8.01.2007

number of americans moving to canada hits a 30-year high

From ABCNews.com:
O, Canada! More Americans Heading North
The Number of Americans Moving to Canada in 2006 Hit a 30-Year High


Blame Canada!

It may seem like a quiet country where not much happens besides ice hockey, curling and beer drinking. But our neighbor to the north is proving to be quite the draw for thousands of disgruntled Americans.

The number of U.S. citizens who moved to Canada last year hit a 30-year high, with a 20 percent increase over the previous year and almost double the number who moved in 2000.

In 2006, 10,942 Americans went to Canada, compared with 9,262 in 2005 and 5,828 in 2000, according to a survey by the Association for Canadian Studies.

Of course, those numbers are still outweighed by the number of Canadians going the other way. Yet, that imbalance is shrinking. Last year, 23,913 Canadians moved to the United States, a significant decrease from 29,930 in 2005.

"There has been a definite increase in the past five years — the number hasn't exceeded 10,000 since 1977," says Jack Jedwab, the association's executive director. "During the mid-70s, Canada admitted between 22,000 and 26,000 Americans a year, most of whom were draft dodgers from the Vietnam War."

The current increase appears to be fueled largely by social and political reasons, says Jedwab, based on anecdotal evidence.

"Those who are coming have the highest level of education — these aren't people who can't get a job in the states," he says. "They're coming because many of them don't like the politics, the Iraq War and the security situation in the U.S. By comparison, Canada is a tension-free place. People feel safer."

One recent immigrant is Tom Kertes, a 34-year-old labor organizer who moved from Seattle to Toronto in April.

Kertes attributes his motivation to President Bush's opposition to gay marriage, and the tactics employed during the war on terror since 9/11.

"I wanted a country that respected my human rights and the rights of others," he says. "We joked about it after Bush won re-election, but it took us a while to go through the application."

Kertes, who moved with his partner, is happy in his new home. "Canada is a really nice country. My mother is thinking about it. My stepfather has diabetes and has health issues. So, he'd be taken care of for free if he moved up here."

Not that Kertes doesn't get homesick every once in a while. "I have no intention of giving up my citizenship. I have an American flag at home on the wall — I didn't have that in Seattle. All of a sudden, I'm a nationalist. On the Fourth of July, I really missed being home."

Jo Davenport, who wrote "The Canadian Way," moved from Atlanta to Nova Scotia in December 2001. She also cites political reasons for her move, saying that she disagreed with the Bush administration's decisions after 9/11.

"Things are totally different here because they care about their people here," she says, explaining that she's only been back home once or twice.

We've all been wondering if our numbers would show up: are there enough progressive Americans moving to Canada to make a statistical dent? It would seem the answer is yes.

None of our moving-to-Canada extended family was featured in this story, although we all know Jo Davenport because of her book. I hope a story like this one helps more Americans see that moving to Canada may be an option.

Thanks to Redsock for the tip.

P.S. Read the comments at your own risk, but for goodness sake, don't bring them over here. Like much of what you see at mainstream news sites, they're a prime example of why we left.

7 comments:

Alex said...

As Americans who has moved to Canada, I think we need to make sure we refer to national healthcare rather than "free" healthcare. Republicans and other anti-healthcare reform people out there constantly use the word "free" as a weapon against reform. We know we pay for healthcare - we've just chosen to live in a country where all pay towards it so all can have access.

L-girl said...

Alex, I agree. I also use the more accurate expression "universal health insurance" rather than "socialized medicine". The implications of socialized anything are not what we have here - what we have is health insurance for all.

West End Bound said...

Glad to see the ABC News version of this story quoted our friend Jo Davenport.

Heeding your warning, I did venture into the Comments section. Makes one even more sure of the decision, doesn't it?

This one is typical, and had to bring the G-od thing into it, too:

God Bless Delta, NWA, US Air, Air Canada, AA! Once the whiners and bellyachers leave, we can get on with continuing to make the US the wonderful country it is!!

Counting down the days, counting down the days . . . .

L-girl said...

Read the comments at your own risk, but for goodness sake, don't bring them over here.

Please no more! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I read some of the comments. I came away feeling like if this is what my country has been reduced to, then I know I'm making the right decision. My hand remains firmly wrapped around the ejection handle, ready to pull it at the first opportunity.

If my countrymen are so stupid to embrace their corrupter, then there is no hope and it's time to give somewhere else a try. Likely, many of those people still support the Resident despite having lost their jobs, health insurance and retirements under this abomination, I mean administration.

They believe the USA is still TGNOTFOTE despite an entire litany of sins (extraordinary rendition, detention without trial or evidence, "enhanced interrogation techniques, Abu Ghraib) that have made it an international pariah and have a lot of people believing that it got what it deserved on September 11, 2001. The release of the CIA's "family jewels" confirmed what we knew to be true about the U.S. being a rogue state and international bully.

As I've said in this space before, I am fully aware that Canada is far from perfect and far from a utopian paradise. People flat-out suck no matter where you go. The difference, though, is that Canada has not been overrun by a rampant paranoia that renders its government's every decision immune from scrutiny.

And it doesn't have an obsession with being The Greatest Nation On The Face Of The Earth. From what I've seen, the Canadian attitude is, "you know, we have it pretty darn good here. But there's undoubtedly a lot of room for improvement. What can we do to improve our lot?"

By contrast, the American attitude seems anymore to be that criticism, even well-deserved, equals treason and a willingness for the "tur-rists" to win. This is not a country I recognize, not one whose many egregious transgressions I want to be a party to and not one I want to live in.

Guess this means Canada it is. Take a deep breath, submit piles of paperwork and hope for the best.

Scott M. said...

The rampant jingoism is amazing. Just amazing.

Nikolas said...

I like to think that 2007's numbers will be even higher, considering it takes on average 2 years to process American skilled worker applications. Mason and I were riding the wavefront just after the 04 elections, and we know there are a lot of people behind us :-)