Dear Mr. Trudeau,
November 4th is just around the corner, where you will be ushered in as our next Prime Minister. Canada has spoken and they have chosen you to lead our nation for the next four years. Considering the outcome from the October 19th election, I assume the Liberals will be successful in the next election as well.
There is a lot you and your cabinet can do with potentially 8 years leading our country.
Every morning I log onto Facebook and Twitter, there is no shortage of posts and memes honouring your victory and the ‘Real Change’ that Canadians are looking forward to. Regardless of the outcome from the election and all the recent mandates you plan to implement, a part of me is not fully vested in what this country does. On May 29th, 2015 Bill C-24 came into law, which declared most of my family and closest friends as ‘2nd Class Citizens’.
I hope you can understand how disappointing this is for some of us. I was born in Richmond, British Columbia and I do not have dual citizenship; however, I am a son of two immigrants, now Canadian citizens, from Portugal. To be exact, my parents are from a small island called Flores (population < 10,000), which is on the western archipelago of the Azores Islands. They came to Canada in the mid 1970s, during a major revolution in recent Portuguese history.
Growing up in a two language household had its benefits and challenges, we embraced our Portuguese heritage while doing our best to join our fellow Canadians in Canada’s achievements. From Canada recently hosting and sweeping the podium at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver to major milestones in Canadian history; such as, Prime Minister Jean Chretien telling President George W. Bush that Canada will not be involved in the Iraq War back of 2003.
My hard work has afforded me the opportunity to travel frequently to various corners of the globe. When I have mentioned that I am from Canada, I am greeted with open arms. Often I have been told in the past how lucky I am to live in such a great country. There isn’t a day that I am not eternally grateful of the sacrifices my parents made to come here to start a family, and provide everything their children could ever need.
Now I ponder frequently what does it mean to truly be Canadian. With Bill C-24 in place, I ponder what could eventually change over time. Will ‘2nd Class Citizens’ get left behind and/or set aside in the wake of a national emergency? Could we see a class system that affects one’s ability to make an honest living? Will neighbours stop greeting one another because they are now different classes? To many Canadians these thoughts may be non-existent. However, to the near one million Canadians that are now deemed ‘2nd Class Citizens’ it is guaranteed they are discussing this topic at the dinner table.
Much like you, I am a teacher, and I take pride in the lessons I provide to my post-secondary classroom. A significant portion of my students are considered ‘2nd Class Citizens’, where I prep them to be effective members of the workforce. To my students that are new to this country and/or do not have as many connections locally, I empower them to pursue opportunities that they did not believe was possible of achieving.
On October 19th you declared that you would be the Prime Minister of all Canadians. You will have the power to repeal Bill C-24 and make Canadians equal again. If you do not feel as passionately about this issue, might I request that we make July 2nd as the official Canada Day for ‘2nd Class Citizens’. Dual citizenship or not, many of these ‘2nd Class Citizens’ should be acknowledged for their contribution to Canada. The existence of a two tier citizenship structure is very “un-Canadian” and it may only do more harm than good.
Best wishes on November 4th and I hope this message reaches you.
One of a million newly designated ‘2nd Class Citizens’