Canadian winters are enough to make you want to pack your suitcases, say goodbye to your loved ones, and head straight to Australia for the rest of your life. Too bad it’s not a reality… yet! Vv Magazine investigates the buzz around the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization!
James Skinner’s story is one shared by many people privileged enough to be afflicted with “wanderlust.” He decided to make the leap across the pond from the UK to Melbourne, Australia, and quickly fell in love with his new home. Sadly, he failed to realize how difficult it would be to acquire permanent Australian residency and was ripped away from the wonderful life he had made for himself.
The trauma of this was so great that Skinner has founded the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization. Operating out of Vancouver, his petition has upwards of 60,000 signatures in favour of slackening restrictions on work permits and visas between Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia.
“We are virtually the same people… The only thing that divides us is the cover of our passports,” Skinner explains. He may be forgetting that the Commonwealth countries are divided by oceans, enormous landmasses, and immigration laws as well as passport covers, but he believes the politics and socio-economic standings of the four countries involved are similar enough that “it’s not something completely out there iskat we’re proposing.”
Jon Hembrey’s article on CBC, quoting Jeffrey Reitz from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, outlines some major issues with Skinner’s movement. First, it’s unclear why Canada would initiate a proposal like this with the UK, Australia, and New Zealand over the US and Mexico, where we’re already engaged in free trade agreements. Secondly, there are 53 other Commonwealth countries being excluded. A movement like this will undoubtedly result in accusations of racial and cultural biases.
When asked over Twitter to explain what was driving the passion behind the movement, CFMO responded “We have many socio-economic aspects in common, and free movement would be beneficial for citizens within these 4 nations.” However, they failed to address what these benefits could possibly be.
So, Vv Magazine did the movement a favour and came up with a list of reasons why you should sign the petition to allow freedom of movement between Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia — no matter how farfetched the idea may be.
1. Because England has twice the population of Canada, three times the population of Australia and sixteen times the population of New Zealand, we think they could use a little more room to spread out.
2. Because people go overseas, fall in love, and are then torn apart by visa regulations. If you don’t sympathize, check out the movie Like Crazy and you’ll see how real the heartbreak would be if you were torn away from the life of your life.
3. Because cottaging on the Great Lakes just doesn’t have the same Instagram potential as cottaging on Lake Hillier.
4. Because it’s not fair that only Kiwis are allowed to wake up every morning to natural beauty like this.
5. Because New Zealand and Australia’s summer weather happens during our winter weather. If this movement passes, Canadians may never have to suffer through -40 degree days again!
6. That being said, everyone deserves to see if they can survive a Canadian winter. It builds character or something.
7. Because minimum wage in Australia is around $16.00 and Auckland was voted one of the most affordable cities to live in. Your bank account will be forever grateful to James Skinner.
8. Because Scotland produces 250 million litres of whisky a year and could use all the help they can get drinking it.
9. Because there are more kangaroos living in Australia than people, so there’s plenty of room.
10. Because nobody can stop globalization, might as well make the most of it!
Will you be signing the petition for the Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Act? Let us know in the comments below or follow us at @ViewTheVibe.