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Getting ready for the Canadian Citizenship Test (History)

I finally recieved an invitation letter to sit my Canadian Citizenship test early January 2015. I am very excited and have started to prepare myself for the test. The main resource recommended for preparation for this test is a book called Discover Canada. Canadian citizenship and Immigration sends each applicant a paper copy of this book, when they initiate the processing of the applications.

I started reading this book today, and surprisingly I am enjoying it. It’s a great way to know more about the country I’m living in. I know more about the history of Canada now and some of the terms people use are more meaningful to me now (such as the Great Depression).

Anyway, I decided to put my notes up here to help the future applicants with their preparation process. Today the focus is the history of Canada:

Important dates for Canadian Citizenship test

1497 exploration of the North America area started, Newfoundland was claimed for England.
1550: Name Kanata was heard.
1604, first European settlement north of Florida
1608 fortress in Quebec
1701 peace between French and Iroquois
1774 Quebec Act (Religious freedom for Catholics, permitted them to hold public office, French Civil law while maintaining British Criminal Law).
1776 separation of the state
1792 black Nova Scotians left to establish Freetown, Sierra Leone (West Africa), a new British colony for freed slaves.
Act of 1791: Upper and Lower Canada (Name of Canada Official, legislative assemblies elected by people.
1793 Upper Canada became the first province to move toward abolition of slavery
1833: Abolishment of Slavery through the Empire.
1812: The war between US and Canada in June.
1813: Americans burned the government house and Parliament building in York (Toronto).
1814: Canadians Burned down White House
1837-1838: Armed Rebellions
1840: upper and lower Canada were united as the province of Canada
1847-1848: Nova Scotia full responsible government
1864-1867: Confederation
1867- British North America Act
July 1 1867: The dominion of Canada was officially born.
1867: Canada’s first prime minister
1869: Metis took over Fort Garry.
1870: Establishment of Manitoba (because of the war with Metis)
1873: Establishment of NWMP: North West Mounted Police by prime minister Macdonald
1914: Start of world war I
1916: Women got the right to vote in Manitoba
1918: End of world war I (November 11)
1917: Federal right to vote for women to nurses then … by 1918 almost all women had the right to vote.
1921: Assignment of national colors.
1940: Qubebec granted the right of voting to women.
1929: Stock Market crashed: great depression of dirty thirties. Farmers in west were hit by low grain prices and drought.
1934: Bank of Canada was created.
1944- June 6, d Day
1945: end of world war II

Important people:

  • John Cabot: First person who draw the map of Canada’s east coast
  •  Jacues Cartier: First to European to explore ST Lawrence River and set eyes on present day Quebec city
  •  John Graves Simcoe First Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada and abolished slavery
  •  Shawnee led by Chief Tecumseh: First Nations helped Canadians with the war with the states
  •  Major-General Sir Isaac Brock : Captured Detroit in 1812 war
  •  Lieutenant-Colonel Charles de Salaberry: Turned back 4000 American Invaders south of Montreal
  •  Major-General Robert Ross: Burned down white house
  •  Lord Durham: Suggested that upper and lower Canada should be merged, also suggested to assimilate into English speaking Protestant culture
  • Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine: a champion of democracy and French language rights became the first leader of a responsible government (like prime minister) in Canada.
  •  King George V: assigned Canada’s national colours (white and red) in 1921, the colours of our national flag today His face used to be on $1 bills
  •  Sir John Alexander Macdonald: a Father of Confederation became Canada’s first Prime Minister. Born in Scotland
  •  Louis Riel: father of Manitoba
  •  Gabriel Dumont: the Métis’ greatest military leader
  •  Sir Wilfrid Laurier: became the first French-Canadian prime minister since Confederation and encouraged immigration to the West. His portrait is on the $5 bill
  •  Agnes Macphail: a farmer and teacher, became the first woman MP in 1921
  •  Dr. Emily Stowe: First woman to practice medicine in Canada and the leader of women’s suffrage movement to gain voting.

Important locations:

  • First place John Cabot set foot on: Newfoundland and Capre Breton
  •  Democracy: Nova Scotia first, then PE, then New Brunswic
  •  Rebellions started in Montreal and Toronto
  •  The first colony to attain full responsible government was Nova Scotia
  •  The first province to grant voting to women was Manitoba

Important Notes:

Country of Canada first included: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. The government had two levels: Provincial and Federal. Each province would elect its own legislature and have control of such areas as education and health.

July 1 was initially called the dominion day.

Sir Leonard Tilley, an elected official and Father of Confederation from New Brunswick, suggested the term Dominion of Canada in 1864. He was inspired by Psalm 72 in the Bible.

Parliament has recognized January 11 as Sir John A. Macdonald Day. His portrait is on the $10 bill

Sir Wilfrid Laurier became the first French-Canadian prime minister since Confederation and encouraged immigration to the West. His portrait is on the $5 bill.

First world war: Canadian corps: around 600,000 volunteers.

60,000 Canadians were killed and 170,000 were wounded in World War I.

Bluebirds: Nurses served in Royal Canadian Army.

After the First World War, the British Empire evolved into a free association of states known as the British Commonwealth of Nations. Canada remains a leading member of the Commonwealth to this day, together with other successor states of the Empire such as India, Australia, New Zealand, and several African and Caribbean countries.

At the time of Second World War Newfoundland was a separate British entity.

44,000 Canadians were killed were killed in Second World War.

At the end of the Second World War, Canada had the third-largest navy in the world.

Expansion of the Dominion

1867 — Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
1870 — Manitoba, Northwest Territories (N.W.T.)
1871 — British Columbia
1873 — Prince Edward Island
1880 — Transfer of the Arctic Islands (to N.W.T.)
1898 — Yukon Territory
1905 — Alberta, Saskatchewan
1949 — Newfoundland and Labrador
1999 — Nunavut


$1: King George V.
$5:Sir Wilfrid Laurier
$10: Sir John A. Macdonald

Canadian Citizenship Application Process

Among all the application processes I have gone through in Canada, I find the citizenship application the most ridiculously long one. I submitted my application mid-March 2013; since then, all I could do is waiting. The security check of the application was finished and the case was received by the local office in November 2013. Since then, I have been in the lineup for citizenship test.; a lineup that has lasted more than a year so far. It’s a bit frustrating. Especially considering that I need to apply for a US visa for each entry to the states.

On the other hand, I have applied for another US visa a couple months ago. I have been waiting for the administrative processing portion of that application to finish for more than 60 days now. I have received eleven US visas so far and none of them took longer than a month. I am not sure what’s going on this time. I had a trip planned to the states which I had to cancel. I had to pay around $400 penalty on that cancellation. Now I have another trip booked for the end of December. I am not looking forward to donating more money to the AC charity! In case you are wondering why my hair is turning white.

Willpower Instincts: Moral Licensing

For the past month, I have been focused on reading “The Willpower Instinct, How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of ItKelly McGonigal” . I have enjoyed the first 70 pages of this book so far; hoping that I can take away some action items for personal development.


This book is about how human brain/mind deals with decision-making. It explains concepts such as willpower and self-control, and provides recommendations on how to improve this power.


The chapter I was reading today is about moral licensing. This chapter basically elaborates on why very good people sometimes fail in their morals and deal with great public dramas. The book claims that there is no exact logical definition of good and bad in human’s mind. Instead, we have a feeling that we have been good. Our right or wrong judgments are based on a gut feeling, and we only look into logics behind it when we are forced to explain our feelings.


Moral licensing tricks us to self-sabotaging behaviors. Basically, we give ourselves permission to follow our impulses and justify giving in to immediate rewards, because we feel good about our past good behaviors. We believe we deserve a treat, such as an extra piece of cake, because we have been good, by working out for an extra half an hour today


When we define our willpower challenge as something that is right to do, or something that we should do to be good, we are less likely to stick to it and we start to come up with arguments on why we shouldn’t have to. Here is where defining precise and measurable goals plays an important role.


Engineering Ring a.k.a Iron Ring: why I care about it?

I have managed losing my engineering ring more than 3 times since the day that I attended the ceremony. The first time I lost it, I was washing my hands when it slipped out of my finger and went right down the drain. Second time, I was dancing in an outdoor country music festival, and the ring slid out of my finger and fell on the ground. I could not manage finding the ring in the grass. Today marks the third time that I lost my iron ring.

I have no idea what happened this time. This morning when I came to my office and started working, I suddenly noticed that I’m not wearing my ring anymore. For the past months I had felt that the ring has become loose; some people claim that their hands shrink in winter. I can see why they may claim that! Anyway, I have to re-order my ring. It’s a painful process for me as I live in a remote area. But this engineering ring means a lot to me. Why?! It is not because it makes me feel important or because I like to show-off and make sure everybody knows I am an engineer. I love having my engineering ring on, mainly because whenever I see it, I remember my values and oaths. It also helps me focus on my personal development goals.

Here is the history behind Iron ring. (I have used Wikipedia as a reference for the following paragraphs).In Canada, engineers traditionally wear a small iron ring on the pinky of their working hands. As you can guess from the name, this ring is made of iron. Iron ring doesn’t have any real value, it is only a symbol of the pride engineers have in their profession and is a reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with engineering profession. To obtain this ring, engineering graduates must attend a special closed ceremony named “The Ritual of Calling an Engineer”. The first ceremony to award the ring was held in 1925 at the University of Toronto. This ring at the beginning is sharp and shiny, but as time goes by, it drags on the writing surface as the engineer is writing or drawing documents and goes rough. The purpose of wearing this ring on the working hand is to shape this transformation from a sharp ring (metaphor of lack of experience) to a rough (experienced) one. The protocol is to return the ring once the engineer retires.

I find the ceremony a bit archaic and funny. As engineers we are not supposed to disclose the details of the ceremony.


Yoga: Connection of body and mind

I have been attending Yoga classes here and there for the past year. One of the statements the instructors always use is “Your hips hold your emotions”, or at some specific poses, such as pigeon pose, they mention that we may feel emotional.

Each time I hear this, it makes me wonder if this statement has any science behind it? How could our hips store emotions? Why would these emotions store in our hips rather than anywhere else? How is this connection between our body and mind established?

Lunar Eclipse October 2014


After 7 years of being away from amateur Astronomy, this night I could convince myself to get up early (around 3:00 AM), only to observe the total lunar eclipse and take some photos. My tele-photo lens is not the best possible one you can purchase now, but this lens is perfect enough for a restart in Astrophotography. I was busy taking photos in cold for about two hours; when I came in, I noticed my lens is covered with a thin layer of ice. This Is something to keep in mind for my next attempts! Continue reading

Learning as you go!

When it comes to the IT side of my job, there is a ton of things I still do not know. I have to learn all of them by dealing with the problems I encounter through the course of my work.

Today I was taking care of our Backup system. It was a mixture of Virtual Machines, and Ethernet Networks. Almost two weeks ago, the program which is in charge of taking back up images failed. When I looked at the error log, I noticed the External hard drive connected to the server must be full. As a quick solution, I deleted some of the older files on this server, hoping that this is going to solve the problem. Surprisingly, it didn’t!

Today, I replaced the external hard drive with a new one which was completely empty, the back up process still failed. The reason was that the program could not see the external hard drive. It took hours of investigation for me to realize that I need to share that external hard drive to make it visible through the network.

I am still wondering what caused that external hard drive to get un-shared in the first place? Maybe that happened because the hard drive went completely full? Maybe when I replace the hard drive I need to re-share it? I am not that positive about the latter, as I have a procedure for replacing the hard drives and the procedure does not mention anything about re-sharing the external hard drive.

Anyhow, The problem is solved! I’m happy … but sooooooo tired …

Problem Solving skills!

I could do it! I love the feeling of accomplishment after solving a problem by myself! My boss’s comment makes it even more exciting for me: That was not easy to solve! I am impressed!

So what was the problem? In our site, we have an application called Alarm and Event Analysis which is a part of a suite called Advanced Alarm Management. This application is used to generate reports on the bad actors in our site, the number of generated alarms in the control room, their average, etc.

This application also has the option of emailing the reports it generates. Initially we didn’t have this option configured. As I basically have the ownership of this machine, I decided to activate this option, to automate generating and sending a specific report to my boss’s boss! This may seem to be an easy problem to solve in the beginning … so you go and change some configurations to activate this option. This could be true on a normal environment, but when it comes to machines used in production world this is not just about setting up the application. There are firewalls which need to be configured between different networks, etc.

I started by reading the manual of the AEA. I have to confess that this was the most unfavourable part of the job! I was lucky enough that I had the PDF files, so I used the find command to look for keywords such as SMTP, Email, etc.

After reading the manual, as it was instructed, I installed the required windows component, and set up the IP address of the SMTP server in the application. Then I contacted the Client Support Center and asked them to open a ticket to configure the firewall to let the traffic pass from our server to the SMTP server through port 25.

Also the person who was working on the firewall change, contacted the server team and asked them to add the IP address of my machine to their SMTP configurations ..

Everything was done, but guess what?! The email would not be sent! I called Honeywell, to review what I have done, to make sure I have taken the right steps in the installation and configuration of the application. The person from Honeywell guided me to the events summary for this application which showed that the report gets generated but the target server refuses the connection on port 25. It was time to conference call the IT and server team, I was tired of them passing the ball into each others’ field. After a conference call, the conclusion was that the target server is configured correctly and was suggested that the problem is the Firewall configurations.

After many calls between IT and me, and asking my boss to join us, we found out that, the traffic doesn’t reach the firewall at all. This would happen just on port 25!!! My boss suggested that maybe the windows firewall is blocking the traffic? Of course disabling the windows firewall didn’t help. I could not even telnet a server on the same domain on port 25.

Eventually, I decided to do a google on: SMTP server gets blocked on port 25. bang! I found a person with the same problem for another application! Guess what?! It was one of the protective rules of McAfee which would block any application from sending emails through port 25, except the excluded ones …

I think my team and I had an awesome systematic approach to solve this problem! I consider it a success!

Final email sent on this:

I could narrow down the problem to McAfee 8.8 blocking port 25.

On the AEA server, you have to go to McAfee console, right click on Access Protection, Go to properties, Antivirus Standard Protection, Prevent mass malign worms from sending Emails. This is the rule that blocks port 25.

You have to exclude AEAReportLauncher.exe from this rule.

Everything seems to be working now!