Reflecting Vancouver

Urbanism and Life on the West Coast

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Sandy Envelope


The first time I sent in my application, it was returned on account of a forgotten signature. I recall opening the sand-coloured envelope in excitement, only to have my battered documents spill out. They had traveled across the continent and back, returning with a sheet of paper that advised me of my omission. Moreover, this sheet of paper warned, a second mistake could result in forfeiture of the fee and untold consequences.

I checked and double-checked. I sent it back to Nova Scotia from the same dumpy gift card store with Canada Post in the back. I requested delivery confirmation.

And then I waited. And waited. Had I done something wrong again? Was I to be denied consideration on account of my inability to complete well-described forms? Surely the competence to follow instructions from the Government of Canada numbers among responsibilities in those alluded “rights and responsibilities”.

I never tested the generosity of the state in this scenario. Today I received another sandy envelope, which instead contained a glossy booklet. It mostly describes how Canadians are intended to govern themselves. Practically, this is the meaning of citizenship in this country: the right to vote.

And what now? “Please wait.” I feel more Canadian already.