We Canadians can be a smug lot when the Americans start electioneering, which seems to me to be most of the time these days. Literally, the new President of the place is inaugurated and then they’re off again, before the ink’s even dry.
Whenever the Americans have a really terrible candidate, like say, a Bush, there are those amongst us – myself included – who write immediately to American friends and offer marriage or adoption, or whatever else necessary in order for them to flee the country for the next four to eight years. Being in exile used to be quite the chic thing, no? I don’t see why it shouldn’t be anymore.
This time round though, I feel like there may be a lot of Americans fleeing to the quiet safety of Canada where not much ever really happens. I read somewhere, and I may be completely wrong in this or mis-remembering, so grain of salt, but I believe Americans have traditionally been well-represented amongst groups of people applying for refugee status in Canada. So it seems completely logical that now, entire towns (and probably soon enough provinces) have started to offer our friends to the south safe harbour should Mr. Trump be elected.
The Mom loves a good dose of American politics (and by that I mean she mainlines CNN like it were heroin, going on multiple-day benders the closer we get to election day) although recently even she’s losing patience with what’s happening there. She has, however, found a bit of a sideline in weird groups of Canadians offering their two cents’ worth of advice to Americans. Her favourite is this chap in on Cape Breton island who appears to be offering asylum to Americans fleeing a world in which Mr Donald Trump has the codes to the nuclear warheads and can – should the moment strike – do things like write laws, start wars, and basically act like the world’s worst-disguised dictator. I mean, I feel like at some point even North Korea’s going to start offering regular Americans a place to stay should things get completely out of control.
I think The Mom finds it completely improbable that Americans would take up residence on Cape Breton. What with it being quite small, rural, not near anything, and lacking in jobs and the other kinds of things that might recommend a town at first glance. But that’s where I think she’s gone wrong. It assumes that Americans themselves are fleeing from great prosperity, which I don’t think is necessarily the case. The American economy took a worse hit than ours in 2008, and though it’s recovered there are tons of cities and towns that are withering away. Besides which, think of all the money those nice American refugees would save on health care when they moved up north. It costs around $75, 300 for a coronary bypass in the States, and even an appendectomy is over $10,000. With that kind of savings, and the exchange rate, surely you’d be alright for a while at least.
The Mom also points out that once the Americans figured out that Canada isn’t this dull, backwards, snow-covered place, that they’ll probably all come to stay, and we’d be overrun in a month. That is worrying. Most people who visit Canada report being pleasantly surprised at what a sophisticated place it is, how good the food is, and generally how much fun they had. They seem surprised because mostly what people who aren’t Canadians know about Canada could be written on the back of a cocktail napkin. Which is how we like it. The more people who know that it’s not actually as dull as it seems, the less likely it is to stay one of the world’s best kept secrets. One of my favourite memes on the internet is something about how Canada’s actually a made-up place. I fully support this view.
My current favourite bit of Canadian smugness around the American election though is slightly more absurd, but if it happened would be so amazing it’s not even funny. There’s a website called Canada for President, and it’s a spoof site, obviously, but still, there’s something really appealing about the idea to me. Imagine? If Canada were in charge of the States, it would be great. Mr Trudeau could rock up once or twice a week to Washington, and help them with their homework, remind them that now all health care is free at the point of use, and give out poutine or maple syrup.
America has shown itself to not always be of sound mind and body, and if it lived in the UK, and elected Donald Trump it would be sectioned, surely. For those of you who don’t know, being sectioned here is basically being determined to be so out of your mind that you can’t be trusted to no longer be a danger to yourself or others, and are put in someone’s case – usually a family member or friend, for about 72 hours. Which I think the UK ought to do should Mr Trump be elected. I mean, look, they emancipated themselves from the UK, insisting they were going to be able to take care of themselves. But with all the mass shootings, the deplorable state of their healthcare, their terrible results in the general standard of living as compared to other countries, and then to top it off this latest round of silliness in the elections is proof enough: they can no longer take care of themselves, and are quickly becoming a danger to others. Either Canada or the UK can step in and run the place for a few years until they settle down.