On occasions like this, we should not forget that Canada is home to millions of people of varying races, religions, and social classes. Some have ties to the country since its inception, while others have recently come to make this wonderful country their home to have a better life. I love Canada. I love that I can express my opinions freely without worrying about being arrested, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel that this once open country has adopted a fearful idea of anyone visiting from certain countries and overstaying their welcome.
I am an Egyptian citizen who has been living in Canada for almost five years. I obtained my M.A. from the University of British Columbia, and am currently working and living in Vancouver. Two years ago, I started dating a Canadian man, and we fell in love. On August 1st, 2015, we are getting married, and I applied for a visa to have my mother (my only living parent), visit me to attend the wedding. I was completely shocked to find out that the CIC’s office in Cairo rejected my mother’s visa. The reasons given were that her ties in Canada are stronger than the ones in Egypt, and that she lacked sufficient funds to cover her short stay. This marks her third time being rejected to visit Canada. I am an only child and my father passed away when I was young. My mother decided to not remarry or work so that she could dedicate all her time to bringing me up and giving me all the care and love to compensate for the loss of my father.
My mother visited me in Vancouver in 2010 when I was depressed, suicidal, and admitted to hospital. I was told I wouldn’t be released until a family member would come to Canada to stay with me and ensure I wouldn’t be left alone. Doctors gave me 2-3 minutes to make an international call to tell my mother all of that. I was reluctant to do so, as I didn’t want to give her a heart attack by saying her only daughter could have died, and then hang up. A few days later, she was granted a visitor’s visa, and was allowed to stay in Canada for up to six months. In fact, despite loving and missing me, she left a full month earlier because she didn’t like the cold weather and couldn’t be away from Egypt for such a long time. She considers Egypt her home, and is more comfortable there; she has no interest in immigrating to Canada.
I keep asking myself, why should a mother be forced to come when her child’s life is at stake, but blocked when they have a reason to celebrate together? Why should a woman be punished for neither working, nor remarrying, by being barred from even visiting her only child in Canada? Why is there discrimination against specific nationalities when it comes to simple family visits? Why must I walk down the aisle alone just because of border politics? All I’m asking is for her to attend my wedding, which is a basic human right. I don’t need my mother to visit Canada for long term, just for the most important day of my life.
I only have 30 days left until my wedding. This means that my options are very limited in appealing to the government to change their mind and allow my mom to visit me. All I’m asking is that if you can understand how important it is to have your only living parent come to your wedding to please share the hashtag #bringmymomtomywedding with everyone on social media. This day means so much to me, and I would love to spend it with my husband and my mother, and not have her miss out on this joyous occasion.
I would like to thank you in advance for any and all help you could offer me. I can be contacted via Facebook (Doaa Magdy), Twitter (@doaamzahabm) or by email at email@example.com.
Happy Canada Day,