I have been in Canada since I was five years old. My first clear memories took place here.
I have speak better English and am more familiar with the Canadian constitution and parliament than most folks born here. Hell, I understand and speak more French than most Anglo Canadians outside Quebec.
I like to watch curling, adore the CBC, have voted in every federal, provincial, and municipal election I have been eligible to participate in since I turned 18.
I can sing Oh Canada, most Tragically Hip songs, nearly the entire corpus of the Arrogant Worms, everything by Corb Lund, and parts of Un Canadien Errant despite it being in my distant third language.
I have fallen in love with the promise of this country…
But I have been heartbroken when it has failed to live up to that promise.
I believe in a civic nation; a beautiful mosaic, composed of what is best in every culture on earth and mortared by a spirit of understanding, tolerance, and a desire to build a tomorrow for our children that is brighter than any we have known in any of our old countries, or in this one.
I believe in a nation that strives to outgrow its past- that can celebrate the great accomplishments of past generations without losing sight of the mistakes and the crimes of those generations: a people willing to use the vast resources at its disposal for the betterment of humanity and the redress of history.
That was the nation I was raised to believe in.
That was the nation I was promised when I took my oath as a child, the nation that that solemn, ecstatic little boy of eight believed with all his heart he was buying into. That was the nation that, for 12 years, my mother’s taxes paid for me to hear about.
That was the nation the promise of which I have paid taxes to see take shape, the nation in which I wished to welcome and raise my children. That is the future I believed, once, I was helping to build for them.
That nation that I believe in- is not, sadly the Canada in which I live.
The Canada in which I live is proving a petty place, built of fear and isolation- a nation of a thousand solitudes that estranges newcomers and welcomes them to the family with that obvious, strained, and brittle tone usually reserved for a new in-law one despises but must be polite to because it’s a wedding and there are forms to be observed.
I live in a Canada where, after 28 years of having this be the only place I’ve thought of as home, I may be stripped of my citizenship and either deported to a place I don’t remember or held in administrative limbo…
Where my kids, who were born here to a mother descended from centuries of Canadians on both sides, could share my fate…
And all of this could happen for disagreeing with our government.
For speaking up. For fighting for what I feel to be right. For wanting my children to grow up in that Canada which I was promised. For holding Canada to the very standards that I was told our nation exemplified by my teachers, my government, and my compatriots. For loving this country, and the people of this country, enough to expect more of them and for not letting any slip go unremarked.
I am a second class citizen in the only home I have ever known…
Ask me again why I am so fucking angry all the time.