Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
I’m no longer a foreign troublemaker in Canada. I’m now a Canadian citizen troublemaker!
On 29. January, 2016, Ducky and I affirmed allegiance to the Queen of Canada, and completed our metamorphosis into Canadian citizens. It was a brief ceremony, an hour and a half made up of bureaucracy with a layer of pomp and ceremony. There were 80 new Canadians, from about 15 different countries. The couple next to us were from England and from Scotland — I wonder how they grappled with shifting their allegiance from the Queen of the United Kingdom to the Queen of Canada. We spent our first 45 minutes shuffling up to a counter, where our application was checked one last time. This was a formality; the filter was last November’s citizenship test. We sat in 80 numbered chairs, which ensured we were in the same order as the stack of 80 Certificates of Citizenship. We heard a speech. We recited the Oath (or in my case, Affirmation) of Citizenship, in English, then in French. (Thankfully, our presiding Judge Roy Wong had quite good French, unlike the cringeworthy mangle we heard at a high-profile Canada Day citizenship ceremony a few years ago.) We sang “O Canada”: mostly in English, keener me in the bilingual version. We filed past Judge Wong in our carefully numbered order, and received the correct Certificate of Citizenship. Most people went off to work. A few of us stayed for photos.
Interestingly, we lost our Canadian permanent resident cards in the transaction; we are now citizens, not permanent residents. If we were to visit the US soon, we might not be able to get back in to Canada. So our next task is to apply for Canadian passports. Hopefully, they will be mailed to us within a couple of weeks. Then we tell the NEXUS program about our changed status, and are free to scamper across the border again.
We don’t lose our US citizenship. It used to that 8 U.S.C. § 1481 took away your US citizenship, if you became a naturalized citizen of another country. But the US Supreme Court ruled (in Afroyim vs Rusk (1967), according to Wikipedia at least) that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution overrules that Congressional statute. So now we stay US citizens until we express a clear intent not to be. And it’s a great situation to have: the privilege to live in a wonderful country like Canada, while still being able to travel and work in the USA. When first we moved to Canada, the cross-border tax expert, the late David Ingram, counseled us to get Canadian citizenship as soon as we could; for born US citizens it was all upside and no downside. He was right. Sure, we get the joy of filing both US and Canadian tax returns. But there are experts who help us with that, and a tax treaty that most of the time means each dollar is taxed by either Canada or the US, not by both.
For our first year as new citizens, we get free admission to thousands of parks and museums nationwide, thanks to the Cultural Access Pass. VIA Rail will give us 50% off a ticket, even a multi-week cross-country sleeper car trip. We are planning our adventures already! And we were touched by the enthusiastic welcome from Canadian friends on Facebook (and warm congratulations from US friends), also this one, and this one, and this one.
Oh, Canada, our home and (naturalised) land!
Canada Post and the US Postal Service raised their postage rates again in January 2013. I was busy then, but I’ve grabbed a moment and updated my handy Canada Post and USPS postage rate quick reference card. The Canada Post rate increases were effective January 14, 2013, and the USPS increases were effective January 27.
My Canada Post and USPS Postage Rates project page, http://jdlh.com/en/pr/postage_card.html, has links to download the latest charts as I update them. The spreadsheet source file for the charts is also there. Both are licensed CC-BY-SA, so please feel free to re-use and modify them (as long as you attribute my work and share your product as freely).
Heads up: Canada Post has already received approval for first-class mail rate increases in 2014. The 2013 increases of both agencies came almost exactly one year after their 2012 increases, so I won’t be surprised if this becomes an annual event. The good news is that both Canada Post and USPS offer “perpetual” or “forever” stamps, which are worth first-class basic domestic postage, whatever the price may increase to.
Canada Post and the US Postal Service raised their postage rates in January, and I’ve just got around to updating my handy Canada Post and USPS postage rate quick reference card on this blog. The Canada Post rate increases were effective January 16, 2012, and the USPS increases were effective January 22.
My Canada Post and USPS Postage Rates project page, http://jdlh.com/en/pr/postage_card.html, will have links to download the latest charts as I update them. The spreadsheet source file for the charts is also there. Both are licensed CC-BY-SA, so please feel free to re-use and modify them (as long as you attribute my work and share your product as freely).
Heads up: Canada Post has already received approval for first-class mail rate increases in 2013 and 2014. Both Canada Post and USPS offer “perpetual” or “forever” stamps, which are worth first-class basic domestic postage, whatever the price may increase to.
Last January I got around to introducing my handy Canada Post and USPS postage rate quick reference card on this blog. On April 17th, 2011, the United States Postal Service put new, higher postage rates into effect. I’ve revised my rate cards to reflect the new USPS rates.
Living as I do with one foot in the USA and one foot in Canada, I find myself sending letters from Canada to Canada, Canada to the USA, and sometimes carrying mail with me over the border to mail in the USA to the USA. I have one pile of Canada Post stamps, and another of US Postal Service stamps. But looking up the various postage rates, with their grams and ounces, was a nuisance. I couldn’t find a single rate card which covered both countries succinctly. And with each service raising its prices about once a year, my improvised rate cards were going out of date every few months.
Nearly two years ago I came up with a handy quick reference to current Canada Post and USPS postage rates for basic letters between the USA and Canada. Last spring it was polished enough that I posted it on my web site. I just now updated it to reflect the Canada Post rate increase which took effect on 17. January. You can find it at http://jdlh.com/en/pr/postage_card.html.
I write in opposition to the [United States Transportation Security Administration]’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), Docket No. TSA–2008–0021. I am a United States citizen residing in Canada, and a private pilot licensed by Transport Canada and the FAA. I fly for fun. [Background: this blog post consists of a public comment I just submitted to the docket.]
Security is valuable, and I’m in support of sensible measures to advance security. But security measures are trade-offs, and the trade-off has to be a good one. The benefits must outweigh the costs. The TSA’s proposed LASP fails this test spectacularly. The costs will be huge, the benefits meagre. Additionally, the TSA’s justification is based on flawed reasoning. Continue Reading »
I remember that Christmas was such an exciting time for me as a kid. There was such anticipation. I was thrilled to be getting something I really, really, realllly wanted. I couldn’t wait to get started with the gift-unwrapping early on Christmas morning.
The adults didn’t seem to be nearly as eager to get up and get going. And later in life, I recognised that, when I was more eager to sleep in than to open gifts on Christmas morning, it was another sign I was no longer a child.
Continue Reading »
Obama was elected US President yesterday, and there was a huge celebration at a bar in Yaletown near our house (see the photo). It felt great to cheer the good news. Ducky and I have both been weeping from time to time over the last few days as the news sinks in.
This is about more than politics. This is a step towards redemption.
Wow. This is so good I have to pass it on. Sean Quinn posted a marvellous article, “The Big Empty“, at FiveThirtyEight.com. Part of what I like is that it elicited one of the best blog comments I’ve read in a long time:
Frankly, I’m appalled at the blatant journalism that is evident in this story. It’s almost as though you’ve gone around the country actually observing what is going on in terms of the ground game, and reported on it. Typical lefties. (Sedi)
Quinn has been visiting McCain and Obama field offices across the country for some weeks, and reporting how deserted the McCain offices were and how active the Obama offices. Today he put it all together, with a devastating sequence of more than a dozen photos of empty (and closed) McCain offices from New Mexico to North Carolina. Check it out.
I don’t really want to start commentary about the US Presidential race, since so many other people are already saying so much. But I do want to mention one thing that struck me, as a resident of Canada.
In last Friday’s debate (Sept 26, 2008) between John McCain and Barack Obama, they talked about the outlook for the war in Afghanistan. They both described it in purely US terms, as if the US was fighting that war alone.