The Kindness of Strangers

January 11th, 2005

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

“Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers…”
– Blanche DuBois

I mean this blog to be of particular interest to Americans who do not wince at the sight of Tom DeLay. I sense some of you are fence-sitting on the issue of establishing a foothold in Canada and are a bit confused over the implications of such an undertaking. As my contribution to setting right some of the mistaken notions about a move to Canada, I offer samplings of my recent conversations with prospective American clients.

Q. If I gain Canadian status, will I lose my American citizenship?

A. No, both Canada and the United States recognize multi-citizenship, so you do not have to give up your American citizenship unless you choose to. You can even continue to be active in and vote in future U.S. elections. Don’t look at it as losing a daughter but rather as gaining a son-in-law. Now, don’t you feel better already?

Q. Is it difficult to qualify for a Canadian permanent resident visa?

A. Not for Americans. Canada utilizes objective selection criteria to assess applicants worldwide. However, those selection factors favor English speaking educated applicants.

Q. I don’t know that I want to spend that much time in Canada. Does Canadian status require me to spend time there?

A. Residency requirements are quite lenient. As a Canadian citizen, you are not required to spend any time in Canada. As a Canadian permanent resident, you are supposed to accumulate two years of residency days in each five-year period. However, the holes in the residency regulations are wide enough to motor an Abrams Tank through and you can maintain your permanent residence status without spending much time in Canada at all.

Q. Will I have to pay taxes to both the IRS and Revenue Canada?

A. There is a tax treaty between the U.S.A. and Canada, and as a result there is no double taxation. Instead, the two countries divvy-up your hard-earned dollars. Rest assured that you would still be able to kvetch to your accountant.

Q. How do I retain my strong Christian moral values in a society that recognizes the rights of same-sex couples and decriminalizes pot-smoking?

A. Move to Alberta. Vote Conservative.

Q. How will I survive without my O’Reilly Factor fix?

A. Good news here. Canadian broadcasting regulators finally succumbed and allowed Fox to feed Canadian homes. You won’t have to check your decision-making powers at the border.

Q. Is it true that I won’t be able to bring my guns to Canada?

A. You got me there, partner.

Q. Is it worth the effort?

A. Not if your sources are more reliable than those of Tom Ridge and Michael Scheurer. Levity aside, there is an important false impression that merits your attention. Many Americans I have spoken with recently believe that Canada would open her doors in the event that bad stuff happens. Don’t count on it. Our history as a safe haven is spotty at best. Peruse the book “None Is Too Many” by Irving Abella for insight into Canada’s past restrictionist immigration policy when people in need came calling. Make no mistake. There is a world of difference between entering a country as of right and seeking permission to come in.

Blog written by David Cohen

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