Dear Mr Trudeau

Firstly let me just say, I’m a fan.  I’m a fan of your country (I was once a resident), of your government (your ethnically diverse cabinet is awesome), of yourself and gorgeous family (who you clearly adore), the fact you’re a feminist, you marched in Toronto Pride and your knowledge of quantum computing hasn’t escaped me either.  From across the Atlantic, in Scotland, I know and admire all this


your new Visa system that’s been introduced, in March I believe, leaves a lot to be desired.  In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that it has left my family on both sides of the Atlantic DEVASTATED this week.  That is honestly no understatement.    

You see a quarter of a century (and more) ago, I emigrated to Canada with my Daughter.  She was 4 months old at the time.  We lived there for approx a year and I decided to return to Scotland to be with her Daddy who I deeply loved and realised I couldn’t be without.  

My daughter and I were sponsored by one of my two sisters who lived there (still do) and had residency in that respect.  I obtained my driving licence easily, I had a job, paid my taxes and had an insurance card.  On my return from Canada, I destroyed all of those things, knowing I would never live there again.  I no longer needed them.

Now here’s the thing, Prime Minister, my beautiful, University educated Daughter is now travelling the world, age 26.  Her first stop on leaving the UK with her beau, is Canada, to visit both my sisters for 6 weeks, tour a little and visit my best friend in Vancouver perhaps.   (Then they move onto SE Asia, New Zealand, Australia).  They’ve had this trip booked for an incredibly long time, long before your new visa system came to pass.  I realise rules change and laws must be abided however on discovering the new legislation only very recently, she has, for the past few months been trying, without success to apply for the new Travel Visa.  

Complications arising due to the fact your system shows she still has residency (something she wishes to relinquish obviously) and also bearing in mind the fact that we no longer have our papers, after almost 30 years, this has culminated in a catch 22 situation and she has been refused.

We are all utterly devastated as she is due to travel in 7 days.  My family in Canada and all of us here have done all we can.  She is completely distraught after being advised that this could take 6 weeks to sort out after waiting months for decisions and also having enlisted a private company to act on her behalf, all to no avail! She has even called the airport in Toronto for advice!  My niece, who lives in Toronto is seeking advice at work today if she can.  She works for Canadian Immigration, in a different department, incidentally! 
It’s deeply upsetting that this process seems to have taken so long, especially considering the huge expense they have all gone to and their plans to tour Canada to spend precious, precious time with family that they haven’t seen for many years, are now scuppered.  We are entirely heartbroken to say the least.  

My sister, who has been left with chronic, painful nerve damage after having a tumour removed from her brain a couple of years ago, attends hospital pain clinics on a regular basis and suffers depressive episodes.  She has been particularly, bitterly disappointed by today’s events. Although the tumour was benign, it could return and grow causing damage to her brain yet again.  This is a fact which weighs heavy on my mind, her being so far away.  

Now, I myself, am in the predicament that should, God forbid, something happen to one of my sisters or their family, that I wouldn’t be permitted to enter Canada for the same reason as my Daughter? Do I now have to go through the same procedure to relinquish my residency so I am free to travel to see them? I’ll be looking into that as soon as I can.  It terrifies me to think I may be refused too.

Another few things I don’t understand are:

  • Why weren’t we, or my sister and brother in law who sponsored us, notified we had to relinquish our residency in the past 26 years?
  • We have previously visited Canada on numerous occasions, back and forth, without any consequence from immigration without overstaying our welcome. Don’t your records show this? 
  • I had my insurance card, a job and paid taxes. Surely if we returned to work without permission, this would show up on your system?

We loved Canada. Still do. We lived peacefully there for a short time without breaking rules or laws.  We have no intention of returning to live or work without permission and would gladly hand back our papers if we were still in possession of them.  

Why is Canada now so determined to keep families apart?   To me, that is all this palaver has achieved.  I’m really disappointed Mr President.  I hope by some miracle, you read this, or perhaps one of your employees.  Someone in the right place, who can wave a magic wand for my daughter and her beau and fix this mess.   They so desperately want to visit Canada and Canada desperately wants them to.
So yes, I’m a fan but not of your new Visa system Sir.  Despite this mix up, you’d still get my vote (I may still be allowed to.  Must check up on that seeing as I’m still considered having residency)

I hope anyone who is travelling to Canada soon or in the near or distant future, is aware of this new system and doesn’t fall foul of it as my Daughter has. 

So, lastly, Mr President, I feel it needs your urgent attention, if you don’t mind me saying and I hope you don’t mind my bluntness. 

With best regards from a disgruntled fellow member of  The Commonwealth*

 (*yes, that was a dig)