Argument

An expert's point of view on a current event.

Texas of the North

Hey, Republicans: Feeling like outcasts after Obama's re-election? Come on up to Canada!

JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

So Obama won himself another election, eh? Another four years of that guy and his warm and fuzzy rhetoric -- it's enough to throw any honest-to-goodness flag-waving patriot into a fit of dry heaves. I mean, what is a person who loves God and corporation supposed to do for the next one thousand four hundred and sixty days?

The panic among Republicans -- or as I like to call them, Real Americans -- is palpable. People with traditional values are worried -- legalized pot on the horizon, gay marriage, death panels. It's like Cuba. The NRA is up in arms -- so to speak -- over the Second Amendment, tweeting its concern about what a second Obama term might mean for gun owners (so cute). Gun sales are soaring.

Truthfully, I hate to see my American cousins so fearful. The prospect of losing one's traditional power is a scary one. A "coalition of minorities" is enough to keep anyone up at night. Despite the fact that, to me, the key difference between Democrats and Republicans is the PR, I don't misunderestimate the sheer wild-eyed terror the Nobama crowd feels.

So Obama won himself another election, eh? Another four years of that guy and his warm and fuzzy rhetoric — it’s enough to throw any honest-to-goodness flag-waving patriot into a fit of dry heaves. I mean, what is a person who loves God and corporation supposed to do for the next one thousand four hundred and sixty days?

The panic among Republicans — or as I like to call them, Real Americans — is palpable. People with traditional values are worried — legalized pot on the horizon, gay marriage, death panels. It’s like Cuba. The NRA is up in arms — so to speak — over the Second Amendment, tweeting its concern about what a second Obama term might mean for gun owners (so cute). Gun sales are soaring.

Truthfully, I hate to see my American cousins so fearful. The prospect of losing one’s traditional power is a scary one. A "coalition of minorities" is enough to keep anyone up at night. Despite the fact that, to me, the key difference between Democrats and Republicans is the PR, I don’t misunderestimate the sheer wild-eyed terror the Nobama crowd feels.

But fret not. As a Canadian, I feel it’s my duty to help. OK, because I’m Canadian, I feel it’s my duty to help. We’re just like that. And I have a solution: Republicans, come to the Great White North.

Now, I know there’s a stereotype about Canada that our southern neighbors have bought into — that our strong banking regulations and universal health care and small military make Canada a socialist wonderland. But I’m here to say that Canada has much to offer fleeing Repub — er, Real Americans.

There’s a lot here that would be familiar to an American looking to relocate. We have the northern version of a variety of American institutions. For starters, we have Hollywood North, which is just like your Hollywood except it’s smaller, colder, more polite, and not on the west coast. OK, Toronto is nothing like Hollywood but a lot of your movies are made here — Toronto has led a double life as both New York and Chicago. Heck, it’s even been cast as the City With No Name — standing in for the never-named cities in great American cinema (Bride of Chucky, anyone?).

We also have Harvard North. It doesn’t really matter that the University of Toronto is not much like Harvard but, you know, it makes it easier to help our American friends understand that we have some pretty good book learnin’ up here too. Harvard North is much cheaper to attend than Real Harvard, and it has a great faculty lounge. And, oh, not to brag too much, but when Americans want to film at Harvard South or MIT but can’t get permission (or can’t afford it), then guess who comes to the rescue? That’s right. You’re welcome.

We even used to have a Guantánamo North up here. It would have been a nice reminder of home for tough-on-terror Republicans-on-the-run, but it was quietly shut down last winter. Sorry. But on the bright side, it wasn’t so much that Canada was ashamed of the profound disregard for individual civil liberties that led to the shutdown, it was just too darned costly to run. Fiscal restraint FTW!

And for the more reproductively conservative, don’t worry, we have something for you too! Sure, abortion’s been legal in this country for decades, and there’s been a general not-minding-that-women-have-control-of their-own-bodies, but Canada now too has its very own burgeoning Let’s Get Into Women’s Uteruses movement! With attempts to reopen the discussion in Parliament despite our prime minister (he’s like a king but with slightly more accountability) saying "no way, eh," there’s hope that women could lose some basic control over their reproductive plans. Republicans, it’s just like back home.

Oh, and just for good measure, our government also hates Iran.

But just where in this Republican haven should fleeing Americans settle? Toronto is, of course, a world-class city — it’s not fake New York for nothin’ — but there are a lot of gay people here going around getting married and living their lives, running for public office, and just generally being human. So that might be a problem.

Montreal is nice, but it’s in Quebec and, you know, The French. Vancouver has its own Real Housewives franchise and I’m told there’s nothing a Republican likes better than a housewife, but all that rain will remind you of Seattle. And who wants to be reminded of Seattle?

But there is one place a person running from the specter of Obama’s socialism could go: Alberta! You probably didn’t know it, but Canada has a Texas North too! Alberta’s got oil! It’s got the Calgary Stampede, replete with cowboy hats and chuckwagon races and chaps! Alberta’s got a booming economy with oil and gas developers having a disproportionate say in what happens! And it’s the epicenter of Canada’s conservative politics, with its outer extremes of Zionist evangelicals and teeny, tiny government libertarians.

OK, sure, the mayor of Calgary is a Muslim and the mayor of the second-largest city, Edmonton, is Jewish, and the premier of the province is a woman, but don’t let that fool you. When an Albertan speaks, apparently it’s with a Texas twang.

In fact, Alberta is so beloved by our current Conservative administration that our very own Stephen Harper, in the days before he became our prime minister, advocated building a protective "firewall" around Alberta to keep big government out. That’s so Texas.

And, if at the end of the day, even Alberta’s conservatism proves to be not enough, one can simply go to the province’s northernmost point. It’s not far from Alaska. Maybe you can spot Sarah Palin from your house.

For more information about Canada, check out our citizenship and immigration website. Or just look at the FAQ at www.timhortons.com.

Naheed Mustafa is a freelance writer and broadcaster. She lives in Toronto.

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