Monday, April 4, 2011

Are you smarter than a new Canadian citizen?

Who was Sir Sam Steele? What are the three parts of Parliament? What minerals are still being mined in the northern territories?

Do you know the answers to these questions without consulting Google? I quizzed three intelligent Canadians who were born, raised and educated in this true north strong and free. The results? We would not pass the Canadian Citizenship test. But, as my German-born friend pointed out, “You don’t have to pass the test; you were born here.”  I am helping Erica study for her upcoming Citizenship test this month. While there are many things I already know, I have learned a lot of Canadian history that I didn’t know before. If I had taken the test before I helped her study, I likely would have been among the 20% of test-takers that failed. Even though the 20 questions are multiple choice, some are tougher than others.

For example:
  • We all know that the War of 1812 was in 1812, but did you know it was fought against the Americans who wanted to conquer the British colony of Canada, and ended in 1814? 
  • The term “responsible government” may seem like an oxymoron, but it was Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine, a champion of French language rights, who became the first head of a responsible government in 1849. 
  • You see his picture on the five dollar bill, but do you know who Sir Wilfred Laurier was?  He was the first French-Canadian prime minister since Confederation and he encouraged immigration to the West.

Sure, you might be able to guess the correct answer out of the four options presented, but with a 75% score needed to pass and a 30-minute time limit, you might start to second-guess yourself. The right to remain silent, while familiar, is not one of the fundamental rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Nor is the right to drive. That is actually a privilege. The Mobility Right is not the right to own a mobile phone; rather it is the right to move and live anywhere in Canada.

For fun (yes, I am that nerdy), search the internet for Canadian Citizenship tests and see if you would make the grade. I am willing to bet you will be surprised and mildly ashamed. And for the record, Sir Sam Steele was a great frontier hero, Mounted Policeman and soldier of the Queen. The three parts of Parliament are the Sovereign (Queen or King), the Senate and the House of Commons.  Gold, lead, zinc, copper and diamonds are still being mined in the northern territories.

How did you do?  

© 2011 Miz Dinah
Citizenship & Immigration Canada, “Study Guide – Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship”; Wikipedia, “Canadian Citizenship Test”

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