My sister and brother-in-law (both citizens of Canada) want to take their children (also citizens of Canada) to the beach in Florida. Some people might consider this to be a wholesome, unobjectionable activity.

“Because of COVID,” Canada hasn’t been renewing the expired passports of citizens except for those who needed urgent travel. Of course, “because of COVID” most people didn’t travel much. As a result, a huge backlog of expired passports was created. Now people have to wait in Soviet-style lines to get them renewed.

My brother-in-law who’s a citizen of Canada joined a line at the government agency at 4 am. Yes, in the morning. He was only #25 in line formed by other citizens of Canada. Obviously, at that time of night the government agency was closed. It rained, and the line that kept growing stood outside for hours.

Then the agency opened. Every once in a while, a government worker appeared to tell people there weren’t going to be any appointments and they should leave. He suggested other places, many miles away, where he was certain there were no appointments and no lines. My sister is from the USSR. She knows all these tricks, so she was furiously texting her husband to stay put and not believe these distracting stories aimed at reducing lines artificially.

At 1 pm my brother-in-law (yes, the one who’s a citizen) finally had his turn. He talked to a government worker and was scheduled for an official appointment next Monday afternoon. By that time, the poor fellow, untrained in the art of standing in mile-long lines, was beyond himself and ready to go home. Clutching the card with the appointment information to his heart, he stumbled out of the government office and went home.

And that’s when he made a fatal mistake.

Can you guess what it was?

Yes, he trusted that the card said what he was being told. That the appointment was for Monday afternoon. He didn’t read what the card actually said.

And when he got home. After all this. And proudly handed the card to his wife. He discovered.

That the appointment was scheduled for July 20, long after the planned trip.

Yes, he turned and went back to the government agency. But that’s a whole new story.

Yesterday I saw tweets from a reporter in Montreal who tried to cover this story at that precise government facility where my brother-in-law went. Police shooed her and her cameraman away, preventing them from interviewing the people in line.

I can’t get over the fact that these are citizens, law-abiding, tax-paying people who aren’t trying to do anything shady, illegal, or even unusual. Why is their government failing them in such a miserable way? I understand why it happened in the USSR but isn’t Canada supposed to be different?

It might seem like I’m constantly dunking on Canada but Canada is what we will be in a couple of years. It’s a cautionary tale. Or would be if people paid attention.

5 thoughts on “Citizens

    1. Leaving or entering. I feel so angry when I come to Canada and see gigantic signs everywhere reminding travelers that they can’t return to Canada if they haven’t uploaded documents to an app. When my parents were returning to Canada in April, my father was already very sick. The illnesses had developed literally in days. They were in a rush to get him to a doctor. Of course, nobody thought of bothering with the stupid app. And they got hassled at the border for it even though it was clear that my father was in no shape to upload apps.

      People think it’s not a big deal but it is.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Exactly. And this practice of having people wait in lines all night long? What if you are a single parent? What if you are disabled, unwell, have a job, have any of the million reasons why you don’t have 10 hours to spend in a line? You don’t deserve citizen rights then?

          Liked by 2 people

  1. I renewed my US passport recently, it takes 11 weeks; paying a bribe, or “expedite fee”, shortened it to two. Sounds pretty Soviet to me.


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