Gill and I talk often about the refugee crisis in Europe and the hoards of people dying in leaky boats to cross dangerous seas or live for months or years in refugee camps. Horrible! But she was surprised recently when I explained to her that Canada might soon become a refugee haven…and not just for Syrians or others from the Middle East fleeing wars. Yes, dear readers, we may become a haven, just as we were to some during the Vietnam War, for Americans trying to escape the presidency of Donald Trump! It does give one a warm, fuzzy feeling to know we might be able to help our friends to the south.
This has all come about courtesy (as I learned from CNN) of D.J. Rob Calabrese from Cape Breton island, P.E.I. Canadians are watching with great interest (and horror) the current U.S. election campaign. Well, we only had our own six miserable weeks of a campaign recently and a person needs something to watch on television at night. The American campaign has been going on for, as far as I can tell, approximately three years — ever since Obama was re-elected. You’d think interest would wane after all that time, but this latest campaign has been so unbelievable, shocking, funny, horrifying, that it’s akin to watching a car crash. If it weren’t so important to the world’s future, I would laugh hysterically. And indeed, there are those who would label Rob’s comments from Cape Breton as disingenuous at best since we Canadians have nothing to be smug about. And, it has to be said, we as a nation do occasionally have a ‘holier than thou’ attitude about our U.S. friends and neighbors.
Our own politicians promise the world and deliver little. Our politicians lie and obfuscate and ridicule personal failings in the opposing politicians. Our economy is in trouble, our energy sector is in the toilet, our food and housing costs in some places are through the roof. Our native peoples have been given the shaft (often by their own greedy leaders), and our supposedly inclusive society is not devoid of blatant cases of racism and intolerance. But for purposes of a chuckle to relieve our own angst, I will accept that Rob’s invitation to Americans is sincere.
He has proposed, if Trump wins the election, that Americans seek safe haven in delightful Cape Breton Island. As he rightly points out, housing is cheap, there is universal healthcare (that almost guarantees you five valuable minutes of your doc’s time every year whether you need it or not), people don’t wander around ‘packing heat’ (except hand warmers in their mittens), the air is clean, abortions are available, same sex marriages are legal, and generally speaking, different ethnicities are cheerfully accepted . Wow!If I were an American, I’d have my suitcase packed and the gas tank in the car filled!
Only problem is, the little island is so sparsely populated, you’d really have trouble finding a neighborhood Costco…or a Timmy’s, for that. Your nearest neighbor might be that moose that wanders through town and, sorry to say, finding a job would be next to impossible. Now if you have the sort of job that allows you to work from home on your computer, you’re golden. In Cape Breton you will be’ getting back to nature’ in a way that makes the 60s hippie communes look like apartments in downtown Manhattan.
I really don’t think we as Canadians have to worry about being overrun by our American neighbors. First of all, who in their right mind would come to a country where you have to read about all the chemicals in your breakfast cereal in not one but TWO languages, where we have the official ‘Language Police’, and where our money is one small step up from being Canadian Tire money?
Actually, I hope that the comedians, from John Oliver to Jimmy Fallon, keep presenting us as the bumpkins next door with the beavers, mounties, and moose. Running under the radar — that’s the way we like it! Perhaps, if Mr. Trump does win the election, he’ll put up a wall on the northern border as well as the southern one as he is currently threatening. If he puts one up along our border, he’d better be sure it’s beaver proof. Those little buggers can dig!!