Rats! Aaaugh! And good grief! The much-loved American comic, TV, and movie franchise, Charles M. Schulz’s the Peanuts, is no longer American.
Iconix Brand Group, a licensing firm in New York, sold its 80 percent stake in the Peanuts brand rights to DHX Media of Halifax, Nova Scotia, in a deal worth $345 million on May 10.
North of the border, the mood is brighter.
Michael Donovan, CEO of DHX, told reporters that Canada is the “logical” home for Charlie Brown and the gang because hockey is so central to their story. Over the years, the quintessentially suburban kids have passed the puck around on countless occasions, and Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy has radiated a zen-like aura while driving his Zamboni. (Schulz was a hockey nut who built an indoor ice rink in his California home and adored the Canadian hockey legend Gordie Howe.)
We think there’s more at stake here. Maybe the comic’s anti-hero, Charlie Brown, or his philosophical friend Linus, has realized that their gentle, self-humbling, optimistic version of the American dream now lives in Canada?
Does Brown, the perennial sad sack whose life decisions constantly backfire, feel out of place in winners-vs.-losers dynamic that US president Donald Trump has trumpeted?
Recent data demonstrate that Canada now scores higher than the US on every aspect of the American success story, including home ownership and college graduation rates.
And although income inequality in Canada is only slightly less severe than in the US, intergenerational income mobility is far higher: Canadians are much more likely to earn more than their parents.
Perhaps more importantly, the generous spirit of the American Dream is better reflected in Canada’s refugee policies (as evidenced by refugees naming their babies Justin, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau). And Canada’s social safety net recognizes that anyone could become a “loser” at some point in life—and like the Peanuts characters, it offers a helping hand in those moments.
In Canada, those visits to Lucy van Pelt’s therapy booth for some mental health care are going to be more affordable. (Admittedly, public health care coverage in Canada needs some shoring up, but universal coverage provides a peace of mind that’s lacking in the US, where the dumpster fire called Trumpcare may burn for years.)
Finally, as Trump puts climate change deniers in influential positions and the New York Times has added one to its op ed page, Charlie and his friends may feel more secure on colder, northern ground, where actual frozen ponds and outdoor rinks are more plentiful.