I have for many years held the belief that Lou Dobbs is a jack ass, his daily diatribes on CNN are barely better than listening to well known drug addict Rush Limbaugh. About the only industry that would benefit from Lou is the Razor Wire manufacturers! as the crow flies we would need something like 12,000 miles of it to protect the US border, and no doubt a single strand would not be enough.

Canada on the other hand uses a softer but equally irritating method of dealing with immigration. No Lou Dobbs Razor Wire for us, we will beat you to death with administrivia. I guess my favorite is the language requirements, Canada is bilingual, so I have been told. The harsh reality is that 90% of us speak English, and the rest speak whatever they like. Certainly on the west side of the country there are more Chinese speakers than there are francophone’s. Even though French is about as common as sunstroke in the Arctic, we put up with it, we even have instructions on the side of cans of baked beans in French -Mode d employ (or something similar). We are nice people, we let this stuff go on. Of course the rules are different in the one French enclave in Canada, Quebec. Quebec is special we are told. Quebec has a unique identity the politicians entreat us. Personally I think this might be the place for Lou’s Razor Wire!

I recently had the need to play in the murky world of immigrating to Canada, I am Canadian, so this story is not about me! The basic plot involves filling out one three page form, and paying a fee of $200. This does not sound all that challenging. But you would be wrong.

Problem number one was finding the form, that in itself was pretty much an all day adventure of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ on the various Government of Canada web sites. After taking innumerable twists and turns in the passageway to knowledge you would end up in a dead end cave. After slaying many mythical beasts and using healing potions I finally located the form. I was excited, it was a ‘clickable’ form, meaning that we could fill it out online. Of course there was a catch, you have to print it out, you cannot file this online. Oh, and catch number two, you cannot save the information! All in all, this is about as much use as a ham sandwich at a Jewish wedding!

OK, I was frustrated, but I did feel I was winning. I mean how hard can it be to pay $200? Well in Canada it turns out to be a real stumbling block. They don’t accept cash! I have never been anywhere that didn’t accept cash before. My theory was to truck on down to the Government Of Canada building and fork over my hard earned money. That would have been way too easy, and Canada has invented what has to be the most inane system in the known universe. You have to pay the money up front at a bank and get a receipt. But, and its a huge but, the receipt has to be on a Government form. No problem thinks me, and back off to the prolonged game of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ on their web site.

There is only one form not available online, and that of course is this stupid receipt! Of course this form is not available at the Government of Canada office either. The only way to get it is to  spend 45 minutes on musical hold and talk to a rather unhelpful and bored operator who takes your name and address and mails it out within a couple of weeks.

So as I said at the beginning of this article, you don’t need Lou Dobb’s razor wire, just do it the Canadian way. You can slow immigration down to a trickle!

Simon Barrett


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