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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Welcome to Canada...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I don't think these people signed the loyalty oath.  Photos from CNN

Canadaprotests1 Canadaprotests2

Posted at 04:02 PM in General | Technorati


SPeaking of Canada ... the CBC (Canadian broadcasting corporation) ran a story/town hall-style commentary on Americans movign to Canada, including the direct descendent of Francis Scott Key, interestingly. Well, there seems to be a lot more passing interest than people who will actually go thru the immigration process and find a job in the old country. As my wife and I were watching, we hit on an idea -- something I had thought about over a year ago but never took seriously.

You may have heard of the "free state project" aimed at getting libertarians to sign a pledge to mvoe to Now Hampshire (their final choice) within five years in an effort to decidedly reshape state politics ... well, what about movetoohio.org? With the goal of signing up 136,000 progressive folks to relocate to Ohio in the next four years -- people who are mobile, who are looking for a career change, who recently graduated, who want to go back home, people who want to buy land or start a farm or whatever ... of course, I'd need to sell Ohio -- I've been to Dayton once and had a good impression. Surely there are good places to live in Ohio? Columbus was rated the best city for African-Americans and is revitalizing its downtown. I know Oberlin is somewhere in Ohio; that northweastern Ohio has a strong progressive history going back to the underground railroad; that there is some decent recreation on Lake Erie. Of course, we have to think about the big picture of keeping the midwest blue, not just getting folks to move to Ohio. And I'd hate to stir up a counter-movement -- the religious right may be more willing to relocate seeing as they are doing "God's work" and homeschool their kids ... but I don't think this is jsut a far-fetched idea. Any feedback??

Posted by: Marc at December 1, 2004 12:11 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

This does sound a little far-fetched unless you can convince people who have homes in two states to register in the state where the vote means most. The first thing that comes to mind are people who have retired and spend their winters in a warmer state... Like Florida! Let's make sure they're registered in Florida and not the place they live during the summers. Otherwise, look into convincing people who live in DC suburbs in Maryland to move to Virginia. Those exit polls that everyone talks about so much had VA up for grabs. A little more growth in the DC area and some people moving from MD could up VA up for grabs. I was going to mention NV and AR thinking that the neighboring states (where I think most people would come from) would not be effected, but that's probably a bit of a dream world to think these states could be swayed by getting a few thousand people to move in.

A more reasonable idea may be to go by a state-by-state basis and target the most balanced congressional districts and tell people to move into those. Redistricting will cause some headaches every ten years, but there are enough people (especially younger people) who move every couple of years.

Posted by: Dan Hogan at December 1, 2004 01:21 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's something to keep in the pot of ideas - Progressives moving to other states.

I wanted to make a comment about Canada.
I worked with an immigration officer (it cost $300) for months, about getting residency in Canada. They have a point system they use to determine your eligibility. Also, you cannot have a criminal record or any illness that would overburden thir healthcare system.
It IS NOT EASY GETTING INTO Canada. I tried evey which way but loose, and I still was short by 7 points. At this time I cannot become a resident of Canada. If I were to get married, I I could use some of my husband's points (or he mine) and could get in. They are a really great country. I was very impressed. I felt embarrassed to have to tell them how backward we are. Men and women are totally equal there. Some of the questions I asked were quite foreign to them.

Posted by: Pamela at December 1, 2004 04:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

As a Canadian/American dual citizen, I do have to ask, are the "blue" areas of America really that different from Canada? I think culturally there are some differences, as well as in things like the crime rate. Of course the government philosophy is far different, and 80% of them oppose the war in Iraq -- but so did 75% of Americans before the propaganda machine went into effect.

I am a bit saddened to hear my idea is indeed "far-fetched." If the Libertrians can do it, why can't progressives? There are so many people who are considering relocating -- for school, for quality of life, to buy land, whatever. I teach two students in my GRE class, both of whom picked up and moved from Boston to Fort Collins, CO, in part to go to school and change careers, in part for the quality of life. (inceidentally, our Republican representative won with only 51% of the vote). If we think about states like Oregon and Vermont, these are states whose political culture has hugely been changed by in-migration of progressive Americans over 20+ years. OK, I know you're saying, what does Ohio have to offer? Places like Colorado, North Carolina, etc. are attracting people already. And how could anyone intentionally convince people to move somewhere vs. the more informal nature of previous migrations.

5,000 Libertrians signed on to the Free State Project with the promise to move to New Hampshire within 5 years. I wonder how many will really follow through; and also how many were already headed there to begin with and so signed on.

Posted by: Marc at December 1, 2004 05:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I wish I knew. I live in a "purple" state, New Mexico (Yes, We ARE in the USA), so my perception may be a little off. I'm not even sure we know who won the election here. The recount starts next week.
As a dual citizen, YOU tell us. I'd like to hear your thoughts on Canada/USA difference. Do you spend more time in USA or Canada?
The differences I saw are:
They are One Nation, under Common Sense
We are One Nation, Under God
(To me that's our biggest problem)
Living under "common sense" means their System "works". As far as I know they don't spend their entire lifetimes arguing issues like abortion and women's rights etc, which is what the Neocons use "God" for.
Abortion is legal, that's that, case closed.
Women and men are equal and that's that. Case closed.
Everyone has healthcare. They're not idiots.
They require their citizens to be "responsible". Even children must work or go to school, or so I was told by my Immigration officer.
They are concerned only with FACTS, not FAITH.
Let me know if my perceptions are correct.

Posted by: Pamela at December 1, 2004 06:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well, Pamela, hope this is not too late as this thread is getting old but I'll tell you my impressions as somone who was born and lived in the US and has only been to Canada on trips from my alma matter in upstate New York ...

A big difference is Canada has few areas that compare to our "red" states. Why? I would guess no history of slavery, little history of fundamentalism, and when Canada was settled, it was felt that people should be settled in communities with police, schools, churches, government ... not pushed out to the frontier to fend for themselves and grab land. So most of Canada probably resembles our midwest, rural New England, urban areas, or west coast. When you look at it, the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal metros have 1/3 of the population; or the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have half the population. There is a fundametlaist party in the west of the country, as well as a more traditional "Progressive Conservative" party in the east, they recently merged but can't seem to get along. There's also a Social Democratic party that gets about 15% of the vote. So, government is generally in the hands of the center-left Liberals.

Canada has a low crime rate, a universal health care system that has its share of problems; generous unemployment benefits; and recently family leave. They didn't experience the frightening split of society that we had in the 60s around civil rights, Vietnam, bussing, urban riots -- although they did have the French-Anglo animosity to content with. They didn't subsidize highways or experience race riots, so the cities were never abandoned, giving them, as you said, a system that seems to work with public services and transit at a decent quality.

My parents moved from Montreal to Toronto at that time, and my dad remembers bars having two separate section, one for men and couples, one for women (about 1960?). I remember reading that Canadians viewed Americans as "having little respect for the law, and even less for the institution of marriage" -- Canadians, I think, tend to be more respectful of each other and of society and this has translated from traditional cosnervative values into today's progressive values.

Canada has embraced multi-culturalism as a national policy; this stems in part from the French/Anglo divide and in part from the country's reliance on immigration to maintain their sparesely-populated nation. But make no mistake: Canada rates immigrants on a point system that gives preference to youngish professional/technical people with knowledge of French or English (and considers family ties).

Generally, I think Canadians are moderate, reasonable, and tend to fall in the political center -- that center being about where the middle of our Democratic party is.

Perhaps having four or more parties to choose from, and not having much fundamentalism (more Christmans and Easter Christians there) and the deep racial divides we've had (have?) lead to a more harmonious society where, as you said, people don't waste their time having arguments about social & identity issues.

I wish we were more like Canada. But I can't just blame our right wing. Imagine the reaction on the left, for example, if I suggested we should adopt a point system for immigration; or we should come to a compromise on when abortion is legal; or the problems of urban areas are economic, not racial? I would be called a "racist" and a a chauvanist. This kind of shrill rhetoric is not a common in Canada.

I'll let you draw your own conclusions how much areas like the upper midwest, New England, or the Pacific Northwest resemble Canada.

Posted by: Marc at December 4, 2004 02:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment