In parts of the world where representative governments have been in place for a considerable amount of time, the luxury and functionality of such representation is often taken for granted. People may feel especially entitled to having their voices and opinions heard and understood by elected or appointed officials, and may become angry or even hostile when they feel that their representatives have failed to accurately portray the wills and the opinions of the people. Of course, in some parts of the world, this representation does not exist at all, either because corrupt or questionable practices are used behind the curtain displayed for the public, or because it is rejected outright. Canada has been a strong attraction to many people originally from countries that lack true representation, and its system of government and administration serves to keep people engaged with the very rules and ideas with which they operate on a daily basis.
There is one group that can make a legitimate claim of being poorly represented in Canadian government: immigrants. While immigration may be talked about frequently in debates and other policy discussions, an accurate representation of the people who venture to Canada from other countries in search or work or other life necessities is lacking –and many people are content to keep it this way. From the immigrant’s perspective, in fact, one of the greatest benefits of becoming a citizen is the ability to find a representative voice and to be able to use this voice to effect change and improve conditions of living not only for oneself but for one’s family and community members. This community interest and involvement is often seen as being at the heart of Canadian citizenship, and the fact that scores of immigrants choose to seek citizenship every year helps to make the country’s landscape more interesting and diverse.
There are several issues that may arise in governmental organization that seem imperfect to new citizens, yet the status they’ve achieved allows them to have a say in the course of that organization, potentially contributing to important changes for the nation and for concerns on a more local level. When residents of Canada are unable to participate in voting and other activities because of their status as immigrants, they may be especially frustrated by the sense that they’re unable to have a true impact on the local quality of life. Going through the necessary steps to achieve citizenship and learning about the country and its past in the process means immigrants can give themselves a gift of enormous value: the ability to understand and to take action.
Enjoying representation in government is something that not everybody can experience, but those who travel to Canada and put their effort and time into securing citizenship are typically met with the ability to find a powerful representative voice –one that understands the needs of newcomers and people trying to establish themselves in particular.