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!
A run down of some of the best post-Brexit tweets so far:
me: [moving to Canada] is a little more complicated than just buying a plane ticket— spicy daddy (@wickedwixx) June 24, 2016
Hellion: yeah, you need flannel
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.
brb moving to Canada, the only remotely sane place in the world as of now— Refraction (@RefractionPlays) June 24, 2016
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.
Side note: High five John Ivison for this Twitter exchange:
You reject Trump but applaud the same dog-whistle racism propounded by Farage and his fellow anti-establishment travellers.— John Ivison (@IvisonJ) June 24, 2016
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:
Text from Mr Cameron: “I can’t live, if living is without EU”.— Prince Charles (@Charles_HRH) June 23, 2016
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.