Some ground rules for U.S. refugees fleeing to Canada

Stay calm, be polite and remember, the terms “illegal,” “alien” or “undesirable” in Canada simply refer to a friend we haven’t processed yet



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NEW YORK March 6, 2016/ Troy Media/ – Oh, so NOW they notice that we exist.

The New York Post is urging Americans to flee to Canada in the event of a Trump victory. Before anyone gets too excited about a wave of illegal immigrants flooding into our country from a porous southern border – oh, does that feel satisfying to write – it should be remembered that the New York Post is a tabloid newspaper that delights in provoking, shocking, enraging and otherwise entertaining its readers.

Therefore, the call for a mass Yankee exodus probably merits being taken with a grain of salt. But, hold on, CNN did send a reporter to Cape Breton to check out the lay of the land. Even the Globe and Mail reports that Canadian immigration lawyers are getting calls from Americans.

Yes, the Globe and Mail said it. It must be real!

Actor Alec Baldwin once said he would abandon the U.S. for Canada in the event of a George W. Bush victory in 2000. Bush won and Alec stayed put. Surprise, surprise, celebrities are not known for following through on their tantrums.

Of course, Canada was recently graced with an American celebrity who actually did seek haven in the Great White North. But actor Randy Quaid may have been more loony than our loonie so it would be unfair to view him as a legitimate test case or one-man advance team.

Still, this predictable U.S. quadrennial contemplation of flight is different from all the other previous vows of relocation. This time, it is expected that ordinary citizens – i.e. people not as hygienic, intelligent or gorgeous as Alec – will contemplate it.

It does make me wonder what would happen if there ever were a mass migration North. Some ground rules would need to be set:

  1. No pushing and shoving at the border – it’s unCanadian. No kidding. If you ignore this rule, we’ll form a Parliamentary committee and that’s not a bluff.
  2. If you are pushed or shoved, please say “sorry” and offer the rude person a key to your house or apartment.
  3. Please declare all exotic birds, weird fruit and semi-automatic weapons. (Handguns too, eh!). If it’s not too much trouble, we’d like to hang on to those. Please see your welcome brochure for the name of your designated Mountie. It’s probably Bob but best to be sure.

The Yankee refugees would also need language lessons and cultural primers to ease the transition. Nary a one of them would understand the invitation to “put on a toque and come ride my toboggan!” In fact, such a solicitation would probably result in a misunderstanding of purpose or desire which would make us glad we did ask them to surrender their firearms.

The initial wave after the inauguration of President Trump would be challenging. Given our recent ‘let’s pat ourselves on the back experience’ with Syrian refugees, it’s OK to think of paperwork as optional – a ‘nice to have but OK if you don’t’ bugaboo.

It would also be important to emphasize that the pejorative terms “illegal,” “alien” or “undesirable” don’t really fly in Canada. We prefer to think of everyone as simply a friend we haven’t processed yet.

When deciding on relocation, it would be best to make things relatable to their experience. Just tell them that Vancouver and Toronto are the Canadian San Francisco and New York in terms of affordability. Then tell them to pronounce Toronto without the second T as Ben Affleck did in Argo when schooling American hostages how to pass as Canadian.

But what if they all congregated in one place? I mean, besides Calgary. What would their enclave look like? Would it be a Shangri-La with freedom hedges and liberty lawns or quickly degenerate into a post-apocalyptic Mad Max hellhole with toddlers carrying machine guns and yelling ‘fire in the hole!’ with disturbing frequency?

Now that I think more about it, I’m getting a bit nervous.

Oh, screw it, let’s just build a wall.

Troy Media columnist Gavin MacFadyen is a Canadian writer and lawyer living in New York state. Gavin is also included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.

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