Tuesday, October 30, 2012

History: Croatian resistance to communism can't be ignored

 By Željko Todorić

Communism is, by all accounts, the most murderous ideology in human history. The communist governments have murdered  100 millions of people around the world. That is five times as many killings as the Nazis. Even though some Croats,  including the Yugoslav leader Marshall  Tito,  wholeheartedly embraced the communist ideology,   communism, in fact,   had  little  popular support among the Croatian people. 

Another competing ideology of the time - Nazism or Ustasha movement  - had a similar fate. Neither Ustashe nor communists were seen as real representatives of ordinary people. Yet, these two ideologies were forced upon us like a cruel, inescapable punishment  from hell. 

A lot has been said about Nazism in general, and Ustashe in particular, but little about the red dragon (communism) and its crimes. As for the Croatian contribution in bringing down the Yugoslav communist regime,  this is even less known to the general population.

We Croatians shouldn't be silent about it. On the contrary, our heroic efforts in fighting communists  should be trumpeted  all over the world.   Our heroes are not those of a   comic book, or Hollywood fiction, but those from the reality of blood and tears, hopes and dreams of a shackled, yet undefeated nation. In short, a small nation being at the forefront of the universal struggle against the deadliest calamity in the history of mankind is not a small thing. 

Croatian people  have been both victims of communism and its cheerful gravediggers.  There is no Croatian family, here in Canada nor around the world which was not affected by the red nemesis.  The stories of human misery and courage are plenty.  However, there are those who are trying to falsify the history of 20th century to make our sufferings less obvious.


A couple of days ago I  accidentally stumbled upon a website  run by The Centre for Research on Globalization ,  a  non-profit organization based in Montreal, Canada.  One of the site's contributors  is  also Aleksa Đilas  whose father  (Milovan Đilas)  was   a close associate of Yugoslav Communist Dictator Tito.

In  his article Understanding Yugoslavia: Remembering  Mihajlo  Mihajlov  (April 6, 2012),  Aleksa Đilas  claims that the Serbo-Russian professor Mihajlo Mihajlov  made a huge contribution not only  in fight against   Tito's rule in the communist Yugoslavia, but also in  "ending the one-party government system in Eastern Europe".

 The Serbian magazine "Vreme"  goes even further arguing that Mihajlo Mihajlov used to be  the only sole dissident in the communist Yugoslavia. 

I beg to differ.

First, Croatian contribution in fight against  communism is completely ignored here.  Croatians  too  lived  in the communist Yugoslavia, didn't they? And, boy, how determined we  really were in seeing Yugoslavia dead once and for all!  In fact, we  Croatians wasted little time in making that happen.

Yes, the Serbs  did have a few Communist dissidents of which Mihajlov and Đilas were the most prominent figures, but it is a far cry from being   real   anticommunist warriors  of Croatian type.   Serbian disidents  wanted  to reform  communism, not to destroy it.  Despite occasional differences here and there,  they were still   members of the same Titoist  "family".

The Croatians,  in contrast,  saw the destruction of Yugoslavia and its communist institutions as their first priority.  They saw it as a prerequisite  for establishment of Independent State of Croatia.

Some of the Croatian dissidents  may have occasionally  adopted   a soft  approach  towards their Titoist  opponents (mostly Serbs). By masquerading themselves  as  benevolent reformers,  they pretended to work with the system, not against it.   However, these were  just strategic maneuvers  to  buy  precious time when the balance of power was  not  in  their favour.   President Tudjman's skillful political navigations at the beginning of Homeland War in 1991 exemplified this  method quite well.

 In short, we Croatians should be particularly proud  of  playing  a major role in this  process of democratization in  Eastern Europe. We did far more than Mihajlo Mihajlov, Milovan Djilas or any other nationality  in the former Yugoslavia and beyond.  For example, if  there hadn't been  a Croatian Spring in the 1970's we wouldn't have had the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution which opened the door for more freedom and protection of individual rights in the Communist Yugoslavia. Also two Serbian provinces - Kosovo  and Vojvodina - received  a substantial autonomy, while Bosnian Muslims were given  a  separate national status  as a result.

No doubt, this was a direct outcome of the  Croatian Spring  which seriously shook the rigid Stalinist structures within the country  at the beginning of 1970's.  It was, perhaps, the most significant victory  of   communist reformers (disidents)  not only in Yugoslavia, but  in  the  whole communist world.  True, this was  achieved gradually through evolution rather than revolution, but the outcome is the same. The fact is: even though the Croatian spring was brutally suppressed, its ideas continued to live on. In short,  despite systematic persecution, the Croatians had shown  enough  determination and courage  to bring pressure on Tito's regime which consequently  brought about the substantial  changes to  the country's political structure.  This was our Croatian victory which also benefited the whole humanity by bringing a little bit more light to the darkness of the world. 

Next, we Croatians were the first and the only nation in the communist empire which were engaged in armed rebellions  against our communist oppressors even after WWII.  First, it was Križari, a ferocious anticommunist guerrilla which operated in various parts of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina  from 1945-1950.

 Then came a group of Croatian insurgents  which were prepared and organized in Australia by the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood. This  so called "Bugojno group"  managed to infiltrate  Tito's  Yugoslavia in 1972 with an idea of overthrowing the communist regime and creating an independent and democratic  state of Croatia. These guerrilla fighters were battling  the Yugoslav armed forces  for a few days before being owerwhelmed.

The Croatian revolutionaries of  the 1990's  finally achieved under Tuđman's leadership what  "Križari" and the "Bugojno group" failed in the previous years,  that is destruction of communist Yugoslavia and creation of a free and independent  Croatia  established on the democratic principles.  Many of the  young country's  top leaders used to be  former political prisoners  including the  first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman or  professor Marko Veselica (also called the Croatian Mandela)  who served eleven years in Tito's prisons. 

Here in Canada,  numerous Croatian political activists, such as Dr. Josip Gamulin, Dr.  Mladen Zorkin or Marin Sopta  were unstoppable in defending Croatian national rights and freedom and calling for overthrow of communism. Some were even assassinated by the Yugoslav secret agents. The percentage of  Croatian anticommunists   killed by the Yugoslav UDBA was especially high among the diaspora Croats. Yet, the political resolve and desire to fight  injustice and oppression  grew even stronger.

In short, we Croatians were  trying  to do more than just dismantle  an oppressive communist  system. By resisting Yugoslav despotism, we were an inspiration to the abused and oppressed, a role model for the world.   

Unfortunately, the current crop of Croatian politicians are not doing enough to improve  our image in the world by  stating the obvious: we Croatians fought the evil; we were an important part of a universal struggle (good vs. evil) which has been defying  time and space since the time immemorial. 

 As a Croatian, I am proud of this.
 Are you ?

Sunday, September 30, 2012


An essay on Croatian chocolates


By Željko Todorić

Chocolate is not just a food. It is a metaphor for human behaviour, a mirror through which we can see ourselves. Our Croatian chocolates have left a small but shiny mark  on the planetary wall  of the sweets industry. Croatians in general, particularly the Diaspora  Croats,  are proudly sharing  their  guilt of allowing  themselves  to be subjected  to the daily consumption of chocolates made in "Our Beautiful Homeland" . 

It was Italian Daniele Dagnese from Venice who first introduced the art of chocolate making to Croats. His 18th century chocolate factory, which  opened in  Varaždin in 1789 is a testament to the aristocratic lifestyle of a certain segment of Croatian population within the Austro-Hungarian empire. Chocolate is essentially a European product long associated with  high classes,  the product of royal courts, ballroom dances, and pleasing sounds of opera music. 

The working class and peasants of Europe didn't eat chocolate. They needed bread. Any bread. When a  mob of hungry French women descended upon Versailles in 1789  demanding bread, the French Queen Marie Antoinette responded coolly, "Let them eat cake". A chocolate cake, I suppose.  It happened at the same time when the first Croatian chocolate factory spread its wings over small but powerful upper-class at the heart of a baroque Croatia. Varaždin was,  after all,  the Croatian capital in the 18th century, a place especially dear to Maria Theresa, the Queen of Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

So, now we know: the chocolate is a metaphor of  European past, an emblem of Western Civilization. Sometimes  it is associated with life's excesses, emotional and physical pleasure, even sinful sexual desires. While bread is the food of the gods, chocolate is the food for the  "sinners". "Give us this day our daily chocolate" is not a Christian prayer, but the prayer it  is  (if you are a Croatian).  The truth is:  chocolate has been Croatian secret cult for a long time, both in Homeland and Diaspora. Forget Switzerland and their chocolates! It is Croatia, and only Croatia,  which is the true Kingdom of the chocolate artistry in the modern Europe. Think about this: among all industrial sectors in Croatia, the chocolate factories are the most successful. Even now in the midst of European economic crisis, the Croatian chocolates  have set up their banners not only in  the most saturate chocolate markets  in Europe but also around the world including   "the True North Glorious and free" (Canada). Yes, here in Toronto and across all major cities in Canada, the Croatian chocolates, especially  Kraš's products, are seen in almost all grocery stores. Not happy with the limited selection? Well,   visit Croatia. You may be  fatter when you come back,  but certainly - happier.

Here are some interesting facts about Croatia's love affair with chocolates: 

Chocolate lovers of Croatia are organized in a chocolate association called  "Čokoladni klub"  (Chocolate club).  This club was established in  Zagreb in 2003. Everyone is welcome to join. The only prerequisite is the love for chocolate.  

World's first chocolate  mixed with rice was made in Croatia in 1964.  Zvečevo, a chocolate factory based in the town of Slavonska Požega made it possible. Its flagship  product - Mikado -  is actually my favorite. Yummy.  Next, the chocolate festivals in some Croatian cities such as   Zagreb and  Opatija, featuring chocolate tasting parties, music, entertainment, and plenty of food remind us of the ancient Roman festivals which were in abundance in this part of Europe in the pre-Christian  times.

Here we see  scantily clad women wrestling in a pool of  chocolate liquid   imitating  gladiators  of the bygone era.  Let's remember that even the Roman Emperor Diocletian  chose this part of Illyricum  as a place for his retirement.  After killing thousands of  Christians on the Italian Peninsula,  he suddenly decided to grow cabbage in what is today  the City of Split .    
However, these are  modern times - the rule of women.  Sorry  Diocletian!

All things we see and touch are perceived as a domain of men or women in our subconscious mind.  Croatian word čokolada (chocolate) is feminine   in terms of grammatical  classification. Not only that, it may even imply  some sexual connotations.

Dorina is the best known Croatian chocolate product , and perhaps the most beautiful name given to a chocolate.  Dorina is, also,  a Croatian female name .  Another Croatian female name - Madalina is used   for a popular chocolate brand coming from the Dalmatian City of Split in Southern Croatia.

Another similarity between chocolates and women: women are often judged by their appearance, and so are chocolates.  The beauty of  a  chocolate packaging design   is  as important as the chocolate itself.   In short,  wrappings are to chocolates what clothes are to women.  The more attractive design,  the better a chance for a chocolate to be consumed.  In conclusion, chocolates are the objects of our desires and unwrapping a delicious chocolate is equivalent to undressing a beautiful woman. 

Since  chocolate is inherently female, it is natural that the art of chocolate making is  increasingly embraced by   women nowadays.   As for the Croatian  ladies, they   are not just  satisfied  by  watching a divine  processions of chocolate gurus  (mostly males) from the sidelines,  they are  joining them in great numbers. 

Croatian media report  that Lourdes Delgado-Pandžić, a Croatian lady born in Ecuador,  is trying to combine the best chocolate of Ecuador with Dalmatian olive oil.  Another example is Christine Scholtes Čivić.  Born in Belgium with a permanent residence in Central Croatia (Lika),   Christine is making her own chocolates  under the name of  "Lika Chocolat".

A little chocolate factory in Zaprešić, called "Nautilus" should be mentioned as well. It  is unique in Croatia because its  entire workforce is  made up entirely by women. They are quite successful in business ;  the first orders are coming even from China. Not bad for a two-year old company.  Nautilus is making animal figures, balls, jewelry, toy airplanes - all from chocolate. These chocolates are made from Croatian traditional products such as honey from  Slavonia and figs from Dalmatia.  

 In short, the future  of  chocolate-making artistry in Croatia is now  firmly  in women's  hands.  

The educational components related to chocolate marketing  seem to be noticeable, although it is not  very significant.   For instance, at the last chocolate festival held in the  capital of Croatia,  the visitors were encouraged to make their own chocolates while the students of the Academy of Arts created chocolate sculptures based on the book "Alice in Wonderland".  

Also, Kraš  has  a long  tradition of over 60 years of selling chocolates  called Životinjsko carstvo (the Animal Kingdom) accompanied with pictures of animals.  Children  are encouraged to make albums out of these pictures which helps  them  learn  different types of  animals. The food for stomach combined with the food of knowledge seems to be a winning combination  for Kraš as well as the children of Croatia.

Do chocolates kill or heal?  Are they forces of liberation or domination? 

No doubt, chocolate is an antidepressant, like any comfort food or  drug  (such as tobacco). Chocolates are often handed out to soldiers during the war to ease their physical or psychological pain. American writer Ernest Hemingway was even wounded during WWI while handing out chocolates  to Italian soldiers.

Perhaps  the most gruesome  attack on the  spirit of chocolate and its glorified concept  of   good will,  caring and sharing, often associated with it   throughout centuries,  happened in Bosnia in 1995. Prior to committing genocide in Srebrenica, Serbian soldiers  led by General Ratko Mladic  handed out chocolates to Bosnian Muslims in front of a TV camera with a promise:  "Nobody will touch you. You are safe."  As soon as the camera was shut down, the genocide started. Some of the Serbian soldiers even came back to retrieve the precious jewels - chocolates. Many historians consider it the first genocide on the European soil after WWII.  However, this was  also  a crime against universally accepted spirit of chocolate which is associated with human kindness, love and compassion.

In our "domestic wars" (family homes) chocolates play a role, too,  although no-one knows for sure how many  marriages are saved or destroyed  because of chocolate. 

HUSBAND: "Honey, I wanna watch a  football game"
WIFE: "Oh, not again! What about me?!"
HUSBAND: "Well, I have a chocolate for you"
WIFE: "OK,  darling.   You can watch the game now."

Yes, the chocolate craving is often associated with women.  While men mostly crave for a juicy barbeque stake or a glass of wine, women crave chocolates, especially before their monthly cycles and when they are feeling low.    According to a study chocolates contain  substances that mimic effects of marijuana. Is this the reason for the craving ?

Croatian northern regions  are considered leaders in  the domestic chocolate  industry.  However, the sweet ghost of the chocolate star is rising in the Croatian south as well. Two chocolate brands , Madalina (Split) and Adria (Rab)  should be mentioned. 

Made by Marinko Biškić, a rock musician and chocolate maker, Nadalina brand is defending the honour of the Dalmatian chocolate artistry. It is the only Croatian brand  of Mediterranian type  in addition to  Adria chocolate  from the northern Adriatic island of Rab.  These   types  of chocolates come in a variety of flavours and they    distinguish themselves  from  the rest of the country by incorporating a variety of  local ingredients specific to the  Adriatics  such as dried figs, carob, and olive oil. Biškić has made a name for himself by creating visually stunning objects such as the rusty tools or a playable LP record made entirely from  chocolate. 

The  imagery of sun and sea is often invoked by these chocholate makers.  This is how the official web-site of Adria chocolates  promotes its product:

When you say "Adria" the first  thing that comes to your mind is  sea, sun, and summer vacation. Adria is a beach, sand, swimming suit, evening crowds, disco music, the uncountable masses of sun-tanned bodies, cold drink, evening swim, sleepless nights, and sunrise at the beach.

This  is a general Mediterranian  immagery,  so often used and abused by the  advertisers,  which is, in fact,  applicable to  any tourist destination around the world such as Mexico, Jaimeca, Greece, or Morocco (not just Adriatics).   In short, nothing wrong about it as long as  the country (Croatia) is given priority over Mediterranian.

Chocolate is not only edible food, it is also used to create works of art.  The various types of artwork are produced such as chocolate sculptures of various shapes and sizes, sugar sculptures and chocolate body paintings. In Croatia,   Marinko Biškić  (Nadalina-Split) is probably the most successful in the utilization of  chocolate in  creation of work of art , although  Nautalis (Zaprešić) and Bolero (Zagreb) are not far behind.  Nautalis' tapestry of life-like objects is similar to   Bolero's, although of a higher quality. Bolero's artistry is mostly focused on creation of cups, bowls and spoons which can be used as real objects, but they are also edible.

The never-ending  spirit of   innovation in Croatian chocolate  industry brings us to Neven Ciganović, the maker of a donkey milk chocolate which is unique in  the whole world. Ciganović is the owner of a farm of donkeys in Ivanić Grad and he sells his chocolates in Zagreb and surrounding areas. Ciganović is outspoken in his advocacy for donkey's milk pointing out its numerous health advantages.  Ciganović might be right, after all,  since the latest scientific studies have reached the same conclusion. 

The Latin phrase "nomen est omen" (name is a sign) declares the importance of a name in a society. It tells us  who we are, and what we stand for. In English language almost all names, including industrial brands, sound - English. How about Croatian chocolates? To what extent are their names Croatian? Let's see. These are the names of the most popular chocolate brands & products  in Croatia: 

Kraš, the name of compony.  Croatian name? Yes. 
Zvečevo, the name of company.  Croatian name? Yes.
Likči vrt, the name of company.  Croatian name? Yes.
Bajadera, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? Yes.
Dorina, chocolate product made by Kraš. Croatian name? Yes.
Čoksa, chocolate product made by Kraš. Croatian name? Yes.
Dorina Fifty, chocolate product made by Kraš. Croatian name? No. 
Kraš 1911, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? Yes.
Životinjsko carstvo, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? Yes.
Kolumbo, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? No. 
Bananko, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name?  Yes. 
Griotte,  chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name?  No.
La Chocolate, the name of company.  Croatian name? No.
Deliiicije, the name of company.  Croatian name? No.
Adria, chocolate product made by Deliiicije.  Croatian name? No.
Fontana, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? No.
Quartet, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? No.
Pozdrav iz Hrvatske, chocolate product made by Kraš.  Croatian name? Yes.
Lička čokolada,  chocolate product made by Likči vrt. Croatian name? Yes.
Nautilus, the name of company.  Croatian name?  No.
Chocofest, chocolate festival in Zagreb. Croatian name?  No.
Mikado Premium, chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Mikado Extra Fine,  chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Mikado Summer Edition, chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Mond i Super - chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Samo ti,  chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? Yes.
Volim te,  chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? Yes.
Braco i seka,  chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? Yes.
Saporo,  chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Valisa,  chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Claudia i Clementina, chocolate product made by Zvečevo. Croatian name? No.
Nadalina, chocolate brand/product made by  Marinko Biškić (Split). Croatian name?  Yes.
Bolero, the name of company.  Croatian name?  No.
Dragee, chocolate product made by Bolero (Zagreb).  Croatian name?  No.
Puhana čokolada, chocolate product made by  Bolero.  Croatian name?  Yes.

Sixteen out of  thirty-five  names  from the list  ( or  45% )   are  Croatian.  This is unacceptable. In fact, this shows us how small we Croatians really are.The only answer to this is to boycott  companies or products such as "La Chocolate",  "Dragee" or "Griotte" and support the ones who proudly use the original  Croatian  names such as "Lički vrt", "Dorina", or  "Pozdrav iz Hrvatske". 

And finally  a few words about the role of Croatian chocolates among the Diaspora Croats. From my personal experience in Canada,  Croatian chocolate is  more than just a chocolate. Like in the book of fantasy "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", it embodies a strong feeling of fellowship, community, family connections, and a sense of belonging.  Chocolates are suitable  for  a variety of occassions: birthdays, parties, weddings, visits to friends, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, etc. Therefore, they celebrate the spirit of togetherness, a human touch. 

If you are not sure what kind of  present you should give to  Croatian friends, just give them  Croatian chocolates  and they  will be happy.  Sure,  there are thousands of different chocolate brands lying on the shelves of Canadian stores ,  but Croatian chocolate is something special to us. First, it is ours - Croatian. Second, it is a very good chocolate (especially Kraš' products), so much better than others. 

Next, even though chocolates are now quite  inexpensive  (not a food for aristocratic classes anymore), an aura of  trust surrounding Croatian  cultish delicacies   is as strong as ever.  Again, these are quality products, not a mimicry.  These  chocolates  first conquered our  stomachs; after stomachs - our hearts and, finally - our minds. Yes, they are our Croatian products, but also the products of the world and they should be celebrated as such.

Željko Todorić

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Piše: Željko Todorić

16. kolovoza 2012.

(Ovo je hrvatski prijevod mog nedavnog uretka  na engleskome jeziku. Ovdje...)

Trenutačne  gospodarske poteškoće kako u  Hrvatskoj tako i diljem Europe, tjeraju izvjestan broj hrvatskih građana da napuste svoju Domovinu u potrazi za boljim životom.

U svojoj nedavnoj email poruci,  jedan čitatelj " Hrvatskog glasa" (The Croatian Voice)  postavlja mi slijedeća pitanja:

Htio sam Vas pitati dal je moguće doći u Kanadu i ostati živjeti tu.
 Pošto je u Hrvatskoj stanje sve gore i gore ja i moja obitelj planiramo
pokušati doći u Kanadu (ja, žena i naš mali bebac od 3 mjeseca), pa sam Vas
htio pitati kakve su tu u Kanadi plaće i dal bi nas troje mogli živjeti od
svoga rada kad bi došli tu?
I najbitnije dal u Kanadi ima posla?
Nadalje,  zanima me da li  je moguće doći turistički u Kanadu i tamo naći
poslodavca koji bi mi mogao srediti radnu dozvolu?

(Daniel, Hrvatska)

Ovo su ista pitanja koja su zanimala i neke druge posjetitelje Hrvatskog glasa (The Croatian Voice).

 Pođimo redom - prvo pitanje:

  1. Koja je prosječna plaća u Kanadi?

U skladu sa  kanadskim  statističkim  podacima ,  ukupni prihod  (nakon takse)  jednog kanadskog domaćinstva  od dva ili više članova  za 2010. godinu iznosio je u prosjeku  $ 76, 600 kanadskih dolara (više).

Međutim, novopridošli doseljenici zarađuju znatno manje novca. Službeni pokazatelji za  2005. godinu  ističu, na primjer,  da je  prosječni doseljenik   (koji  je obitavao u Kanadi ispod pet godina) zaradio godišno svega $25, 714 kanadskih dolara.  Međutim, osoba rođena u Kanadi, zaradila je u prosjeku  iste godine znatno više: $37, 213 (više).  Premda se  osobni prihod  useljenika  s vremenom  povećava,  razlika u plaći između  njih  i onih rođenih u Kanadi  još  je uvijek značajna.  Zapravo, podaci za 2005. godinu posve su jasni:  novopridošli doseljenici u Kanadu zaradili su te godine svega 69.1 % od prosječne plaće ($ 37, 213) koju su zaradili  građani rođeni u Kanadi.

Drugi nepovoljni  čimbenici:  prosječna radnička plaća novopridošlica   u Kanadu  stalno  se smanjuje u posljednjih dvadeset godina.  Ukratko, današnji  doseljenik u Kanadi  zarađuje daleko manje novca nego što su zarađivali doseljenici prije 20 godina.  Na primjer, doseljenici iz istočne Europe, koji su u Kanadu pristigli u razdoblju od 1990 do 2004, zaradili su u prosjeku $ 32, 368 dolara godišno. Međutim, oni koji su pristigli deset godina kasnije (od 2000 do 2004, zaradili su svega $25, 730  (vidi tablu 1):

  1. Da li ćemo moći živjeti od svoga rada kada dođemo u Kanadu ?

Može se živjeti. Međutim, novi doseljenik koji radi za  najnižu  plaću  u jednome skupome gradu kao što je Toronto,   na primjer,  neće imati lagodan  život.  Premda se nezaposlenost učestalo  poistovjećuje sa  siromaštvom, značajan  broj ljudi u velikim kanadskim gradovima zapravo radi cijeli život, ali se još uvijek smatraju siromašnima. Razlika između ljudi na državnoj pomoći (siromašno pučanstvo bez posla)  i siromašnog pučanstva u radnome odnosu vrlo je mala u pogledu kakvoće njihova življenja.  Siromašno  pučanstvo bez zaposlenja  dobiva državnu pomoć iako  ne plaćaju  takse. Oni uglavnom žive u stanovima sa državnom  potporom, imaju besplatno zdravstveno osiguranje i primaju  novčane prihode  za osnovne potrebe. Nadalje, kad im nestane novca, oni   često  ovise  o hrani  (food banks)   koja se skuplja putem dobrovoljnih priloga .  Količina novca koju  primaju od državnih ustanova ovisi o  političkoj  stranci  na vlasti. Ljevičarski opredjeljene stranke obično su više naklonjene siromašnim slojevima nego li konzervativci. U ovoj tekućoj godini, na primjer, pojedinačne osobe  na državnoj pomoći dobivaju oko $ 600 kanadskih dolara mjesečno.

Ukratko, povoljna vijest za nove  useljenike,  koji su zakonskim putem pristigli  u Kanadu, je u tome da oni nikada neće biti gladni niti ostavljeni na ulici,  zaposleni ili ne. Međutim, nepovoljna je vijest u tome što oni mogu biti u punome radnom odnosu i još uvijek živjeti u siromaštvu.  Ovo se poglavito odnosi na obitelji bez jednog roditelja. Ukratko, pravi izazov za novog doseljenika nije u pronalaženju  bilo kakavog  posla  već  posla koji se dobro plaća, dakle, onog posla koji će mu omogućiti pristojan život.  Donji nam dijagram predočava koje su kanadske pokrajine najnaklonjenije prosječnim obiteljima glede godišnjih novčanih primanja  (nakon takse).   

Izvor:  Statistics Canada. Median after-tax income, by economic family type, 2009 constant dollars, annual (CANSIM Table 202-0605). Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2011

Premda je ovdje riječ o podacima za 2009. godinu, ja sam posve uvjeren da se oni također mogu primjeniti i na tekuće razdoblje. Kao što vidimo, najviše godišne  prosječne plaće  (nakon taksi) primaju obitelji u Alberti u iznosu od $ 77, 800. Riječ je o ukupnome prihodu svih članova u jednome domaćinstvu.  Alberta također bilježi neobično snažan industrijski razvoj posljednjih godina te se stoga smatra najpovoljnijom pokrajinom za nove doseljenike.

Najniži  osobni dohodak (minimalac)  zakonski  je zajamčen  u Kanadi. Minimalne plaće nisu svugdje iste. U ovome trenutku, najniže zakonski utvrđene plaće vidimo u Alberti , $ 9.40 po satu. Najviše minimalne plaće, zakonski odobrene u Kanadi vidimo u teritoriji  Nunavut, $10.25.  Nadalje, strani doseljenici u Kanadi, trebaju također biti svjesni  zamašnih taksi koje im se oduzimaju od svake plaće tijekom radnog odnosa. U Ontariju, na primjer, negdje oko 30%  od svake plaće izdvaja se  za državne potrebe. Ukratko, slabo upućeni doseljenik mogao bi očekivati, na primjer, $1,000 dolara za obavljeni posao. Međutim, kad se oduzmu sve takse, njegova stvarna plaća je negdje oko $700.

U nastavku pogledajmo  prosječne  cijene u Torontu za ovu  godinu. One su  dobar pokazatelj životnog standarda u gradu:

Štruca sviježeg bijelog kruha (500g)                       2.72 C$    -   2.11 €   -   15.88 kn
Mlijeko (regularno), 1 litar                                      2.80 C$    -   2.17 €   -   16.33 kn
Krompiri (1kg)                                                         1.54 C$     -   1.20 €   -   9.00  kn
Jaja (12 komada)                                                    3.15 C$     -  2.45 €   -  18.40 kn
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline
(ili slično novo vozilo)                23,269.28 C$      -     18,078.85 €      -    135,913.16 kn
Autobusna karta-jedan smjer (mjesni promet)          3.00 C$      -  2.33 €       -  17.45 kn
Gorivo (1 litar)                                                            1.29 C$      -  1.01 €        -   7.56 kn         
Osnovna potrošnja (struja, grijanje, voda, odvoz smeća)
za stan veličine 85m2                                        239.45 C$     -    186.04 €     -    1,398.59 kn
Jednosobni stan izvana središta grada             929.09 C$         -   721.85 €     -    5,426.70 kn
IZVAN SREDIŠTA GRADA                         4,483.53 C$          -    3,483.43 €            -    26,187.75 kn        

Donji nam dijagram pokazuje životne troškove u  nekoliko svjetskih gradova,  uključujući Zagreb (Hrvatska)  i dva kanadska grada - Vancouver i Toronto:

Izvor: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living

Najskuplji je grad Sydney (Australia), a nakon njega slijedi London (Engleska). Premda dva kanadska  grada, (Vancouver i Toronto) nisu  skupi kao  Sydney ili London,  oni su u svakome slučaju skuplji od Berlina i New Yorka, a da ne uspoređujemo gradove osrednje skupoće kao što su Zagreb (Hrvatska)  i Prag (Češka).

  1. Kako doseliti u Kanadu

Prije nego što ispunite službeni obrazac - prijavu za useljenje u Kanadu ,  morate znati da  postoje   tri klase koje vam se nude na raspolaganje. Morate izabrati onu klasu koja vam najbolje odgovara:

Neovisna klasa:  osobno možete ispuniti papire u vašoj Domovini i ne trebate rodbinu u Kanadi za pokrovitelja.  Veliki broj stranih doseljenika u Kanadi  uporabio je  ovu mogućnost. Neki od njih su privremeni  (sezonski)  radnici dok  su drugi u Kanadi za stalno. Važno je napomenuti da je radna dozvola potrebna za većinu sezonskih poslova. Stručno sposobni radnici na velikoj su cijeni. Također su dobro prihvaćeni strani ulagivači, poduzetnici, i ljudi koji rade za sebe. Svatko tko se odluči za neovisnu klasu  podvrgnut je bodovnom sistemu. Zainteresirane stranke ocjenjuju se na temelju slijedećih čimbenika:  dob, obrazovanje, znanje engleskog jezika, radno iskustvo,  obrazovanje bračnog druga, da li zainteresirane  stranke  imaju  rodbinu u Kanadi, da li im  je tamo već zagarantiran posao i   da li   su već radili u Kanadi. Ukratko,  idealan  kandidat za useljenje u  Kanadu   bila  bi osoba mlađe dobi, dobro obrazovana, sa dobrim znanjem engleskog jezika,  iskusna  u svojoj struci i kojoj je već obećan posao u Kanadi.  Ovi su zahtijevi utemeljeni na kanadskom tržištu rada. Kako se tržište rada mijenja tako i useljenička politika.

Obiteljska klasa: Ukoliko se namjeravate useliti  u Kanadu pod obiteljskom klasom, vi morate imati nekog člana obitelji  koji već živi u Kanadi i koji se zakonski obvezao da će biti vaš podupiratelj (sponzor). Ovaj član obitelji mora biti  punoljetan i sa stalnim boravkom u Kanadi.  U ovoj je klasi bodovni sistem  nevažeći  (više).

Prognaničko-dobrotvorna klasa: 
Ako ste žrtva rata ili ste podvrgnuti progonima u vašoj zemlji, onda trebate izabrati ovu klasu. U ovoj je klasi bodovni sistem  nevažeći.        

Nadalje, vi morate također priložiti dokaz da niste zakonski kažnjavani. Također se zahtijeva  i dokaz o vašem zdravstvenome stanju.


Posla ima i nema. Sve ovisi o tome gdje se traži posao i koju vrstu posla je potraživač spreman prihvatiti. Ako se poslovi traže u pokrajinama kao što su, na primjer,   Nunavut, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland  i  Labrador, Prince Edward Island ili New Brunswick, onda će tražitelji zaposlenja možda  imati težak  zadatak.  Međutim, nedavni  gospodarski pokazatelji  ukazuju na postepeno poboljšanje  i u ovim dijelovima Kanade, navlastito  Newfoundland i Labrador, čiji je bruto nacionalni dohodak po osobi premašio nacionalni prosjek 2010. godine. Također, postoji znatna nejednakost  ne samo između kanadskih pokrajina nego i između različitih područja unutar pojedinačne pokrajina glede prosječne  radničke satnice  i ukupnih životnih troškova (više).

Na primjer, prosječna satnica radnika  sa stručnom spremom u pokrajini  British Colombia je $ 23.51.  Radnici iste struke  ne samo da dobivaju tri dolara manje u pokrajini Nova Scotia,  već su tamo izloženi i većim životnim troškovima (više).   Isto tako   zaposlenici sa  šireg područja Toronta (the Greater Toronto  Area) obično zarađuju više nego li  radnici iz drugih područja Ontarija. Međutim,  životni troškovi u Torontu su daleko veći.

Kanadski statistički podaci  za 2010. godinu pokazuju nam  koje su kanadske pokrajine u ovome trenutku  najpovoljnije za nove useljenike (više).   Kako vidimo iz donjeg dijagrama -  Ontario, najmnogoljudnija pokrajina u Kanadi, te kotač kanadske proizvođačke industrije i tržišta, trenutno nije na vrhu ljestvice.  Ukupni bruto nacionalni dohodak (GDP)   po osobi ispod  je nacionalnog prosjeka u Ontariju. Drugim riječima, ako se želite stalno useliti u Kanadu u ovome trenutku, bolje vam  je da  zaobiđete Ontario. Pokrajine koje pružaju bolje mogućnosti za zapošljenje su Alberta,  Northwest Territories,  Yukon i  Saskatchewan.  

Gospodarske prilike  su podvrgnute ubrzanim  promjenama. Na primjer,  područje The Northwest Territories imalo je najviši bruto nacionalni dohodak po osobi u 2010. godini. Međutim, godinu dana poslije svaka kanadska pokrajina doživjela je povećanje bruto nacionalnog dohotka osim  jedne - The Northwest Territories ! Bruto nacionalni dohodak pao je u ovoj teritoriji  na 5.5 %  (više).  Nadalje, grana industrije i  vrsta posla  kojom se netko želi  baviti imaju izravan utjecaj ne samo s kojom će  brzinom  dotična osoba  dobiti radno mjesto već i na to kakva će joj  biti plaća u budućnosti.  Na primjer,  bogata nalazišta nafte u Alberti, the Northwest Territories,   Yukon i  Saskatchewan, bila su presudna u naglom industrijskom razvoju ovih pokrajina  u posljednje vrijeme. Svaki onaj koji je voljan raditi u ovoj grani industrije neće imati velikih poteškoća da pronađe posao. Ontario, u usporedbi sa ovim pokrajinama, gubi svoju prevagu. Međutim, jedina grana industrije u Ontariju, koja se još uvijek dobro drži jeste građevinarstvo. Ukratko, svatko tko je voljan raditi u Ontariju u građevinskoj struci može u ovome trenutku  prilično lako dobiti posao. Važno je napomenuti da je i ova  industrijska  grana, kao i svaka druga, podložna brzim promjenama. Sve ovisi o zahtjevima potrošača i  tržišnim zakonitostima.

Premda se Ontario u ovome trenutku ne može ravnati sa Albertom, The Northwest Territories, Yukon i Saskatchewan u pogledu ponude poslova, Ontario još uvijek ima neke prednosti u odnosu na ove pokrajine. Najprije - vremenski  uvjeti. Vremenski uvjeti u Južnome Ontariju (gdje inače većina Hrvata danas živi) nisu previše nepogodni. Oni se mogu usporediti sa Zagrebom u Sjevernoj Hrvatskoj te se smatraju među najpovoljnijima u Kanadi. Jedino južni dijelovi pokrajine  British Columbia imaju bolje vremenske uvjete.  Istina, ponekad zime mogu biti vrlo hladne, međutim to se ne može usporediti sa hladnoćom koja je svojstvena Alberti, The Northwest Territories, Yukon i Saskatchewan. Ove su pokrajine  dobro  poznate po izrazito oštroj klimi. 
Nadalje, Južni Ontario je najnapučenije područje u cijeloj Kanadi.  Poznato je po odličnim prometnim vezama, mnoštvom bolnica, sveučilišta,   trgovačkih središta itd.  Također, čovjek se ne osjeća otuđenim u Južnome Ontariju. Bez obzira gdje se  nalazio,   sresti će  ljude  svoga  podrijetla. Dakle, društveni život u  Ontariju je puno bolji nego u nekim drugim kanadskim pokrajinama. Isto tako, blizina države New York i gradova kao što su Buffalo i Detroit na američkoj strani, čine ovu pokrajinu privlačnom za nove doseljenike. 



Ovo je  najprikladniji  odgovor:

Moguće je, ali prilično teško.
Prvo, vi morate pronaći poslodavca koji je spreman da vam ponudi posao. Ovaj poslodavac će onda morati ispuniti potrebne papire i proslijediti zahtjev na  procjenu tržišta rada  ("Labour Market Opinion").  Isto tako,   poslodavac  mora dokazati da je oglašavao radno mjesto na  burzi rada  i da nije bio u mogućnosti pronaćni kanadskog građanina za ovu radnu ponudu.  Ako službena ustanova na temelju  procjene tržišta rada ("Labour Market Opinion"odluči izdati povoljno odobrenje za posao , što uvijek nije zajamčeno,   vi onda morate ispuniti potrebne papire za radnu dozvolu. Tek kada se vaša radna dozvola službeno potvrdi, vi tek onda možete ući u radni odnos. Cijeli   postupak  obično zahtijeva nekoliko mjeseci da bi  se okončao.
 (Izvor: http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/can-i-find-jobs-on-visitor-visa-t92898.0.html)

Ukratko, novopridošli  Hrvati   koji   u Kandu  ulaze  na turističkoj vizi  mogu  dobiti radnu dozvolu ako   posjeduju  neke posebne  vještine  koji se teško mogu pronaći u Kanadi.  Na primjer, Slava je Hrvatica u odmaklim godinama. Ona živi u Torontu.  Govori hrvatski odlično, ali ne i engleski. Slava traži žensku osobu da se brine o njoj uz određenu novčanu naknadu.  Slava nudi posao  iskusnoj  njegovateljici  pod uvjetom da odlično govori hrvatski. 

Slavina obitelj odlučuje dati oglas na kanadskoj burzi rada ili u novine. Međutim, nitko se ne odaziva na ovaj oglas jer ne postoji nitko tko bi zadovoljio Slavine zahtjeve. U ovome slučaju novopridošla Hrvatica, koja je u Kanadu ušla na turističkoj vizi, ima prigodu dobiti radnu dozvolu pod uvjetom da ispunjava  raspisane  zahtjeve za rečeno  radno mjesto.