I just became a citizen of Canada. I did the online ceremony with my wife and son.
I swore an Oath of Allegiance to the King of Canada, King Charles III. The Judge, who has been doing this for a while almost mentioned the Queen. An understandable minor slip. Quite emotional after the last week with the Queen's funeral on Monday.
I sang the National Anthem and God was still in there. Hallelujah. When we first came here and went to an ice hockey game the crowd stood and sang Oh Canada. I was moved to tears by the strength and belief in the words of the anthem being sung out. That is Canada to me.
This is a great country.
I sit in my Edwardian style English House built in 1912 looking out towards the hills and a volcano top in the distance on a blue sky day, wisps of cloud above...
And I process the journey and what being a Citizen means.
Canada, in the last few years since we arrived, has been facing challenges in my eyes which were not what I expected to see here. My Canadian friends tell me this also. A Christian basis for society is written out of State Education. A promotion of alternate gender, without parents being involved in State Education is confusing children and causing division among them. This is according to friends who witness what their own children face. Adults are, by force of social media or a sense of doing the wrong thing, unable to question without being attacked. The Rainbow, in all its forms, seems to be establishing control as an ideology that cannot be questioned. This is dangerous as it enables a State control to sneak in under its banner.
A massive spend during Covid has taken an almost debt free country into huge overdraft.
A peaceful demonstration in Ottawa by truckers was demonized and bank accounts frozen for people who supported these folk by the Government. Leaders of that event imprisoned. For what? I understand the State has kept the right to freeze your bank accounts in place. If you do something The State does not agree with, your mortgage (if you have one) might not be paid. So behave.
And yet today as I took the Oath, freedom of expression was one of the things I swore to uphold. Confusing.
And Benjamin was just too old to go into French Immersion School when we arrived. And having French is a door opener to many jobs here, particularly in Government. Interesting to learn the culture.
And I have already faced some big challenges here I did not expect. Character building times.
The Judge told us of volunteering. Apparently 22 million Canadians volunteer in their community every year. She told us of respect for the native peoples of this land. We saw a video of the breadth and diversity of a land mass that dwarfs our native Great Britain. We must go travel to see. We travel over the Rockies to Vancouver, we have travelled through blizzards gingerly following the snow plough. You really do need a four by four in those conditions. She told us of our responsibility to be working to support our families and to make a contribution. What she spoke of was what I thought Canada was and - still in the words she used today - is. That might not be what we see on the news, but it is very encouraging.
And my son has a country where he can stretch his legs. And my wife loves it here.
And the air is different for me, where we live is very entrepreneurial, a bit Wild West or so it feels. Things move quicker, house prices rise and dip faster than England for example. And we are on a continent getting close to 400 million people.
I think... where I am.
In England envisioning being in North America and embracing that market was a step away. Now I stand on it, it feels different. A Canadian friend straight away saw me as an Englishman in North America as a distinctive.
So for me this is opportunity and as all safety nets are removed and I am an Immigrant off the boat and now a Citizen. It is all to play for and a spur to action. I definitely have one in these sets of circumstances where you have to re-invent yourself.
Already my writing over the last six years has been dramatically imbued by this continent and this land I am now a Citizen of. And I must make a new life here for my family. An exciting challenge...
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
So what is my responsibility as a Canadian? I feel like a British Canadian at present, perhaps like a first generation Italian American?
Food for thought...
I will ponder on my oath and I'm also prompted to revisit my marital oath too - to remind me of what I gave my word to. Let your yes be yes and your no, no says the Bible, my Holy Book of choice as it was referred to in the ceremony today.