Americans want to move to Canada if Trump wins

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It’s so American to abandon a problem they’ve caused

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. March 17, 2016

Whether it’s meant as fodder for comedy or as a legitimate survey, the American people sounded off. According to a poll conducted by Ipsos, 19 per cent of Americans said they would move to Canada if Donald Trump wins presidency, and 15 per cent would do the same if Hillary wins.

As a Canadian, I first thought this was a compliment, since we do call one of the most livable countries in the world home. Sure, we have our own problems, but compared to America’s, our issues seem so fixable.

Then, I thought a bit more about it, and realized it was not a compliment to Canada. If Americans idolized Canada, America would be like Canada. No, like an angsty teenager threatening to run away from home, Americans are doing the same when they are not getting what they want. Grow up, I say. The problem is not going to fix itself if you just run away from it. Time and time again, Americans are dealt a heavy lesson and seldom do they learn from it. Just watch the American news; it’s the same episode every day. It’s history repeating itself.

I digress. At this moment, less than one per cent of Canada is made up of American immigrants. That is an insignificant amount—and usually we see Canadians crossing the border south rather than the other way around.

Yes, perhaps the Americans feel like victims, but give me a break. Resorting to flight instead of fight is no way to solve a country-sized problem. If a country is your home and you feel passionately enough about the politics that govern it, you’d fight for what’s best.

Instead of trying to piggy back off of us Canadians, why don’t you try to learn from us? In 2015, we went through a pivotal election that ousted the Right Honourable—and backwards thinking—Stephen Harper from his seat as prime minister. During the campaign, the country was divided, but we banded together to do what’s best on Election Day. Some of us might have threatened to move to Switzerland or somewhere else if Harper won, but many took to the polls to vote, not necessarily for the candidate they believed in, but the candidate that would beat Harper’s Conservative party. It was strategic, and it worked.

Democracy is your right; however, welcoming yourself to someone else’s home is not. Americans, known for their arrogance and self-righteousness, often thinks that the whole world belongs to them. They think that Canada is their little brother, who, if their get-rich-fast plan falls through, will let them just crash at their place until they get their footing back.

It doesn’t surprise me that Americans would consider moving up north, but it would surprise me if they actually do. Like government, like citizens—if you talk the talk, then you better walk the walk.

Dear refugees from Vietnam

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My advice for new immigrants

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published for the 1976-themed issue of the Other Press. January 13, 2016

A few years ago, my mother’s side of the family emigrated to Canada, France, and the United States from their home country, which had been torn apart by the Vietnam War, in the hope of starting a new life. So here I am now. What my family went through must have been tumultuous and frightening. Hopefully they can put those experiences in the past.

The following is some advice I have to give to not just my family, but to all immigrants, from all over the world, because there is so much to learn in this new world.

Language: One of the first things I would tell them is how important proficiency in English is. It’s true that Canada is a multicultural country, but only in select parts of it. The majority of Canada is still predominantly English speaking. Having a strong command in English is the first step to getting work that isn’t in a kitchen or warehouse.

Owning property: Homeless to homeowner in a few years. It can happen. This is the country of opportunity. Get a job, save up, and buy property. Invest in the suburbs surrounding the urban core, where property prices are very reasonable for families. Canada loves immigrants, and our population will surely boom, thus increasing the value over time.

Travel: I don’t believe travel is a practice you learn in your latter years. I think it is the best form of education both personally and socially. I understand that being immigrants means that at one point they were put through an arduous trip, but traveling in all forms is an opportunity for growth. My family members are citizens of Canada now, but they could be citizens of the world (even though there is much to see in Canada).

Hobbies: In developing countries, hobbies are for survival. In the developed countries, hobbies are for survival too, but in a more personal way. In this new world, my family works, comes home, watches television, goes to sleep, and repeats those steps. They don’t have hobbies per se. My mom is a practicing Buddhist, so she is a part of some communities, but she doesn’t have any personal projects—except for raising me, I guess. I believe personal projects, be they reading books, building miniatures, learning to cook, or working on puzzles, are a substantial record of accomplishments. Finding an area of interest to focus on helps create an identity, not just for other people to view you, but how you view yourself.

Refugees, like my mom, are still finding homes and creating their lives in Canada. They walk among us every day. In this country, there is so much freedom, and I wouldn’t want any new citizen to squander it by living only to pay their bills.