If You're Thinking of Moving to Canada Post-Election Day, You Should Think Again
If the election doesn't turn out the way you're hoping, pledging allegiance to Canada, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, may not be easy or the right call.
Photo by Alex Gulbord
There's been a spike in Google searches for "move to Canada" ever since Donald Trump surprised everyone and won seven states in the Republican primaries on Super Tuesday back in March. In fact, this interest in Canadian immigration often sees an uptick in the face of U.S. election results that certain sections of the public aren't wild about. Hence why the searches about going Canadian also increased after President George W. Bush beat John Kerry in 2004, for instance.
Now, as the claptrap jalopy that is the 2016 presidential election begins its final jittery jaunt toward either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump winning the White House, Canada may be looking like a really good idea right now. (Christine Constanin, spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., says they have not seen an increase in Americans seeking to move to Canada, so far. So yes, it does look like the line is still reasonable if you want to become a Canuck-iter.)
However, if you move to Canada you'll be living in the land of no guns, free healthcare and Justin Trudeau, but don't think a jaunt over the border will solve all of your problems.
Sure, Canada is looking good right now as we roll into the final hours of the election with two problematic-at-best-and-potentially-disastrous candidates locked in a real horse race in the polls, but even if [insert candidate that activates your move-to-Canada impulse here] wins, all of your problems won't evaporate once you cross over to the land of "Eh".
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It's not as easy to pack up and become Canadian as one might expect — only about 8,500 Americans ditch U.S. citizenship for the Canadian kind each year because it's not like rolling off a log or, well, loading your car up, pointing it north and driving until you hit the border. See, Canadians, like Americans, have immigration qualifications and standards.
First, you have to take a questionnaire to figure out if you qualify. Canada is looking for people who either want to invest a bunch of money in the country or people with a set of particular skills they need. (Based on the questionnaire, they're interested in people who have industrial, electrical or construction skills, who know how to farm or manufacture goods, who can work as chefs or cooks or butchers or bakers or other really practical occupations.) So if you do something the Canadians would find useful, you may qualify for express entry, according to the Canadians.
The other option is to already have a job offer, to go to school and get a degree from Canada, marry a Canadian or claim refugee status. So there are many ways to become Canadian, but they all require more thought than simply crossing the border and screaming, "Hey Canucks! I've seen the light and I'm here! Let's watch some hockey, not make fun of the Queen and then jam out to some Bryan Adams, Eh!"
Plus, the Canadians have a nice piece of eye candy for prime minister, but they also are dealing with some of the pitfalls of being Canadian right now, including not having Target, being stuck with a truly terrible version of Netflix with like half the movies the United States gets to stream, and, you know, a 7 percent unemployment rate compared to the cool 4.9 unemployment rate we're currently rocking, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report issued Friday.
As election day looms, the interest in moving to Canada has been spiking of late.
Screengrab from Google Trends
Aside from that, there's also another angle to think about. If [candidate name goes here] wins the election, that's one thing, but if people who wanted the election to go the other way just pack up and leave, there's even more potential for the wheels to come off this great experiment in democracy. “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right,” Carl Schulz, a German revolutionary turned American statesman, once said. It's easy to leave something, but people who simply ditch the United States because they don't like how people vote aren't helping to deal with the problem, they're potentially allowing it to get worse with even less opposition.
Of course there's a flip side to that as British writer G.K Chesterton observed: “‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’” And if you look around on Wednesday morning, decide the country is a sloppy drunk who has finally gone on the bender from which there is no recovery, then by all means head to place where they make Canadians as fast as you can go.
It just seems like as long as we are the nation where the Bill of Rights, President Abraham Lincoln, hamburgers, Hamilton (both the man and the hit Broadway musical) and that sweet moment last week when the Chicago Cubs broke their 108-year drought to win the World Series can all happen, we're not so drunk as to be past all hope yet, no matter who takes the White House tomorrow.
Besides remember Sen. Ted Cruz is still at least a little bit Canadian — if President Barack Obama has had to wave his birth certificate around all this time, there's no reason to think Cruz is off the Canadian hook because he renounced his citizenship — so Canada may not be a true escape, after all.
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