Open Letter to the Government of Canada

Attention: MP Jason Kenney, Calgary South East, Conservative Party
1168-137 Ave SE
Calgary, Alberta
T2J 6T6
Mr Kenney: 
My name is Scott Laing. I was born and raised in Southern Alberta and have lived in one or another of its towns and cities all my 44 years. I currently reside in the southeast Calgary neighbourhood of Mckenzie Towne. 
From birth Doctors recognized a congenital defect, which at the time described me as a “floppy baby” (I’m sure medical science has a much less descriptive label now with at least twice the syllables), however it was several years before Dr. Brownell at the University of Calgary finally affixed the neuromuscular diagnosis of Central Core Disease (myopathy). So, I’m sure you can imagine, through my life I’ve been tight with several aspects of health services, from doctors and nurses, therapists and technicians right on down to Personal Care Aides. It is the PCAs that I’m writing to you about today, but this letter isn’t at issue with health care. I just want you to understand my relationship with Personal Care Aides. 
You see, since I moved to Calgary almost 20 years ago, the care givers in the home care field has typically been filled by individuals who are working through one stage or another of the citizenship process. So while I’m writing to you about the plight of a specific PCA here in Calgary, this is also about students in Toronto, transit drivers in Vancouver or road crews in Montreal. Because if this is affecting only one person I know, it doesn’t take a genius to realize it’s happening to hundreds or thousands across Canada. It’s about Immigration, and the way institutions (like banks) and the various levels of government in Canada have (mis)treated those trying to make Canada their home. And I’m not even going to get into the taxation without representation aspect. 
Honestly, I’d like to give you the specifics of the individual I’m writing to you about today, but I promised I would not. The person in question has told me many horror stories about how Citizenship and Immigration Canada backlash the people that dare question the status of their application, and so is terrified to even let me tell you so much only if I don’t give specifics. 
(As an aside, I’m guessing that of these people who suffered “back lash,” most actually had other conditions on their files that delayed the paperwork or denied their application. However, I also guess that these rumours are not discouraged by CIC Officers so as to help reduce the number of calls they would receive on a daily basis.) 
So please bear with me as I’ll try to give you a clear enough description of this extremely faulty (and rapidly worsening) situation without scaring the very person I’m trying to help. 
Essentially, the story goes like this… In 2009, a caregiver lived alone through the harrowing first years in Toronto, and having survived the required waiting period, submitted application for Permanent Resident status. It was the first step on the way to becoming a Canadian citizen. At the time, she was advised that the process would take 24 months. 
Sometimes, immigrants are lucky to have their family with them in their new homeland, but often there is a lone parent back in the motherland looking after children while the other braves alone here until Permanent Resident status is achieved, as was the case for my PCA. Over those years waiting for the PR papers to come, my PCA was able to return home to see her husband and daughter only twice, with less than 70 days together. 
Almost six years of life gone by, only barely two months that a mother could hug her daughter. 
It seems odd, then, that the government party that claims to hold high traditional family values would decide that two year processing time for a PCA’s PR should be increased. 
But not odd to the little girl, who was just four years old when her Mommy came to Canada. She who hoped to be here before her ninth birthday, but then told to wait another year. Not odd, just cruel. 
And then when that moment came, low and behold, what does she discover? That’s right, the processing time has been increased yet again! The waiting time has been increased four times in the last year, jumping from 36 to 44 months, then 45, and now 47 months. 
All that boggles the mind, but it’s not the weirdest bit of information seen. For according to the CIC website “If you applied on or after January 1, 2015: Our goal is to process most complete applications received under Express Entry in six months or less.” 
If this wasn’t so horrible to those that have waited for years on end, it might be funny.
Look, these are people that have come to Canada, whether by choice or necessity, that have dared to dream that life can be better somewhere other than the land they were born in. Can you honestly imagine what that must feel like? They are just seeking the same things that we all are: a decent home, a good job, and safe communities in which to grow a family. 
I hope I’m wrong, but from this government on this subject, I expect my PCA will get little satisfaction. If I get a response I suspect little more than rhetoric about “economic realities,” “real world logistics” or maybe some of the latest phrases that are cleverly disguised ways of saying that you don’t really care about this issue. Go ahead and prove me wrong. I’d happily eat crow if it meant something really got fixed. 
Scott Laing 
cc Rt Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Conservative Party Leader
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
cc Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Chris Alexander, Conservative Party
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1
cc MP Justin Trudeau, Official Opposition Liberal Party Leader
350 Albert Street, Suite 920
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 6M8
cc MP Thomas J. Mulcair, New Democrat Party Leader
300 – 279 Laurier West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J9
cc MP Kent Hehr, Calgary Central, Liberal Party
Suite 105, 1040 – 7 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T2P 3G9
cc Avaaz Canada


Black Market Ivory

Like our friend Jon Stewart said so eloquently on his final broadcast, “if you smell something, say something.” The scent on the wind today, friends, comes from the executives at Craigslist. They are standing beside policy that allows black market Ivory to be requested and purchased on their website. 
This decision (and ignorance on this magnitude is a decision) by the policy makers at Craigslist cannot be an allowed to stand. But let’s see how far their hypocrisy goes. Do you think there would be ANY hesitation in pulling down an ad for Poached Chicklets (that’s slang for ‘teeth’) from a Craigslist executive. (wink) 
The murder of the executive is not required, even though that would be analogous to the black market ivory trade experience. 
The infant children of the executive do not have to be left to die alone in halls of some air conditioned office building, even though that would better reflect the realities of the black market ivory trade. 
No, just teeth. Simply walk up to your nearest current or former Craigslist executive, including by proxy any eBay executives (that have purchased a 25% share in Craigslist), and punch them square in the mouth. Although brass knuckles will be effective at loosening teeth, peace officers are sure to frown upon their use. I’d recommend, after the first few punches, a good set of pliers will work much better at getting those black market Craigslist Chicklets free. 
Safety Tip: be sure to wear examination gloves while handling Craigslist executives. You just don’t know where they’ve been.