After Brexit and Donald Trump, it seems like there are a lot of scary things going on in the world. But then there's Canada. Cyberspace has spoken. It thinks that we're pretty cool — and I'm not just talking about a mid-January morning in Ottawa.

Not even 24 hours have passed since the Brexit referendum, and Britons are already Googling how to emigrate and move to Canada — so much so that it’s surpassed Google searches on soccer star David Beckham, and searches on moving to other European countries such as Ireland, France and Germany.

Yes, that's right world, Canada is cooler than David Beckham. Sure, he might be married to a Spice Girl, but we've got Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. She does charities, she does parenting, she even does yoga!

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner, Ottawa
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau strikes a yoga pose during Ottawa press gallery dinner on June 4, 2016. Photo by The Canadian Press.

A run down of some of the best post-Brexit tweets so far:

https://twitter.com/wickedwixx/status/746234146771472385

Canada is, after all, “the only remotely sane place in the world as of now.” Sure, oil prices are down, and our dollar has sunk even lower post-Brexit, but we have a feminist prime minister who proudly claims that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian, low gun violence, legal physician-assisted suicide. And don’t forget the hockey, poutine and… I mean, Canada is awesome, and we’d be more than happy to have you! Yes, you too, U.S. citizens who fear a Trump presidency.

The U.K. vote was close. There were 51.9 per cent in favour and 48.1 against leaving the European Union. It reminds me about the drama we had in 1995 during the Quebec referendum on sovereignty. I imagine I had similar feelings to what some Britons had last night: nervousness, fear, hope that common sense would prevail (My Canada Includes Poutine!), and questions. Lots of questions about what would actually happen in a world where my Canada did not include la belle province. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the answers on Google back then.

The Brexit result is poignant in Canada today, June 24 — St. Jean Baptiste day, known as a national holiday in Quebec where (old stock?) Quebecers celebrate their Quebec history. Years ago, when I was a budding reporter at the Record in Sherbrooke, Que., I covered la fête nationale du Québec along with two white bilingual reporters and was asked where we were from. My two colleagues said "Montreal," but before I could answer, the 60ish-something French Quebecer declared to me, “You, you’re not from here!” No, I am not francophone, or from Quebec — is that what you meant? I’ve yet to spend another St. Jean in Quebec, even though I own property there and am proud of French Canada, so I don’t know if things have changed. Sorry Brits, some crazy still exists here.

But, where else could the prime minister put out a statement on respecting referendum results that will deeply divide a country that is also one of Canada’s key trading partners and minutes later praise a province that wanted to break up our country for its “vibrant history” and “the unique culture and identity of its people”? It’s far from opening old wounds, but this is why Canada works, and why, I believe, people want to move to our amazing country.

Of course, Trudeau might still have a bit of egg on his face since he sort of tried to give a boost to the "Remain" campaign, on the eve of the vote.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered some support to the "Remain" campaign prior to the Brexit vote. Video by Mike De Souza.

Side note: High five John Ivison for this Twitter exchange:

It’s very rich of Kenney to say that Britons chose hope over fear when his government was all about fear (Um, remember the barbaric cultural practices hotline? The niqab debate? C-51? Your government lost an election because you chose to scare and divide people).

Back to Brexit. I love that Prince Charles has a sense of humour:

Life outside the EU. Britons have made their choice, David Cameron is stepping down, and the negotiations for an EU exit will be underway. It remains to be seen what the full impact of this divisive vote will be. Meanwhile, the uptick in “how to move to Canada” searches will not necessarily result in waves of new immigrants from Britain, but, still, there is something to be proud of when we are the first on people’s list. Yes, I am #proudtobecanadian.

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Comments

Since I still have the accent of my place of birth, many people - including total strangers in random encounters - have been asking me what I think about the Brexit result. So here are some of my own thoughts.

The referendum was triggered by PM David Cameron two years ago as a way of asserting his authority over right-wing discontent within his own party. In other words, for purely personal/political reasons. He is now, as Hamlet would have it, "hoist with his own petar", which means blown up by his own bomb (the Israelis call these "industrial accidents" when they happen to Palestinian suicide bombers).

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/hoist-by-your-own-petard.html

As far as Cameron's own personal future goes, I sincerely hope he never gets any of the plushy corporate directorships that are usually reserved for former high-ranking politicians. For all I care, he can go on welfare as Permanently Unemployable, and if you think Canada's social benefits are bad then you have no idea know what has happened to them in the U.K. under Cameron's Conservatives.

Apparently there are lots of "morning-after" regrets now. The Scots and the Northern Irish and the Greater London area all voted Remain, and now they are saying "hey, no, not fair! We want a replay!" And you can hardly blame the EU for having a slightly different take:

Britain: Yes, I know, on Thursday I said I was resigning....
EU (interrupting): Yes you did, and I want your letter of resignation on my desk first thing Monday morning.
B: But I didn't really mean it! I must have been in one of my drunken stupors!
EU: In that case, never mind resigning; you're fired! Clean out your desk right away, otherwise everything goes in the dumpster. Everything!
B: But buh buh bwuh bwuh.... couldn't we still be best friends, with benefits...?
EU: [unprintable]

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/24/british-exit-eu-still-not-inevitable...

The dog-whistle politics of the vote was primarily fear about non-white migrants, of course, along with grey-haired (or no-haired) memories of Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, and fantasies of a golden age of a "Great Britain" that never really existed except on the backs of the former colonies. And given the demographics, in another ten years or maybe even five, I'm sure the results of the vote would have been quite different.

If all the efforts to counteract the referendum results fail, then it is goodbye, Great Britain, and hello, Little England.

There is also a lesson to be learned here about referenda in general, and more specifically when it comes to changing Canada's voting system. The Conservatives are arguing that there has to be a referendum on moving to PR. But would Canada's women, or Asians, or native people, have the vote today if it had to be decided by referendum? (Of course, only those eligible at the time would have been able to vote.) I have to say, probably not. Fortunately, most MPs were ahead of their constituents at each of those times, and voted accordingly.

On the other hand, Hitler was really big on referenda, using them in 1934, 1936 and 1938 to progressively strengthen his grip on power and allow him to claim that the people approved of Nazi policies...

http://metro.co.uk/2016/06/24/hitler-door-is-the-answer-to-all-your-refe...

If the Trudeau government makes sure inequality doesn't grow in Canada like it has in Britain under globalization and the Conservatives, we should be OK.

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