The BBC posted an article recently on the exodus of U.S. Citizens and asked readers to share their stories. A couple of different Brockers posted the link to the follow up on comment threads and one asked if it couldn’t be shared in a post, an excellent idea, so here it is.
The article contains the stories of those who came to the conclusion that being a dual citizen with the United States as one of those nationalities wasn’t workable.
Some specifically cite the burden and expense of tax compliance, but not everyone. And for most, the reasoning was far more complex.
I haven’t yet relinquished my citizenship but have plans to do so at the earliest opportunity and like most of the stories you will read at the BBC, my main reasons have nothing to do with “evading” taxes because I don’t owe any and being a relatively new ex-patriot, I don’t have much in my new home of Canada to report anyway. I was lucky enough to discover the pension and savings traps set by United States for its “off-shore” citizens and so have avoided them.
Of course, avoidance means that I am not going to be as set for retirement some day as I would have liked to be, nor will I have saved as adequately for my child’s university education, but some things can’t be helped.
I didn’t set out to be a former American and I don’t know if it is truly possible for me to shed my early training (some might call it indoctrination) fully, but as I have journeyed, I’ve come to discover that I really should have been born a Canadian and coming here has set right the wrong of my birth on American soil.
Like many others, who find themselves living out their lives far away from their birth land, I left for love.
I met a Canadian on the Internet and moved here to be with him. Nothing sinister or” tax evadey” about it. Although I am sure that Uncle Sam would beg to differ, I really gave little thought to anything other than beginning life anew with the exotic Canadian of my dreams.
I will be here seven years come the new year and am months – with luck – away from full citizenship, and though once I thought nothing of being a dual, I now realize that citizenship is really an “all in” or “all out” state of being and that I am not alone in that particular way of thinking. I can’t tell you how many Canadians are pleased to learn that I plan to be Canadian only and that it is important to them that newcomers “buy in” and assimilate. I am not sure if this is a validating experience for them or stems from some latent nationalism, but it’s only my American family and friends who are shocked by my choice.
Partly because of the indoctrination that is inevitable regardless of where you are born, but also there is a fear that I will be lost to the physically at some future date when the U.S. government bars me, which is ironic because for a land of supposedly free people who pride themselves on being the model of democracy, banishment looms large and seems ever-present.
Finally, however, I don’t believe – in my heart of hearts – that the Canadian government has the strength of will or the actual political clout to protect me should I stay a dual.
Justin Trudeau, in an email reply to a Brocker, even points out that as Americans, the U.S, government has the right to impose whatever rules they like on citizens no matter where they are and that other governments cannot interfere – even when the citizens in question are duals.
If Mr. Hope and Hard Work isn’t brave enough to stand up for Canadian/American duals, what’s a girl to do?
Sad. But a reality that has to be faced.
To be a Canadian, who is fully recognized and protected as such, I must be only a Canadian.
And really, is that so bad? I don’t think so. More and more I find myself taking a Canadian stance or point of view that puts me even more at odds with my heritage than when I was a square peg living in that round hole down south.