None of my business

My dear American neighbours*,

Monster.com, a job search site, has seen a 50% spike in the number of you looking for jobs in Canada this year. There’s no wall to stop you, of course, because long before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we had a porous border and folks from both sides flowed like Great Lake waters back and forth. But as the Great Pumpkin rises in America, I’d like you who are considering jumping the 49th parallel to move from Tribeca to Toronto or Vero Beach to Vancouver to bear in mind a few things. You might not notice it right away, but we are different from you. For instance:

  1. We measure distances in kilometers. Your children will adapt but you will always be a foreigner with a funny accent who doesn’t know how far it is from Calgary to Edmonton.
  2. Our Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP, is a feminist. Because it’s 2015. 2016. 2017. 2018…

    Image result for justin trudeau

    Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC, MP

  3. The Liberal colour is red – more of a dark pink really, like a maple leaf in the fall versus the colour of Newt Gingrich’s face when interviewed by Megyn Kelly – and not to be confused with Republican rouge.
  4. The Conservative Party of Canada’s colour is blue – like our open skies and our border and Bill Clinton’s ties – and not to be confused with the Democrat hue.
  5. The policies of our former Conservative Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper,  PC, MP, look more like those of Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. (Remember, blue in Canada is red in the United States.)
  6. Parlez-vous Français? We are an officially bilingual country – English and French – and while this isn’t an easy co-existence, it is embedded in our history, like “Peace, order, and good government”, the governing principle of our Constitution Act.
  7. Check your guns at the border. Like Marshall Dillon in Dodge City  the law here requires that you leave your guns behind before you enter town.

  8. In your two preferred cities – Vancouver and Toronto – the average price of a detached home is more than $1.3 million. Even with the Canuck buck trading at 25% less than the Yankee dollar, can you really afford us?
  9. Taxes are high but our health care is free, part 2 of “Can you really afford us?”
  10. We welcome refugees. Canada resettled more than 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and March 2016. Maybe to some of you this is a reason for a northern wall. Or maybe this is the reason you are welcome, too.
  11. Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada. Period.
  12. Our cities are multicultural. This means our neighbourhoods are as well. On my street of 14 houses I have neighbours from Columbia, Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Our larger neighbourhood has the highest density Arabic speaking population in Ottawa. Within a two kilometre radius are a Hindu Temple, a Sunni Mosque, and a Buddhist Temple, as well as the usual assortment of Catholic and Protestant churches. If Canada was a candy we’d be Licorice Allsorts.Image result for licorice allsorts

I love my country because of and despite some of these things. You are welcome to make my home and native land yours, too, but you should know these things before you come north. I hope things work out for you at home and that you don’t feel you have to leave. In fact, I hope you’ll stay at home and work out your differences somehow. Somehow fix the compass needle that is spinning wildly in all directions.

I like you. I really do, but right now you scare me and although your election is none of my business, it is all of my concern. I am your neighbour and as Trudeau the first

Image result for Pierre Trudeau

Former Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, PC, MP

(Justin’s father) said “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”  Right now the beast does not seem at all friendly and far from even-tempered and a twitch over a nuclear code would be a catastrophe. And quite frankly, I’m not sleeping anymore because my neighbour, the elephant, looks like he’s going rogue.

*PS: We spell different, too.

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43 thoughts on “None of my business

  1. Now that the election is over, it will be interesting to see who really does emigrate to Canada….I do wish some of the more vocal limousine liberals from the entertainment industry would do so. But maybe it’s like the pouty little kid who threatens to run away from home if he doesn’t get his way, as my brother once did. My dad dressed the little guy in his best clothes, packed a little suitcase for him and sent him out the door. The boy was discovered some time later crying as he sat on his suitcase, having gotten no further than the front yard.

  2. What an interesting post – from a UK perspective it’s interesting to know that this is one of the responses to the elections and how you feel about it in Canada. After Brexit, I heard more than a few people say they wanted to move to Scotland – there are some parallels there, but since we spell the same way – and our political colours are similar – maybe we should move to Canada 🙂

    • Hi Andrea,
      On the night of the American election, Immigration Canada’s website crashed due to heavy traffic. I’m afraid you’ll have to get in line! Our dollar is tanking and is now at .71 to the Yankee dolla’ and if NAFTA is renegotiated we’ll be standing in bread lines. I think it’s probably best to stay put. Welcome to the new era where your colour (note the spelling) means everything. 😦

    • And I love your Patriotism post with its slightly slant perspective on flag waving. National pride is a good thing as long as it doesn’t veer into nativism. We were all immigrants at some point in populating the continent.

  3. So very cleverly written. I am still gobsmacked that Trump made it this far. Whilst we are not next door, we are also fearful of this rogue elephant. Hopefully good sense prevails and you won’t have to cope with an influx of US refugees.

    • Wouldn’t it be ironic to have to welcome Trump supporter refugees if Clinton wins? There’s no way of knowing which candidate those job hunters are supporting!

  4. Thanks for the advice. We are hoping to survive Tuesday. We don’t want to move to Canada, as wonderful a place as it is. Our option, on the West Coast (or the “left” coast) is outright secession – Washington, Oregon, California. Only joking, of course. Or, am I?

    • My husband and I were talking this morning, doing this same awful speculation “What if?” and what states might do such a thing and we came to the same conclusion as you. I never thought in my lifetime I would hear such a discussion coming from the US and yet you’re not the first person I’ve heard speculating, even if in a joking manner.

    • Victoria on Vancouver Island has a delightful climate, probably very similar to San Francisco. And Windsor, Ontario – just a hop across the Detroit River, has a balmy climate, too. We’re not all igloos and skidoos! Although, I thought you didn’t mind the winter, you Greenland explorer you!

  5. Charming post. I have many Canadian friends, and they tell the nicest stories, like people returning wallets left on a train, or how they can afford their epi-pens, and I’m just always down here like, “Canada is so nice.”
    My friend Tracey says she has room for us… I’d much rather visit, but we’ll see.

    • Yes, I have an epi-pen and had no idea the crazy prices some Americans have to pay for this life-saving medicine. We’re not all nice, Joey. We have a nasty scandal going on in Quebec right now wherein the police were spying on journalists to try and track sources of stories. A jolt to the concept of freedom of the press. But on the whole, I think we deeply believe in Peace, Order, and Good Government.

  6. Very very well crafted piece which I much enjoyed. I have no comment to make at all on the election – I vowed to keep decorously silent and I will. Sleeping with the elephant I rather think gives you more right to do so than many. Bon courage mes braves Canadiens 🇨🇦 🐘 🇺🇸

      • Being here has been a privilege and I do mean that. To be here whilst the election has played out, to witness the media and the party machines literally going to war with one another …. being from England and living in France normally, I was unprepared for quite how bloody it has been. I won’t comment on either candidate publically. I just hope America doesn’t wake up full of regret on Wednesday as my own people did in June after their foolish Brexit vote. At the end of the month I journey back to Europe and will be in France throughout her own election madness …. I do hope they are not taking lessons from here!

  7. You forgot to mention your awesome beer! I’m no fan of Cheeto Jesus, and hope like hell he doesn’t get elected. I’ve visited Toronto twice, and have a friend from there. Your PM is hotter than snot, but I digress. I could work anywhere with my occupation, but I think we would flee somewhere warm. I live in Wisconsin, and the winters are not fun. Great post!

    • Mexico beckons! They have good beer too. I do love the new craft beer revolution occurring everywhere on the continent which has raised the beer bar considerably from Molson Canadian.

      • Actually I would go to Costa Rica if I had too. We just got back from there and Panama, and we loved it. It was our second trip to Costa Rica, and first trip to Panama. I’ve been to Mexico many times, and it doesn’t do anything for me anymore.

        • Another Costa Rica lover! There seem to be many people enjoying its delights these days. I visited Bermuda this year and think it would be a lovely place to run away to.

          • It was a great trip. We went for 10 days, and didn’t take our child. It was a first long trip without him. He doesn’t like hanging out with us anymore, so we didn’t mind that he didn’t go. Plus we saved a ton by not having that third person. Bermuda sounds like fun, we’ve been to the Bahamas and really enjoyed that.

  8. Ô Canada!
    Terre de nos aïeux,
    Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
    Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
    Il sait porter la croix!
    Ton histoire est une épopée
    Des plus brillants exploits.
    Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
    Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.
    Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

    I learned to sing this when I was eight years old. I can still sing it…all the words, in French, by heart. By age 13 I knew as much Canadian history as US history, as I attended a bilingual grammar school run by a Quebecois order of nuns, in the state of Maine.
    For some reason which is lost in the mists of time, my ancestors chose to leave Canada and come to the US. Now some from my country say they will reverse the process. I say good luck, and good riddance. Don’t worry, Susanne, eventually it will all be lost in the mists of time.

    • I think the Canadian anthem in French is positively lovely. I only learned it once my kids started school in Ontario. I came of age in the era of Trudeau I, when official bilingualism became the law. In the west where I went to school, Mr. Trudeau’s new law was not approved of and rebellion came in the form of refusal to teach us the anthem en francais. Here we sing it halfway in English and halfway in French and I can sing along w/out skipping a beat.

    • I am relieved to be north of the 49th these days. I suppose I was counting my blessings but I do have huge compassion for all in the south. We are all shaken by what goes on there and not in a good way like a strong martini.

"The river flows both ways." (Margaret Laurence)

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