“…But at the same time, Canadians have been very clear that we see immigration as a net positive, that we know we don’t have to compromise security in order to build stronger, more resilient communities. I am going to continue continue to stand for Canadian values and Canadian success in our immigration system as I always have, whether I’m in Washington or in Hamburg next week or elsewhere around the world.”
“Anytime I meet people who got to make the deliberate choice, whose parents chose Canada, I’m jealous,” he said in an interview that aired Friday morning on CTV.
This is our story as posted on our blog on June 12, 2017
Twenty-three weeks after the second day of the new year
This post is different from all the others in that it doesn’t talk about writing or publishing. It doesn’t talk about books at all. It is a promise being kept: I, Author, have promised to tell you about the Everward family’s Canada Quest, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Writing this post, I speak for myself, Kate (Sister, of course), our mother, and our three cats (aka Lords and Masters, and anyone who has cats knows what I mean). Mind you, I wasn’t sure how I should do this, but then I remembered that this is a blog. I’ll write this post as best as I can, and if there’s anything else you want to know, you can always ask.
So here it is: the Everward family has known for a long time that they don’t belong in the country they live in. It happens that people are born in a place that is wrong for them, or the reality of their birthplace changes around them, making it difficult for them to live in it, even isolating them. For our family all of the above are true. Now, I don’t want to speak ill of the country I was born in, or of its people. There are good people in every place, here too. I will say this, though, about the three of us: we are liberals and believe in democracy. We advocate tolerance and kindness to others and treat them as we ourselves would like to be treated. We do not condone intolerance or violence toward those who voice different opinions or who come from a different origin than ours. We are Anglicans who respect all peaceful beliefs. And we want to go about our lives without being discriminated against or treated with indignity simply because we are women.
What our small family seeks is a place of peace, kindness, tolerance. A place of safety. And security, too, we don’t want wars anymore. I am writing this post in a room that is pure concrete, with a heavy iron door and a blast window. Both open now, but they have been closed too many times. Many homes here have these rooms. In the last war we sat here day after day, waiting for the missile warning to stop, for the missiles to explode far enough away. One hit a building a walking distance from here. Another fell in a schoolyard nearby. It was scary. You don’t forget something like that. This wasn’t our first war, and there’s constantly talk of the next one, in this increasingly unstable region. From the south, where the Egyptian military is not making headway in its fight against ISIS. From the north, where Syria and Lebanon are and the borders are restless. And in the southeast, well, I don’t need to tell you about that, do I? And it’s never over. On the morning Author began writing this post two rockets were launched from the south. Luckily no one was hurt. But luck doesn’t hold forever. And then there are the terror attacks, they simply don’t stop. You know, you never get used to living in fear. Constant tension, constant worry, not a moment of peace. We just want a bit of peace. We want to live in a friendly place, a country with people who are, simply said, nice, where we can build a real life for ourselves, with friends and neighbors and laughter. Canada.
You should know that we have made every effort to procure visas with the help of a Canadian immigration lawyer, who has failed us in every way possible. We provided the required paperwork and went through the required tests, going so far as to fly to London for the IELTS exams just to make the December 2014 deadline. That’s right, December 2014. It’s been two and a half years since we first applied to move to Canada. 904 days today since we officially submitted visa requests. Done, submitted, and nothing since. No answer. At first you’re ecstatic, then you hang on to hope with everything you’ve got, and then you simply don’t understand why so many others are let in, but not you.
We won’t give up our hope of a new life in a safe place we can call our home. Which is why we are now fighting for it our way. You, the readers of this blog, know us enough by now to know that we are not just sitting and waiting for something to happen, but are taking proactive steps, putting all that we have, all that we are, into realizing our dreams of a better future. It’s been more than a year since Kate and I have left our jobs behind, using our experience, our determination, and our love for what we do to start Author & Sister. On the way we began telling you our story. And not only you, you should know. Kate has approached Canadian government officials directly. She has even approached the office of its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, hoping to tell him the family’s story. And we will continue to do that. Fighting is something the Everward family is used to doing, in this life we’ve had.
Ironically—and allow me to speak directly to Canada for a minute here—if you think about it, we’re an exact fit to what you’ve been asking for in productive immigrants who would see you as their home and contribute to you as upstanding citizens. And yet you chose to reduce us to numbers, to dry information we doubt anyone had ever even given attention to. You don’t see us for who we are, and you don’t see what you, Canada, are for us, and what we want to be for you, the country we want to make our home. We ask you: Canada, do you realize that while you’re seeking good people to become new Canadians, you yourself are preventing them, those same people you seek, from coming in? Yes, Canada. Here we are. Look at us. And you know what, look at what we did. While you disregarded us, never even gave us a chance, look at what we’ve done. At what we’re becoming. Everything we have built so far we could have built while in Canada, as the exact new Canadians you yourself had asked for. We could have been the Canadian Author and Sister.
No tip today, I think. Wait, yes, a tip after all, for you, each and every one of you who are reading this special post of ours: don’t hesitate to do all you can for a better life. Never stay in the darkness when there’s a light somewhere out there for you.
And a personal note: I, Author, await the day when I will write my blog posts to you sitting under a tree in the garden of our family home, in Canada.