Shut Up About Moving to Canada

Just stop it. It’s not that we don’t want you to go, but we don’t want to get all excited about the idea and then find out you aren’t really serious. (Remember, Alec Baldwin promised to leave the country eight years ago if George Bush was re-elected and yet…he’s still here, much to the dismay of paparazzi everywhere.)
And it’s not as if you know what you’re talking about. Have you ever been to Canada? Can you name Canada’s Prime Minister? Do you know what national holiday was celebrated in Canada on July 1st?
Do you even know a Canadian?
Thought so.
If you’ve been ranting about moving—and let’s face it, no one discusses the issue in calm, rational tones—you might need a bit of a reality check.
First of all—and this will probably be a shocker for those of you who think you’re God’s gift to the universe—Canada doesn’t want you. They really don’t. A lot of Canadians are quite tired of Americans who think Canada is the 51st state. And by the way, Canadians are Americans too, since they share this continent of ours called North America.

Canadians are tired of watching American television shows. (Characters can swear on Canadian television shows and they have diverse casts—by government mandate—so all those American shows with the token black guy or B.D. Wong in them just look super lame.)

They’re tired of listening to American music and reading books by American crime writers when they have perfectly good artists, musicians and writers of their own. (Quick, name two Canadian singers who aren’t Bryan Adams or Gordon Lightfoot; name one Canadian crime writer who isn’t Louise Penny.)

And here are some other things to consider:

1.      They’re really serious about that knowing French thing. Even if you want to live in what’s known as Anglophone Canada—Vancouver, say or Toronto—you have to prove you can speak French if you want to live there. There’s some wiggle room on proficiency levels, but if you really mean to go, you need to go buy Rosetta Stone now.

2.     You have to pass a physical to immigrate to Canada. A number of the people who are threatening to leave the country (please, do us a favor) have expressed their desire to move because the idea of universal health care is distasteful to them. News flash: Canada has universal health care and they don’t want you bringing your pre-existing conditions across the border.

3.     Canada uses the metric system, and not just in ads for foreign sports cars. Sure, you know what two liters looks like because you drink soda by the gallon, but do you have any idea what a millimeter of rain or a centimeter of snow looks like? And by the way, in Canada they measure temperature in Celsius not Fahrenheit.

4.     The sales tax in Canada (there are three different types) is really high. The highest sales tax rate in the U.S. is 9.4 percent in Tennessee. In Toronto, as of 2010, sales tax (a combination of several different kinds of taxes) was 13 percent.

5.     The U.S. and Canada share some history but it’s not necessarily the same history. Remember learning about Generals Montcalm and Wolfe in the French and Indian War (called “The Seven Years War” in Canada)? You don’t remember? You can look it up here. Anyway, American history teachers root for one general; Canadian history favors the other side.

So, if you’re one of the people swearing that you’re about to uproot your whole existence for an expat life up north—bonne chance and good luck to you. But I won’t believe you until you send me a postcard from Owen Sound.