Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dog in Muttlucks

Here is Sophie all kitted out for winter.

Today she is sporting a fleece lined dog coat, which is water repellent, to keep her warm and dry.

To keep the salt out of her paw pads, she is wearing Muttlucks. She is fine wearing the coat, but she is not too happy about the paw wear.

Yesterday she saw snow for the first time, and refused to step in it. Today she had no problem with her new Muttlucks.

The problem for dogs is the amount of salt, which can dry out their paw pads, causing them to crack. The groomer suggested that we wash her paws every time she comes back from a walk to get off the salt and ice, or just put her in these pooch shoes. I think the pooch shoes will be easier for us, and more pleasant for her.

No.....she’s not spoiled at all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It’s snowing!

There is enough snow for my Floridian boys to go sledding, yay! It’s only about an inch deep, but that’ll do. They're so excited about the snow.

It takes us quite a long time to get all suited up to go out in the snow, but I expect we'll get quicker.

It's amazing to think that just a few short weeks ago we were on the beach and the water temperature was hot!

North Wind

Photo of man salting our driveways and sidewalks taken at 7.00 am this morning. Tip: I discovered if you click on the photo you can enlarge it to see it more clearly. Double click on the photo to get the largest size photo.

We are heading into Winter. We haven't had a real snow yet, but the snow flurries are getting heavier.

Eric has been enjoying the mild fall, but I told him that winter comes FAST!

The last few days have been windy. The younger two boys’ school sits on a hill, so it is especially windy when they get out of the car. Interesting!

The temperature dropped 10 degrees over the last few days from mid 30s (approx. +1C) to mid 20s (approx. -3C). It sounds colder in metric. Weather in Florida is averaging mid 80s (30C) and sunny.

The days are getting much shorter in Ontario. It’s getting dark around 5.00. Florida will stay light until 6.00. That hour makes a big difference. There is a trade off for the extra daylight in the winter. In the summer in Florida it is dark by 8.00, whereas Ontario has those long light evenings. It’s taking some time to get used to such shorter days, by the time 7.00 pm rolls around we feel like it is 9.00 or 10.00. We have to check our watch, since we have no sense of time in this new climate.

When Eric and I went for our evening walk last night it was bitter. My scarf, hat, and gloves are too thin (bought them at Target), so I am going out today to find something warmer. We were at the Bay Store yesterday and found some big warm hats. They had fleece lining and red and black polar fleece fabric. They even had ear flaps so you could open them to hear what someone else was saying. We thought they were funny and that we would look like lumberjacks wearing them. They don’t seem funny at all now.

There was a light snow last night. When I looked outside the window at 6:00 am this morning, there was a snow plow putting salt on the road. A short while later some men walked around the neighbourhood putting salt on the driveways and steps. Now, that’s service.

Even though I’m Canadian, it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced winter, so it’s all sort of new and familiar at the same time.

Kids are excited to see snow flurries. We need to go out and get some ice skates for everyone today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's ok honey, it's the Government touching you!

If one is living in a free country, one is free to take photographs or videos in a public place. If government employees feel they are doing something wrong, they will intimidate you to delete what you have on your camera/video. This is not freedom!

The TSA agents knew that strip searching the child was inappropriate, otherwise they would have no problem with it being recorded.

This government paranoia is similar to what happened to us recently at the US Border at Detroit (see U.S. Border Nightmare) where my family endured 2 hours of intimidation merely because I took a camera out of my pocket to put in my car. I didn’t even intend to take a single photograph. I guess I was lucky my family wasn’t physically molested at the same time.

TSA rules state that no child under 12 is to receive the pat down (strip search). Yet children were still strip searched. TSA reiterated last week that no child was to receive the pat down. This boy was strip searched on Friday, so clearly children are still being strip searched.

Yeah, I feel a lot safer knowing that the theatre of security is strip searching little children. There are other videos on you tube of children being molested, including a 3 year old girl screaming “Don’t touch me”!

Who wants to fly to Orlando to see Mickey Mouse? Let’s teach our children that no one is to touch them inappropriately, and then watch helplessly as the government molests them. How does a child tell the difference between “It’s ok honey, it’s the government touching you”, and “I think a grown up did something bad to me, I better tell someone”.

I would like to know how many “terrorists” have been detained using this procedure? El Al, the Israeli airline, says this type of security measure is not effective. El Al screens effectively for real terrorists, not children carrying a snow globe, or other trinkets.

Can we have some real security at the airport, instead of this farce passing for security?

Let’s not forget the real reason behind these new procedures – profit, not safety.

Here is a question I have about those plastic gloves. Why are they wearing them? Are they touching you so intimately that they need to protect themselves from bodily fluids etc? Are they changing the gloves between "personal examinations"? I certainly don't want to catch anything - I would insist the inspector change their plastic gloves.

Here is another question regarding the effectiveness of the scanner/pat down security theatre. In addition to passengers' luggage, airlines routinely carry commercial shipments. How thoroughly are these items scanned? All one has to do is to send a printer cartridge through, and detonate by cell phone.

Here is a comment from the person who took the video. One person asks "Are they harrassing a kid?" I'd rather drive than fly and put my children through this.

Lets get the facts straight first. Before the video started the boy went through a metal detector and didn't set it off but was selected for a pat down. The boy was shy so the TSA couldn't complete the full pat on the young boy. The father tried several times to just hold the boys arms out for the TSA agent but i guess it didn't end up being enough for the guy. I was about 30 ft away so i couldn't hear their conversation if there was any. The enraged father pulled his son shirt off and gave it to the TSA agent to search, thats when this video begins.


After I finished videotaping the incident I went through the check point myself. I collected my things and went over to talk to the father and son. Before I could get to them a man in a black suit who had been talking with the other TSA officials approached me. He asked to speak to me and I obliged, wondering what was to come. He then proceeded to interrogate me about why I was videotaping the "procedures of the TSA". I told him that I had never seen such practices before on a young child and decided to record it. The man being frustrated at this point demanded to know my plans with the video, of which I didn't respond. Repeatedly he asked me to delete the video, hoping his mere presence could intimidate me to obey, but I refused. By this point it became obvious that he felt TSA had done something wrong and that I caught it on tape. After the interview, I left for my gate. I called my brother who told me I should put the tape on YouTube because this had been a recent hot topic in the news. My gate was a long way off, but about 15 minutes after arriving 2 TSA agents came and sat 15 feet or so away from me. I stood up and moved so that they were in front of me and then took a picture. A 3rd and then a 4th agent came and sat down with the others. They would occasionally glance at me and talk on their walkie-talkies. I don't know why they were there or if it was a huge coincidence but they stayed for 30-45 minutes and left just before I boarded the plan. Interesting to say the least, intimidating? Maybe a little... ”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's snowing! Sort of...

Ok, so it's a little snow flurry. It's exciting to us to see our first snow flurry.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My 14 year old child was approached by a Military Recruiter at school during art class

Navy recruiter, at my son’s previous high school (in the U.S.), giving a recruitment presentation in class during the Great American Teach In. Personal photo collection.

This is the actual recruiter who turned up in my son’s art class wearing full naval white service dress uniform, (a white tunic, white trousers, white shoes, complete with white hat, with all his gleaming medals). Very intimidating!

Last April our eldest boy, then 14, was in grade 9.

One day, without warning, a military recruiter for the Navy, in full military uniform, took over his grade 9 art class for the entire 50 minute period. The art teacher sat at the back of the class for the recruitment session. The military recruiter handed a military recruitment form to the class, and said that all students must fill it out immediately and hand it back to him. My son refused to fill out the form, and the recruiter told him it was mandatory. Another kid sitting next to my son said “Don’t fill out that form – it’s bad, they’ll never leave you alone.” Smart kid.

Meanwhile, recruiter is telling the class how wonderful the Navy is, and you get to travel to lots of different countries. “Does anyone here like fishing? I get a lot of chance to fish in some pretty amazing rivers in different countries and I caught some really big fish.” (Huh! I’m a tad confused with military and fishing, but I guess they can catch some whoppers on those big naval ships.)

Mr. Recruiter starts handing out key fobs, blue water bottles with NAVY on them, pens marked "US Military", and other trinkets to the children, and asking questions like “does anyone here know how to put out a fire? You can become a fireman, the navy has lots of interesting jobs”. He walked around the room to collect the recruitment forms, and my son had not filled his in, and the recruiter told him he had to fill it in, but my son still refused (empower your child to say no to military recruiters) and eventually Mr. Recruiter backed down.

I was flabbergasted the day my son came home from school and said, "Mom, you'll never guess what happened to me in art class today". I'm thinking some lesson on drawing, or other artistic endeavour. Then he showed me his military recruitment form, a NAVY water bottle, and a pen marked "U.S. Military" and told me a recruiter took over the art class and he won some prizes for answering the recruiter's questions. This is why you must always talk to your child throughout the school year, because he still participated for the prizes. My son told me the questions he answered were "how do you put out a fire" and general in nature. He did remember that I had told him not to answer anything personal and not fill out the form.

I was angry with the school, and I felt violated. I had done everything to protect my son from military recruiters. The school had a Military Opt Out form and had ignored it. I had advised other parents how to avoid recruiters.

I had to find out how this could have happened.

At the beginning of the school year I located and filled out a Military Opt Out form, handed it to the school and had it date stamped “received”, delivered a copy to the principal and superintendent of the local school board.

I called the school and was told that my son's school records stated "No military opt out on file, ok to release information to military". I was told that I had not handed in a military opt out form. I told them I had and my copy was date stamped received. The school then admitted that they had a form after all, but it was in my son’s file, and had never been entered into the database.

I went to see the principal, and told her what had happened, and she said “oh, oh”. Well, I’m probably the worst person this could have happened to, since I counter-recruit as much as I can. Now I'm concerned my son's information has already been sent to JAMRS.

A child is entitled to an education without being harrassed by military recruiters. In the U.S. this is a gargantuan task compounded by the local culture of the military being a "benevolent" organization fighting for "freedom" that pervades much of American patriotism.

I e-mailed the art teacher and asked why she was “allowing 14 year olds to be exposed to military recruitment during class time, when students are unable to walk out and leave”. My e-mail was not aggressive, I only asked her this one question. The art teacher e-mailed back that since I was so sensitive to classroom presentations, she was cancelling an artist who was going to visit the class soon. She then berated my son for the rest of the year. Several times in front of the class, she told my son that he was such a disappointment to her and a loser. As a result of this experience, my son hates anything to do with art.

This year I hand delivered another military opt out, and had to make several ‘phone calls and office visits before someone was finally able to confirm to me that the military opt out was actually on file. My son only spent 1 month at school before our move, but I was taking no chances. I didn’t trust the school.

Recently we went to a parent teacher open house at my son’s new high school in Guelph. The school confirmed that, currently, there is no military recruitment in Canadian schools. There is a career day, when the universities etc., set up booths in the cafeteria and students may visit them. The military is allowed a booth there should a student have questions about recruiting into the military. Apart from that, military recruiters are not wandering the halls, lurking in the cafeteria, nor are they trying to go behind parent’s backs to recruit their children

How refreshing!

No Child Left Unrecruited in American Schools

Image courtesy of: Aaron Lee Fineman

Photo of military recruiter just outside the lunch room of a Georgia High School

People in Canada are surprised to learn that in the United States military recruiters are given unfettered access to youngsters at high school and increasingly at some middle schools. Schools receive funding from the federal government (No Child Left Behind Act), and in return they must allow military recruiters unlimited access to the schools, and send the names and addresses of all high school students to the Pentagon database kept on youths under 18, or they will lose funding.

American parents are not aware how aggressively their children are being pursued at school by these recruiters.

I was active at my son’s high school as a counter-recruiter. I talked to as many parents as I could, and have yet to find one parent who was aware of a form called a Military Opt Out. If a parent fills that form out, the recruiters are supposed to leave that child alone. Many parents are unaware of the form which is hidden deep in the Code of Student Conduct. This information is purposely suppressed from parents, so few parents ever complete and return a military opt out to the school. Many schools routinely ignore the military opt out form.

Military Recruiters in schools have several ways to cancel parental military opt out paperwork leaving the parent unaware this has occurred.

I have personal knowledge and/or experience of the following, but my son’s school is not the exception.

· Every October high schools sends the Pentagon (for release to military recruiters) all the information they have on the child, including the child’s personal cell-phone numbers, e-mail address, grade point averages, college intentions, height and weight information, schools attended, courses of study, social security numbers, and any other personal information.

· Military recruiters from all branches of the military will use the information received from school to contact the child behind the parent’s back, without parental knowledge or consent. The child is literally bombarded with mail, telephone calls, e-mails and the like from recruiters. It is useless to ask the recruiters to stop contacting your minor child – they will continue to contact your underage child regardless of your opinion. It is, somehow, creepy that a grown man/woman is stalking your child.

· Military recruiters are in the school cafeterias every day at lunchtime. They will smile benevolently and attempt to engage your child in friendly conversation. If your child speaks to them, this will cancel the military opt out form. When I told my son not to speak to recruiters he told me they looked friendly and they would smile at him. Of course they do!

· They will entice students with key fobs, drink holders, and other trinkets. Come and do some push-ups, or fun rock-climbs , and win a t-shirt. In order to get the trinket, you have to sign a form that cancels a parent’s Military Opt Out form. Once the military opt out form has been cancelled, the military recruiters can recruit the child without the parent’s knowledge or consent.

· They will take over classrooms, during instruction time to recruit. Take note of this part of the Army School Recruitment Handbook advice to recruiters; Section 5(8) “Deliver donuts and coffee for the faculty once a month. This will help in scheduling classroom presentations and advise teachers of the many Army opportunities”. Should Military Recruiters be using classroom instruction time to recruit, when the child is unable to leave because it’s class time?

· They will often ask the child not to tell the parents they have been talking to a recruiter.

· They will become friends with guidance counselors who then suggest a career in the military.

· The school will administer a test called the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). Parents will be told this is a career searching test that will help their child. Some schools make the ASVAB mandatory. It is a military recruitment tool only, designed to let recruiters know a child’s interests and academic strengths to help recruit that child. The ASVAB cancels a parent’s Military Opt Out form.

· Home schooled children are not exempt, the school board will still forward all personal details to the Pentagon.

Predatory military recruitment does not end once your child has graduated high school, but continues on University campuses as well. Section 10-6(b) suggests military recruiters aggressively target first year college students who may be unsure about their studies in an attempt to get the students to drop out of college and enlist in the military instead; “b. Generally, attrition during the first year of college is higher than in subsequent years, and occurs especially at the mid-term grading period, at the end of the first semester, and again at the end of the second semester. Students drop out during this time because they are homesick, have to work, are out of money, or are in academic difficulty.”
Here is a link to the Army School Recruiting Program Handbook, which is an interesting read.

One school board employee once told me “good luck with 3 boys, you will be fighting military recruiters for 8 years apiece, and they will just laugh at you when you try to get them to stop”. Both her sons were recruited, one from school and the other convinced to drop out of college. Both were recruited without her being aware this was going on. Each son just came home one day and had already enlisted. Both of her sons were, at the time of my conversation, in Iraq.

Most civilized countries do not recruit children, and it is a violation of the US’s pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children into the military. The U.S. claims that no one under age 17 is eligible for recruitment, but the Pentagon’s Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies Database (JAMRS) scoops up data on all High School students in the US, as young as 14. JAMRS has data on 30 million Americans between age 14 and 25 for recruitment purposes.

Now, the U.S. Military starts its recruitment campaign as soon as a student hits high school (as young as 14). If the child is too young to actually sign up, the following may happen;

(a) Military recruiters (Marines, Navy, Army, and Air Force recruiters) will gather information on that child, buddy up with them, (wow, your child will have a lot of friends), and start convincing them early that when they are older they should enlist. Enticing a child to join the military when they are older is still recruitment!

(b) Future Solders Training Program; Recruiters often sign 17 year olds into the inactive reserves under the Future Soldiers Training Program as a “trial” introduction into the military (while they earn their high school diploma). Not only to the recruiters fail to tell the youngster they can withdraw with no penalty, but they are often threatened with jail time for going “absent without leave” if they later fail to complete the enlistment procedure.

Here is what you need to know to protect your child at school
(1) Fill out a Military Opt Out form and hand deliver it to the school with a copy to the principal and the Superintendent of your local school board. If you are unsure where to find it, call your local school board and ask where it is. This “should” prevent the school from sending your child’s information to military recruiters, and “should” keep the military recruiters off his/her back at school. Note: You must do this as early in the year as possible to prevent your child’s personal information being sent to the Pentagon in (late September/early October), but even later in the year is better than not at all.

(2) Get the school to date stamp “received” or other proof of receipt when you hand it in at school. Keep a copy, with received date stamp, for your records.

(3) Don’t assume the school will honor the opt out. My son's school ignored our military opt out. Call the school and confirm that they have entered “military opt out” on your child’s school records database, and will remove your child from class should a recruiter take over class time.

(4) Find out your child’s school policy on the ASVAB and what date the test is given. Is the ASVAB test mandatory at your child's high school? If it is voluntary, what procedures are in place for students who are not taking it. Some schools give the test in the cafeteria outside of class and a student has a choice whether to take it or not. Empower your child, tell them if they ever see a test marked ASVAB or Armed Services Vocational Aptitute Test, they are to refuse to take it. If you believe the school will pressure your child to take this test, keep them home that day.

(5) The best protection is an informed child. Teach your child (a) not to talk to recruiters at school and your reasons why, (b) and not to take part in any activities for prizes, (c) never fill out any paperwork from a military recruiter, even if they pressure you to do so, and (d) refuse to take the ASVAB test.

(6) Children sometimes forget advice from a parent. I’s true! Ask your child periodically what recruitment activity they have seen at school and remind them throughout the school year not to have any contact with recruiters at school.

(7) IMPORTANT REMINDER: The home school department of the school board has your child’s records and information and may be required to send that information to JAMRS. Home school parents must send Military Opt Out to home school department of school board, with a copy to the Superintendent of Schools. Have the school board mark your copy “received” with the date and keep a copy for your records.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Permanent Resident Card Arrived Today!

Photo of sample Permanent Resident Card courtesy

Today hubby received his Permanent Resident Card (like a Green Card in the U.S.)!

He wants to celebrate at Swiss Chalet tonight. I know, any excuse to go to Swiss Chalet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

So we drink milk from bags. Does that make us weird?

Story courtesy Cathal Kelly The Toronto Star Staff Reporter

I saw this article in the Toronto Star recently and wanted to share it with you.

"In the video, Sheryl Ng lays out a bag of 2%, a jug and a pair of scissors.

She runs through the milk drinker’s skillset: the proper triangular cut, the cautious first pour, preventive measures to keep an overfull bag from collapsing.

Collectively, the viewing world outside Ontario leaned back in its seat and said, “What. The Hell. Is that?”

“My friends find it pretty amusing, because we all grew up in Toronto,” Ng, a 22-year-old York University student said. “We thought it was normal.”

Apparently not. Ontario, the world has seen your milk drinking habits, and the world now thinks you’re a weirdo.

Ng posted her milk-drinking video as a way of illustrating the differences between Canadians and Americans. They drink milk out of jugs. We drink it out of bags. She titled the whimsical instructional, “Milk in bags, eh?”

Bagged milk hits an impassable imaginary wall at the 49th parallel. Almost uniformly, Americans are jug/carton people. Wisconsinites, people who know something about dairy, buck that trend.

Among other forward-thinking nations that have warmed up to the plastic udder – South Africans, Argentines, Hungarians and Chinese. Those latter also bag beer, which means we have some catching up to do.

In 1967, DuPont debuted the milk bag in Canada using equipment developed in Europe. The local dairy industry jumped on the change, happily abandoning the hassle of breakable glass bottles.

Bags also use 75 per cent less plastic than jugs.

Drinkers discovered that milk in bags costs less than a comparable amount sold in a jug. Mainly, that’s got to do with economies of scale. As bags began to dominate the market, the cost to manufacture single-use jugs jumped.

Today, you can’t find a young Ontarian who remembers that unhappy time when you risked a shoulder injury trying to get a drop of milk out of a 3-quart jug.

Ng’s been buried under the response. Enough American doubters piped up that she felt compelled to film a follow-up
showing bagged milk at the supermarket, “just to prove it really exists.”

Enjoy the video "Milk in bags,eh";

If they think that's discombobulating, the next entry is going to blow their minds. "Hey everyone," she begins. "Today I'm going to be showing you guys ketchup chips and dill pickle chips."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Best fish and chips in Toronto

Duckworth’s Fish and Chips at 2638 Danforth Avenue, opposite Canadian Tire, was opened by current proprietor’s grandfather to serve fellow UK immigrants their beloved deep-fried fish and chips.

My family has been going to Duckworth’s Fish and Chips since it opened in 1930. My father grew up in the Woodbine Corridor, near the Beaches. Every Friday my grandparents would take my father to Len Duckworth’s Fish and Chips. Growing up in Toronto, my parents took me there every Friday. It’s definitely the best fish and chip shop I’ve been to, and I lived in England for many years.

Halibut, chips, coleslaw, and bread is $9.75. There is a family special with 5 pieces of halibut, 3 fries, 2 breads, and 2 coleslaws for around $35.00, which is reasonable value. Monday a Halibut meal is on special for $7.50. If you like fish and chips you won’t be disappointed. Batter is crispy and light, chips are traditional British doorstep type chips.

Tip: If you go there avoid the basement washroom – it has always smelled musty. Restaurant itself is very clean, but decor is older, sort of greasy spoon atmosphere. Overlook that, and the food and service is great.

Centre des Sciences de L’Ontario Adjourd hui

Ontario Science Centre photo courtesy Jane Sims.

Today we went to the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. The kids love this place! This was the world’s first interactive science museum, on several levels, built into a ravine. I used to go to the middle school next door, so I spent a lot of time there after school as a kid. Loved it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weather getting cooler......

Photo courtesy Collyn Rankin at Flickr

Guelph Ontario today:

Cloudy with rain;

high 3 (37F) low 0 (32F)

Largo Florida today:


high 19 (67F) low 4 (40F) clear

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We're not tourists anymore

Sample Florida licence tag courtesy

Sample Ontario licence plate courtesyProvince of Ontario

For the past 3 weeks we have been driving around with our Florida licence plate. In Florida there is no plate on the front of the car, only a plate on the back.

Yesterday we got our Ontario plates.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No driving license for Immigrants who reside legally in the U.S.

This is a very timely post, considering the success the (anti-immigrant) tea party candidates have had in the U.S. elections yesterday. I believe there will be more laws written that target immigrants. Unfortunately, the media has blurred the line between “legal” and “illegal” immigrants. Many politicians have capitalized on the anti-immigrant sentiment by frightening people with immigrant horror stories. Recently Arizona’s Governor, Jan Brewer, stated that “immigrants are beheading Americans in Arizona”.

Arizona’s SB1070 makes it a crime for any non-U.S. citizen not to carry “papers” to prove they are in the U.S. legally. How do you know by looking at someone whether or not they should be carrying papers? Are they tourists from another country? Are they U.S. citizens with “brown skin?” Are they “legal” immigrants who decided to go for a neighbourhood walk with the children, a swim at the local pool, or gardening in their front yard? No matter, if you are a non U.S. citizen and you leave your front door, you must “carry papers” or risk jail time.

In the U.S. the local police force and the driving licence bureau have been empowered to determine one’s immigration status.

The problem is, U.S. immigration law is complicated, and there are many types of documentation to prove one is in the country legally. There are Green Cards (like Permanent Resident Cards), H1B work visas, student visas, just to give a small example. The police and local authorities are not qualified to determine and apply immigration law. This often leads to mistakes. Add to this the confusion of the terms "legal" and "illegal" immigrant. They even sound the same. People who are in a country unlawfully are not immigrants.

Several years ago I attempted to renew my Florida driving licence. I had lived in Florida and had a Florida driving licence for many years and was due to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in a few days. Because of the fear in the US of "illegal immigrants" driving, the rules for all non-US citizens renewing or obtaining driving licences had changed. I had to bring proof that I was in the U.S. legally. I brought my Green Card (which is like a Permanent Resident card) to the licence bureau.

The clerk took my driving licence and Green card and then told me that I was not eligible for a Florida Driving Licence because she didn’t know what the document was (Green Card) that I handed her. She was uncertain whether or not I was in the U.S. legally. I asked for a supervisor, who told me that, as a non-U.S. citizen, I was not eligible for a driving licence in the United States. I should return to my home country and get an international driving licence. As I was not a resident of Ontario, I was not eligible for an Ontario issued international driving licence and was fearful I would be left without any type of driving licence. I asked for my unexpired Florida licence back (it had 30 days left) and the clerk cut it up with scissors and said that non-citizens are not allowed to have unexpired licences back.

My car was parked outside, and I was left with no way of driving home, or getting my children from school. I had no alternative but to leave my car and walk home! I pleaded with the supervisor for help, and she said she would send my info to Homeland Security for a decision, and gave me a letter stating I could drive for 30 days. The letter stated that this was not to be used for identification purposes. I drove home and called the Sheriff’s department to see if this “letter” was valid and was told I would be arrested for driving without a licence. The only type of driving licence acceptable to them was the one with a photo id. Since I was still a legal immigrant for a few more days being arrested for driving without a licence would make me subject to deportation. This is another example of the criminalization of immigrants, both legal and illegal. I had no option but to take the chance, since I needed to collect my young children from school.

When I arrived at school the lady at the front desk refused to allow me inside the school because I did not have my driver licence on me (she knew me, but those are the rules). She would not take my Canadian passport or Green Card as photo id. I had to stand outside the chain linked fence and watch my children while American mothers were able to walk up to and greet their children from school.

During this 30 day period I needed to talk to someone at my bank regarding my bank account, but was told that since I did not have a valid driver licence or state issued photo id, no one would help me. They ignored my Canadian passport and Green card as sufficient photo id.

I had become a non-person.

30 days of this farce were almost up, and still no driver licence. I contacted the Governor of Florida, and someone in the driver licence bureau called me back and said that I had shown proper identification and should have received my renewed driver licence over the counter the day I went in, and they would expedite a licence to me.

I collected my new licence, and the clerk told me it was an “immigrant” driver licence. I told her I was naturalized, and she said that I would have to apply for a driver licence again, and pay an additional $50.00 just to remove “immigrant” from my licence. They still would have to prove my papers with Homeland Security. This was the last straw! I was not going to go through all that again and pay $50.00 for the privilege.

The new governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has promised to bring an even harsher version of SB1070 to Florida. What happens to an immigrant who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, who no longer has a green card, but possesses an "immigrant" driver licence? The law states that if the person is an immigrant, and has no proof of lawful presence in the U.S., they must immediately be sent to jail. A U.S. passport must suffice, but are there now two tiers of U.S. citizen? Native-born U.S. citizens don’t need passports, but naturalized U.S. citizens need to carry a U.S. passport everywhere they go?

I'm obviously not welcome in the United States.

Yesterday I obtained an Ontario Driving License. My American citizen husband is now an immigrant in Canada. He was treated courteously, and able to get the exact same driving license that I received.

I handed in my “immigrant” Florida Driver licence in to the Ontario Driving License office who will return it to Florida for cancellation.

Driver licence exchange

From this (sample Florida license courtesy

To this: (sample Ontario licence courtesy Flickr)

Notice change in spelling from license to licence.

Our Florida car insurance expires on Saturday, so this is a good week to get everything done with the car.

Yesterday we turned in our Florida Driver licence and received our Ontario driver licence.

Because there is a reciprocal arrangement with the U.S., we did not have to take a driving test.

Tip: If you are coming to Ontario, it is a good idea to bring a complete abstract of your driving history as they require all the information on it. Your abstract will have the date you became licenced, and your complete driving history. You can order your driving records abstract from your current driver licencing authorities. Ontario has a graduated driving licence, and if you can show proof that you have had a driving licence for a few years, and you are from a reciprocal country, you may qualify for a full driving licence.

And the best thing about our new Ontario driver licences – no immigrant class driver licence. My immigrant husband will have the same driver licence as I have.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Polar bear viewing in Churchill

Photo courtesy of Funpics.
Here is a smile for today that a good friend forwarded to us.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Canadianizing our car

Photo courtesy of Canadian Tire

We are still driving around town with our Florida tag. In order to complete the import of our vehicle, we need to have Canadian modifications. So we went to Canadian Tire today to have this done.

1. Daytime running lights
2. Conversion sticker showing miles to kilometers
3. French language sticker by airbag
4. Safety inspected to Ontario provincial standards
5. Emission inspection to Ontario provincial standards
6. There is a RIV registration fee of $195.00, which we already paid at the border.

Here is a lot of information if you are considering importing a vehicle into Canada.

While we were at Canadian Tire today we also had a radiator flush with antifreeze. We already have new tires, so car should be winter ready.
The gentleman was very nice, and talked to us about getting used to winter driving. He said the first time it snows, go to a parking lot that is empty and practice driving around and getting used to how the vehicle handles in snow and ice. Good advice.

While we were waiting for the car hubby found an extendable scraper, big brush on one end, and it extends so you can reach to get the snow off your roof, and a big scraper on the other end. He loves his snow toys, does Eric.
When we got home, the builder had completed the digging, and the gas leak had been mended, and we have gas for hot water and heat Yay!

The home held it’s heat for a couple of days, and was only now beginning to chill a bit. Everyone said it’s a good thing it wasn’t January ;)

Temperature today is high of 5 (41F) low of -2 (28F) and beautifully sunny.