Can Canadian Citizens have a say as to who stays in their country?
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As the old adage goes, “home, is where the heart is!”
If it was a matter of faith, my heart is capable of calling any place on earth home, as long as that is the place that God has led me to and wants me to be.
If it is a matter of the heart being with the people we love than my heart is torn in two - being in both Australia and Canada - where I am blessed to call people in both places, beloved friends, and family.
However, if it is a matter of country and place than my heart definitely belongs in Canada and, particularly, on Vancouver Island.
I was blessed to be born in the rugged, hot, white-sandy-beached, and stunningly beautiful country of Australia. I spent the first 26 years of my life living in this Great Southland. I never imagined that I would ever want to live anywhere else. That was until I came to Canada.
I have spent the last four years living in Canada off the west coast on Vancouver Island, through the means of two work permits. I have also had the immense privilege of journeying across this vastly wide and vastly varying countryside - where each province provides a different terrain and feel to the place, and each uniquely beautiful - on a 45-day road trip. And still, I came back knowing that Vancouver Island was the place for me.
While I have traveled to numerous other countries that I have loved, none of them have I ever had a desire form and grow enough, for me to want to call that new place and country “home”. Canada has stolen my heart. I was not usually one to believe in love-at-first-sight until I experienced it firsthand upon seeing the snowcapped mountains, sparkling waters and hill slopped pine trees stretched below me, outside my airplane window as I descended into Vancouver for the first time, in 2013. In that moment, Cupid's arrow had hit its mark.
Yet, here I am, five years on from that moment, having originally thought what would have been a passing or fleeting “holiday romance” has only continued to grow into a deep love and adoration for the people who live here and the place they live within. Canada is an immensely beautiful country! And it has become the place that I would like to call “home base”. I know that Australia will always run in my blood and I would never want to give up my identity of being an Australian, however, the transition from one culture to another, was not a difficult one and it has been so seamless to amalgamate my Aussieness into the Canadian way. Just ask the people here how much I say “sorry” when it’s not even my fault, and that shows you how Canadian I’ve always been. Haha. I’m not here to take from this place or people - except to take in the sights and sounds and the never-ending stunning scenery that is always around me. I want to be here to give into this place and community. And I believe that those who know me here see me as a contributing member of society and a valued member of the community. I may not have a university degree or high-end, high-level paying job, but I sow into the lives around me and care for the places I live in.
If one man or woman - a person sitting at a desk, 2000+ miles away, who has never met me - can read my application on paper and decide, for non-personal reasons, that I should not be permitted to stay on in Canada - even as a visitor - I want to know, if I were to get 500 or more signatures from locals in my community - whom I have spent the last four years living among - and Canadian citizens in general, whom I have met along the way, if they were in support of me staying on in Canada, could they have a say and make a difference as to whether or not I, or another person, should be permitted to stay on in their homeland?
When sharing the news of my imminent departure with the community I live in and the people I am connected with here in Canada, the response is commonly one of shock, anger, frustration and sadness. There is confusion as to why good and valued citizens like myself can't find a route to take that will lead me in a direction that will enable me to call Canada home. And I understand their frustration. This is their home country; so I get that they would like a say as to who enters and especially who stays in their homeland. But I also understand and respect that any country needs systems and procedures in place to try and streamline such proccesses. I get that to. However, on paper, I may not be all that impressive. I don't have years of study or certificates or multiple degrees to my name; and I may not have the skill sets that will land me a highly regarded job of professor, doctor, lawyer or project manager, but I do have good character, integrity, loyalty, a good work ethic, and a big heart for people and to see them succeed in life. I may not be the most highly paid or most studied up candidate, but I find myself well esteemed in whatever workplace I have been in and loved by the people I do life with.
If it’s simply those that make the most money or have done years of study and have endless qualifications behind them that the country wants to allow for those candidates to apply for Permanent Residency and eventually call Canada home, in the area of sounding impressive and appearing intelligent, you’ll hit your mark; but what is to say of bringing people in simply because they are good people and will contribute to the community and place in a healthy and positive manner?
Why is it that I, and such people, are not permitted to stay? After all, are the two places I now consider home not Commonwealth countries?
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