Happy Canada Day and Mexican Election Day 2012
Today is a really special day for two reasons: The first one, my adoptive home (Canada) celebrates a birthday. But my homeland (Mexico) also celebrates a day of civic duty: election day. Every six years, Mexico elects a new president (Mexico is a presidential regime, completely different to the first-past-the-post electoral method of choosing a Prime Minister or a Premier in Canada). For the first time in history, it is entirely likely that any of the top three candidates (Josefina Vazquez Mota from PAN, the first woman really with a chance to become President in Mexico; Enrique Pena Nieto, from the party that ruled Mexico for 70-odd years, PRI; and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from the leftist party PRD, whom many believe technically won last election but PAN’s Fox gave it to Calderon, and who very well may actually win rather cleanly this time). Today’s election will be momentous and Mexico is on its heels.
It is weird not to be in Canada for Canada Day. While I have always considered myself a citizen of the world (I have lived in many countries and continents, more than I care to count), Canada has always felt home to me. I used to verbally fight and snap at people people when they asked “how do you feel being back at home?” referring to Mexico. I have lived in Canada, off and on, for 15 years or so, give or take. Vancouver, a city whose residents seem to have an inner conflict that makes them love and despise it, has been my home. And I flourished in Vancouver. I feel every bit as Canadian as anybody who was born in Canada. I end my sentences with “eh” and respect values of multiculturalism, honesty, diversity and respect for the rule of law. I celebrate Canada. I have spent years educating Canadians (both Canadian born and immigrants). And while I’m fully aware that I’m an immigrant to Canada, Canadians have always treated me as one of their own, and proudly boast my successes as theirs. I am proud to represent Canada and its diversity.
Yet I can’t forget my civic duty with Mexico. My parents live here, many of my friends live here, and it is the focus of my scholarly research. I also lived here many, many years and I love every bit of Mexico. And during my last media trip (WeVisitMexico), I was proud to be a Mexican national who calls Canada his home and who showcased Mexico through a very different lens than others could have. Helping Mexico return to North America’s center stage and empowering Mexican citizens to succeed is now as high on my agenda as Canada is. I will always feel a dual citizen and someone with two souls and two hearts, and I will always retain Canada as my home, but Mexico will also always be my homeland.
Spending time in Mexico is every bit as good to my soul as it is in Canada, and this duality (Mexico-Canada) will always be part of my personality and my very self. To Canada, Happy birthday and thank you for providing a fertile ground for me to succeed and become a well-recognized Canadian immigrant. And to Mexico: have a momentous Election Day, and I will exercise my civic duty to vote today, in person. I will have both countries always in my heart, and love you forever.