Oh Canada, save me from Bush
Canadian flags not chosen
Some in U.S. voting with their feet
By Rick Lyman The New York Times
Monday, February 7, 2005
VANCOUVER, British Columbia Christopher Key knows exactly what he would be giving up if he left Bellingham, Washington.
"It's the sort of place Norman Rockwell would paint, where everyone watches out for everyone else and we have block parties every year," said Key, a 56-year-old Vietnam War veteran and former magazine editor who lists Francis Scott Key, who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," among his ancestors.
But leave it he intends to do, and as soon as he can. His house is on the market, and he is busily seeking work across the border in Canada. For him, the re-election of George W. Bush was the last straw.
"I love the United States," he said as he stood on the Vancouver waterfront, staring toward the Coastal Range, which was lost in a gray shroud. "I fought for it in Vietnam. It's a wrenching decision to think about leaving. But America is turning into a country very different from the one I grew up believing in."
In the Niagara of liberal angst just after Bush's victory on Nov. 2, the Canadian government's immigration Web site reported a surge in inquiries from the United States, to about 115,000 a day from 20,000.
"We're still not talking about a huge movement of people," said David Cohen, an immigration lawyer in Montreal. "In 2003, the last year where full statistics are available, there were something like 6,000 U.S. citizens who received permanent resident status in Canada. So even if we do go up threefold this year, we're only talking about 18,000 people."
Still, that is more than double the population of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "For every one who reacts to the Bush victory by moving to a new country, how many others are there still in America, feeling similarly disaffected but not quite willing to take such a drastic step?" Cohen asked.
Melanie Redman, 30, assistant director of the Epilepsy Foundation in Seattle, said she had put her Volvo up for sale and hopes to be living in Toronto by the summer. She and her Canadian boyfriend, a Web site designer for Canadian nonprofit companies, had been planning to move to New York, but after Nov.2, they decided on Canada instead.
"I'm doing it," she said. "I don't want to participate in what this administration is doing here and around the world. Under Bush, the U.S. seems to be leading the pack as the world spirals down."
Redman intends to apply for a conjugal visa, which can be easier to get than the skilled worker visa that most Americans require. To do so, she must prove she and her boyfriend have had a relationship for at least a year, so she has collected supporting paperwork, like love letters, to present to the Canadian government.
"I'm originally from a poor, lead-mining town in Missouri, and I know a lot of the people there don't understand why I'm doing this," she said. "Even my family is pretty disappointed. And the fact is, it makes me pretty sad, too. But I just can't bear to pay taxes in the United States right now."
Compared with the other potential immigrants interviewed, Redman was far along in planning.
Mike Aves, 40, a financial planner in Palm Beach, Florida, where he has been active in the Young Democrats, said he was finding it almost impossible from that distance to land a job in Canada. "I've told my wife, I'd be willing to take a step down, socioeconomically, to move from white-collar work to a blue-collar job, if it would get us to Canada," he said.....................
What people don't get is that they are leaving their entire support network behind for basically selfish reasons. Now Canada's a nice country, but the fight is in the US. If you want to beat Bush, you have to do it here. Running is just that.
posted by Steve @ 5:07:00 AM