syrian refugee claimants.

I am proud of Canadians. We finally stood up to say "enough". We finally showed this despot the door. We do believe in a Canada that is inclusive, not exclusive. We believe in a Canada that has a transparent, not opaque federal government. We believe in a Canada that supports the sciences and the arts. We believe in a Canada that invests in infrastructure. We believe in a Canada that supports the most needy with food, housing and healthcare.

Goodbye, Stephen Harper. The forthright American in me would like to say, with a very un-Canadian bluntness, you will not be missed. You were terrible for this country. You reaped what you have sown. Enjoy the harsh judgement of history as the most oppressive, anti-democratic PM in Canadian history. You've earned it.