I have a free ticket out of Trump’s America, but I’m not leaving

Canada takes the gold.
Canada takes the gold.
Image: Reuters/Chris Wattie
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I have a free ticket out of Trump’s America. I was born and raised in Canada, and moved to the US (where I’m also a citizen) eight years ago. This morning, I woke up to consoling messages from friends and family back home. “You have options,” and “We’ll take you back.”

I love Canada. I am genuinely afraid of a Donald Trump presidency. But I’m not leaving.

Threatening to move to Canada has become a strange American tradition at this point. A lot of liberals threatened to self-deport in 2000 and 2004 although few actually followed through. This year the pledge seems to be more intense. As the election polls came in on Tuesday night, ‘Moving to Canada’ surged on Google, and Canada’s immigration website reportedly crashed under the weight of traffic.

Broadly speaking there are two camps here; those who would make the move as a symbolic gesture, the “I don’t want to live in a country that votes for someone like Donald Trump,” people, and those who believe their quality of life will improve north of the border.

I naturally sympathize with the latter. There are some convincing reasons why life, for me and my family might be better in Canada. It’s safer there. Its infrastructure and schools are better. Health care is free for everyone. Our prime minister is a hunk who greets Syrian refugees at the airport. People are generally happier and less stressed. That said, Canada is also a divided countries in a lot of ways, and we do elect some pretty bad, even awful leaders too. Still, the things that make Canada great won’t be impacted, and might even get better under a Trump presidency.  

But there are lots of ways I can’t escape Trump. From cars to lumber to oil, it’s hard to underplay just how much of Canada’s economy depends on its largest trading partner. When Trump calls NAFTA the worst trade deal in history, it threatens to upend Canada’s economy, jobs and wages. When Trump says NATO countries need to be paying more for protection, he’s also talking about Canada. In other words, the uncertainty and instability of a Trump presidency is likely to affect the whole world.

As for the symbolic gesture. I get it. I’m angry right now, and just saying I’m going to move back to Canada is cathartic in some ways. But doing it won’t make that anger go away. And given how much is at stake, not just for America, but for the whole world, it just doesn’t make sense to ride it out on the sidelines.

If you are serious about moving to Canada, it is a wonderful country, you will love it. Here are a bunch of jobs that make it easier to get a visa. I’m going to stay and hope—even strive—for the best. No ticket is truly free.