Monday, May 29, 2006

Back in Vancouver

Well, life is good . . . . Booked a bargain Northwest Airlines flight way back in January for a two week trip to "Civilization" and am thoroughly enjoying being back "home" . . . . Wish it was permanent!
Just me on this trip - the other half of the partnership is back in Florida with our four-legged child. Have been spending most of the time just enjoying being where people care about other people more than their personal gratification. (Not too mention that the temperature is about 60 degrees F rather than 90+ back home!)
Checked in briefly with our immigration attorney's office just to say "Hi" . . . . Word from our processor was: "No news yet! No news yet!" I really didn't expect any, but it would have been nice to have had some request/clarification, etc. Probably not 'til around November, I'm guessing.
It's also enjoyable to not be bombarded with news/revelations about anything the "w" administration is doing to reduce personal liberties . . . Hopefully, by the time I get back to the States they will not have totally eliminated all of our rights as citizens . . . .


Monday, May 15, 2006

"West Wing" Ruminations

Just finished watching last night's final "West Wing" episode on tape. (Recorded it 'cuz it was up against the "Survivor" season finale - I know, I know, but it's our only vice on "stupid TV"!)

The "West Wing" series makes one wish the American public would have a lot more selectivity in choosing our leaders. If only the masses could support a candidate with the courage, intelligence and real compassion for their fellow human beings rather than people of the caliber of George W. Bush. Why can't we elect leaders with the stature of a Josiah Bartlet or a Matt Santos in real life?!?

Maybe we should draft Aaron Sorkin - the creator of the series - to coordinate a candidate and campaign we could all be proud of. Wouldn't that be a nice change from what we have now?

While fast-forwarding through the commercials, I was watching a Senate session on CSPAN in which Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, was pontificating on the immigration issue. He said: "I was in South America last month. While in Nicaragua blah, blah, blah . . ." The fool didn't even know Nicaragua is in Central America. This guy is one of 100 of our top national leaders and doesn't even comprehend elementary school geography. Unbelievable . . . . . .

Somebody help this country get back on the right track, please.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Tom Gilroy on mr. bush's "faith-based" government

Do yourself a favor and check out Tom Gilroy's article "Bush's Trojan Christ".

It's one of the best written analyses of the so-called "religious right" and their influence on today's governmental policies. This group's professions of faith are anything but . . . . . Just one of the many reasons we are moving towards our goal of Canadian residency and eventual citizenship.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tory Budget Move

Can't say we're fans of the Tory minority government, but at today's session of Parliament their Finance Minister proposed an immediate 50% reduction in the Landing Fee if their budget is approved. That's good news for future immigrants, but one wonders at the other costs this government may impose on Canadian society . . . . . .

Here's the verbatim from the government home page regarding the immigration initiatives proposed:

Helping Immigrants Get Started

Canada has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. The Government recognizes the importance of ensuring that newcomers have every possible opportunity to realize their dreams for the future.

The Right of Permanent Residence Fee

This budget delivers on the Government's commitment to reduce the Right of Permanent Residence Fee to help immigrants and their families with the costs of starting a new life in Canada. The fee will be reduced from its current level of $975 to $490 effective on May 2, 2006. In addition, the Government will provide partial refunds to those who have already paid the $975 fee but have not been granted permanent resident status or have not yet arrived in Canada. The cost of this initiative in foregone revenue is $224 million over two years.

Settlement and Integration

Newcomers to Canada often face challenges integrating into a new country, community and labour market. Settlement and integration programs that provide services such as language instruction and employment-related support help immigrants overcome the stresses of moving to a new country. In keeping with the Government's commitment to provide additional resources for settlement and integration, this budget provides $307 million over two years, over and above investments provided in recent budgets, to enhance programs and services in all provinces and territories (except Quebec, which receives funding through a separate immigration agreement). This additional investment will allow immigrants to adapt quickly and successfully and have every opportunity to contribute to the economy and society.

Foreign Credential Recognition

Many immigrants to Canada, though well-educated and highly skilled, still face barriers in obtaining recognition of their qualifications, training and experience. In this budget, the Government is moving forward on its commitment to create an agency to ensure foreign-trained immigrants meet Canadian standards, while getting those who are trained and ready to work in their fields of expertise into the workforce more quickly.

Under the leadership of the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, consultations with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders are underway on the mandate, structure and governance of the agency, and the Government will proceed on the basis of the advice received. To facilitate the consultation process and to take the first steps toward the establishment of a Canadian agency for assessment and recognition of credentials, this budget sets aside $18 million over two years.