47 Percent

47 percent

Percentage of Americans who are “somewhat worried” or “very worried” that they or someone in their family could be the victim of terrorism. That number was 33 percent in 2014.

Seriously? I hope it’s just a pose because if people are serious about this, I’m scared for their mental health.

Putin’s Puppet Plummets

Marine Le Pen lost the election! This is great news not just for France but for Ukraine and a massive defeat for Le Pen’s sponsor Putin.

In case anybody is completely oblivious to European politics, Putin champions all of the far right, nationalistic, anti-EU parties of Europe. He passionately wants the EU to collapse and doesn’t begrudge any money to the European parties that advance this goal.

Mr. Brat

I decided to take a break from work on a rainy Sunday afternoon to read the new issue of the New York Times Magazine. And what do you think I found?

The stupid smug face of the useless rich Papa’s boy Justin Trudeau. There is no escaping from this fellow.

Since being sworn in 15 seconds ago, Trudeau has already managed to turn his rich spoiled brattiness into the country’s issue #1. For two weeks, Canada has been debating whether it’s reasonable to use public funds to pay for the 2 (TWO!) nannies this wealthy man is employing. Apparently, expecting Trudeau to pay for his own damn nannies is way too much to ask. In the meanwhile, the same Trudeau is taking away the childcare subsidies of the working middle class.

From the Nanny State to state nannies for the fortunate few, this is the journey that Canada is traveling with Trudeau whose political philosophy rests on creating as many divisions, antagonisms, and resentments among Canadians as possible.

A Cruel Joke

It’s like Canadians are playing a cruel joke on the immigrants. First they welcome them into a kinder, gentler version of Canada where everybody is super stoked to see them, the Prime Minister rushes to embrace them, the helpful bureaucrats show up of their own free will to facilitate the paperwork acquisition, there are free pre-paid international phone cards, toys, clothes, beautifully appointed rest areas, etc. 

So the immigrants understandably think, “Ah, this is what Canada is like!”

But after Canadians decide that they’ve derived all the value they could from this new toy, they toss it and move on. And the immigrants get to emigrate for the second time. This time, they arrive in the real Canada, a capitalist society that is harsh, unforgiving, with a bureaucracy that is anything but helpful, locals who are not that welcoming or eager to have them there, and a realization that free cheese in this society can only be found in mousetraps.

And it’s like, “Ta-da! Gotcha, you fools! Did you really think that the fake Canada constructed for the sake of making the Prime Minister look good is real?”

One positive thing is that most refugees are not active on Canadian social media and don’t read the Canadian press so they have no exposure just yet to the avalanche of smug, self-congratulatory writing Canadians engage in on the subject of their arrival.

Welcoming Immigrants

A second group of Syrian refugees arrived in Toronto on late Thursday night. They were sponsored by Canada’s Armenian community. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at the airport greeting everyone. It was extremely touching. All very given their Social Insurance Number card as well as their Health Insurance Card.

When we arrived in Toronto as immigrants, nobody gave us SIN and Health Insurance cards. We had to go through the entire (convoluted and painful, especially for an immigrant) process of getting them on our own. And that was a very good, helpful thing.

People who want to live in Canada need to know how to engage with the country’s complex bureaucratic system. This is not a fun process but the experience of standing in five different lines that will finally take you to the Health Insurance card is important on both a symbolic and a practical level and helps you feel like all other Canadians.

There are rites of passage for every immigrant where they integrate themselves into the new society in a way that absolutely does have to be somewhat uncomfortable. Finding a place of your own, figuring out what a “security deposit” is, getting registered with the electrical company and the phone company – I still get a headache when I remember how I navigated this process (and twice within just 3 months, too) as a newcomer to Canada. (I also had to get the blasted SIN and HIC twice because my first ones were stolen in the first year of immigration.)

But these were all invaluable experiences. I’m not resentful about them but grateful. Canadians treated me, right from the start, as one of their own and not as a rare zoo animal or a circus freak who has to be coddled for exactly as long as s/he can provide touching photo ops and then cast aside for the benefit of a fresher one-day wonder. 

I just hope that these things were more thought out and immigrants were not subdivided into the categories of “those we want to integrate” and “those we don’t want to integrate” from the start.