So Canada, eh?
That’s Plan B, apparently, as Super Tuesday primary results came in this week and Americans were forced to consider the real possibility of President Trump.
I mean, two words on the Canada plan: Justin Trudeau.
And if he isn’t an adorable enough reason to go north, how about the new prime minister’s 50-percent female cabinet? “Because it’s 2015,” he explained, when asked why he made the revolutionary decision to opt for actual gender parity, rather than window dressing, when he picked his top advisers.
“Move to Canada” searches on Google spiked more than 1,000 percent this week.
The Canadian Embassy’s website crashed after returns came in from Super Tuesday.
Realtors in lovely Cape Breton Island — after a local radio personality created the website “Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins” — received calls from Americans interested in home prices.
The Mayflower moving company saw a surge in traffic on the “Moving to Canada” section of its website, company spokeswoman Melissa Sullivan said.
And Verizon Center was packed for the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. Were folks checking out a new home team? Brooks Laich made the move, even unwillingly, after all. Can’t we just follow him? Just trade us!
At this rate, the wall Trump wants to build along our southern border to keep immigrants out may have to be mirrored on the north to keep Americans in.
Careful, though. Toronto has its own Trump International Hotel and Tower. You can run but you can’t hide from a determined narcissist.
And will flight from Trump’s bombast and vitriol count as a political protest in Canadian eyes?
A handful of American service members fled to Canada to take a moral stand against the American wars they signed up to fight, convinced that the Canadians would see their point.
But Canada, once a haven for draft dodgers during the Vietnam War, has not been all sunshine and open arms for today’s deserters.
Kim Rivera was one of the more famous ones. The Texan fled to Canada with her husband and two children before a second deployment in 2007, after she was traumatized by what she saw on her first tour in Iraq. The Canadian government denied her application for refugee status and deported her. She was court-martialed and served a 10-month prison sentence here, giving birth to a child while locked up.
About a dozen other deserters are still fighting to stay. And even if they watched their army unit play soccer with decapitated heads, if they couldn’t stand the memory of a 10-year-old girl being shot before their eyes or if they married Canadians, then made tiny Canadians, Canada would not give them refugee status.
Canada is also seeing a wave of Syrian refugees, people whose entire villages were leveled by bloodthirsty warlords. So why would our neighbors up north give us haven from a bloviating yam?
Plus, if you’re worried about the air of authoritarianism we’ve seen at Trump rallies becoming the norm of a Trump reign, then meet Canada’s language police.
Yes, in places such as Quebec, they have language police. Everything has to be written in English and French. And the crusading language police famously vanquish signs at grilled-cheese stands, cupcake shops and cafés where English isn’t paired with French.
“A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese,” said Stephane Rheaume, who co-owns a targeted snack stand and has been the victim of language police. “It’s not a sandwich du fromage fondu.”
Anyway, this is not the first time Americans have threatened to flee in political protest — and the outcome is likely to be exactly the same.
Remember when Rush Limbaugh vowed to relocate to Costa Rica if the Affordable Care Act passed? Didn’t happen.
A fledgling Move to Canada movement blossomed when George W. Bush moved into the White House. A bunch of lefty celebrity types panicked. Eddie Vedder, Robert Altman, Alec Baldwin, Pierre Salinger, Johnny Depp and Barbra Streisand all made news about supposed exit plans.
Salinger actually made good on the threat, moving to France and dying there in 2004. Depp stayed in France for years but recently returned to escape French taxes.
After Bush was reelected in 2004, applications for Canadian immigration tripled. But few folks followed up.
Plus, the preferred destination of Americans isn’t wintry Canada; it’s sunny Mexico, the country whose people have been demonized by Trump.
Plenty of American expats — about a million, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City — have moved south of the border.
I met one of them on Isla Mujeres last year. He raved about the health-care system, his house in the “Beverly Hills” section of the island and how much he dislikes his grandchildren in Connecticut.
“They want me to visit every holiday,” he moaned between sips of margarita. Then he got on his scooter, his much younger Mexican girlfriend straddled behind him, and they left the taqueria.
Go ahead, be him.
Poutine vs. chilaquiles? No contest.
But this is funny: Despite the ugly tide of hatred that arose when President Obama came into office, his election did not inspire a political exodus.
Can we learn something here?
There was, amid the declarations of disgust and action on social media this week, a small resistance building.
“Folks talkin’ about movin’ to Canada if Trump gets elected. To each their own — me — I ain’t going no where — I’m staying put right here,” Kristi Merriweather of College Park, Ga., said via Facebook. “If my ancestors had decided to move to Canada because of slavery, broken promises, Jim Crow segregation, etc etc — I’d already be a Canadian. I come from tough stock — no man, no woman is going to spook me off.”
So take some deep breaths, people. Canada is likely to remain a nice place to visit — not an exit strategy.
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