Be prepared to trade Monday Night Football for the Hockey Night on Saturday. Be ready to stop drinking beers with under six percent alcohol. Trade in the bald eagle for the beaver. And don’t forget to bring your metric system conversion chart.
It’s time to go to Canada. And not just for a night of heavy under-age drinking, but for forever .
With the re-election of George W. Bush just over two weeks ago, and Republicans gaining control over all three branches of government, many disillusioned liberals are looking to the “Great White North” as a possible new home. In fact, on November 3, Canada’s immigration Web site received six times the number of hits as usual. But how can Americans survive in a country of which they know so little?
Most Americans recognize Canada for its hockey, beer and the eskimos, but I quickly discovered that Canada is a country with quite a history of its own.
Located somewhere about 120 miles north of Buffalo, NY., Canada is, according to economics major and Canadian, Dan Sweet, “a country with a government and laws that are completely distinct from those of the United States.”
Surprisingly enough, it has a system of taxation, healthcare, a military and a system of periodic elections to select its leaders. It even has its own complex financial system revolving around “Canadian dollars,” which aren’t worth quite as much as real dollars, but can be used in exchange for such integral Canadian goods as ice and Canadian bacon. Don’t toss around those “big quarters” either; they are actually loonies and toonies worth $1 and $2 respectively.
[leaf] What also came as a surprise was that the capital of Canada is not Toronto, but Ottawa. It is located in what is called the “province” of Ontario. A “province” is a kind of political subdivision that is almost as good as a state. In all, there are 13 Canadian provinces and territories, including one, Nunavut, that is completely controlled by Inuits. Nunavut accounts for almost one-fifth of the Canada’s land area. What a concept- letting natives live freely and govern themselves- how strange.
Despite that oddity, engineering major and Canadian, Thomas Keller, said there isn’t much provincial about the Canadian provinces. In fact, Canada has all of the makings for a modern-day nation.
“Well, we have television, the radio, CDs, and I think we even have the internet now,” Keller said. “We also have the CBC, which provides us with the best programming one would expect from a government-funded and financially strapped institution. We also have these ‘Canadian content’ laws that mandate that a certain percentage of our programming be uniquely Canadian. This was instituted to keep Alanis Morissette’s career afloat.”
If you’re a linguistic liberal, Canada definitely has the United States beat in the area of languages. In Canada, people speak English and French. Whoa. The Canadian Prime Minister (kind of like a president) Paul Martin said in a recent speech that: “French is the primary language in some parts of our nation, English in others. This national question has divided our nation deeply, even causing Quebec to threaten to leave the union.” Threatening to leave a nation because they didn’t get their way? Perhaps we have more in common than we thought!
The seriously disengaged American may want to consider becoming a Canadian citizen as soon as possible. Some of the fastest options are marrying a Canadian or obtaining a visa. Sites like www.marryanamerican.ca, the satirical site ran by This Magazine, Canada’s alternative political and pop culture read, have sprung up to make meeting a Canadian lover much easier. The site lets “single, sexy, American liberals –already a dying breed” post profiles for some Northern nookie. For those not interested in matrimony, visit www.immigration.ca for information on getting a visa.
However, Americans seeking political refuge should not necessarily expect a warm welcome after coming through customs. Sweet said that some Canadians hold a strong grudge against their neighbors from the south, and they are not just political.
“They refuse to acknowledge the enormous cultural impact of great Canadians like Jim Carrey and Howie Mandel,” Sweet noted. “And for some reason, any time someone mentions the city ‘Regina,’ [pronounced Regyna] Americans will not stop giggling.”
But tensions run much deeper between the two North American nations. Canadians are terribly upset at the United States for taking many of their National Hockey League teams and causing the increase in salary among hockey players. This has left owners no recourse but to lock-out the players, keeping them off the ice for the entire season thus far and leaving many Canadians bored and lonely.
“It’s a part of our blood, it’s a part of our heritage, and the Americans have bastardized it,” Keller said. It is apparently so important to Canadians that it is their “national sport,” along with lacrosse.
Despite these problems, Keller remains optimistic about the future of his homeland.
“Canada will be a free, strong and proud country for years to come. We will be a place of equality, peace and justice and an example for the rest of the world.”
Isn’t that cute? Well, Americans looking to escape the Bush regime may find comfort in knowing that such a great nation lies just to its north. The thought of leaving the States may be a reality for some progressives, or just comic relief for others. Whether you’re a part of the Anybody but Bush camp crossing the border in droves or waiting it out here, raise your Molson (or Moosehead or Labatt’s) and join in a rousing chorus of the Canadian national anthem. “Oh Canada, our hmm and hmm hmm hmm..”

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