By Israr Kasana for New Canadian Media
I was confident I was not being naïve or a ninnyhammer when I decided to relocate as a family to North America yet again, this time to Canada. That was a year ago.
I had a Master’s degree, lots of national and international journalistic experience – both print and electronic – including 10 years in the U.S. This whole package gave me confidence and optimism about finding success from my Canadian expedition.
It wasn’t that I was desperate to leave Pakistan. I was very well-placed there, working a dream job as an anchor and executive editor on the largest TV network of Pakistan called PTV. I had more than 5,000 television airtime hours to my credit and was the anchor on a branded, peak-time show called “Dialogue with Israr Kasana” thrice a week.
And, by the way, I was making good money too, even by the Canadian standards.
I didn’t migrate here because I thought Canada was ‘cool’ for its poutine, insulin, wonky gravity in some areas of Canada, especially in Hudson Bay where you actually weigh less than your normal weight, or that the tap water was drinkable. Or, even because Santa Claus was Canadian, or that the Canadian government has direct toll-free lines for the public to seek answers to questions they have, or their consumption of Kraft Dinner (KD), or the trick-or-treating at Halloween.
They are all admittedly as Canadian as the maple leaf, but these were not what prompted my decision.
My family and I were attracted by the values and characteristics for which Canada is known for all over the world – the multiculturalism, open and friendly society, relatively free of class distinctions, better work-life balance, less income disparity, higher social mobility, security and safety, and, finally, more paid holidays than the U.S.
I also made this decision because Canada was more immigrant-friendly than many countries. I knew Canada receives more immigrants per capita than the U.S. The economy, I gathered, was not bad either and assumed I’d be able to make a good living.