As the clock struck midnight on April 17, 2009, the Canadian citizenship of my Saskatchewan-born but subsequently naturalized American father was restored. And thus, thanks to Bill C-37, an amendment to the Canadian Citizenship Act, so was mine. Under its terms, all Canadians who had lost their citizenship when they took on a new nationality—i.e., Canadians like my dad, who became an American in June 1965—regained it, as did their first generation of offspring.
Maybe it takes an Iowan to get stoked about becoming Canadian, but I was sufficiently stoked to travel to Ottawa a couple days shy of this magical moment so that I would suddenly become always Canadian in Canada’s capital, among other so-called lost Canadians.
I work for a libertarian think tank, and libertarians are supposed to disdain the land of poutine and Dan Aykroyd for its socialist health-care system and general failure to really love liberty. Yet not only can you get gay-married in any of the provinces, or almost-legally toke up in your toque up there, but Canada’s economy is also slightly freer than that of the global hegemon to its south. According to the Cato Institute, at least.
But even more important to me is the conviction—a libertarian conviction, I believe—that crossing national borders ought to differ little from crossing the imagined line between Iowa and Minnesota. That’s really why I’m so keen about being Canadian. I want my own boundaries to widen, as I’d like everyone’s boundaries to widen. Also, I can now put the Canadian flag on my backpack.