ONE OF THE MORE IRRITATING PHRASES THAT pops up every time there’s a US Presidential election is, “I’m going to move to Canada if (insert candidate name here) wins.” There are a lot of reasons its annoying: when conservatives say it, it displays a stunning ignorance of Canada’s more left-leaning politics, and when liberals say it, it displays the type of cowardice that conservatives so often accuse us of, and also an ignorance of Canada’s own history of human rights abuses, environmental destruction, and embarrassing politicians. As I’ve written before, Americans really need to stop making this idle threat.
But for many Americans, the specter of a Donald Trump presidency coupled with the rise of Canada’s new dreamboat progressive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has made the idea of moving to Canada less of an idle threat and more of a real-world possibility. Already, Americans have crashed Canada’s immigration website after large Trump victories.
And now, there’s a dating website called MapleMatch which includes this text on their homepage: “Maple Match makes it easy for Americans to find the ideal Canadian partner to save them from the unfathomable horror of a Trump presidency.”
The site has yet to launch, but is allowing users to sign up for a waiting list. And instead of an “Apply” button, they have this:
The idea is simple: you meet a Canadian. You fall in love. You move there before the United States collapses under Emperor Trump. MapleMatch was originally started as a kind of joke, founder and CEO Joe Goldman told Tech Times:
“Maple Match started as a fun idea about Americans and Canadians connecting during the admittedly disturbing possibility of a Donald Trump presidency. However, over the past few days we have seen countless Americans and Canadians tell us about the frustration they’ve experienced with current dating platforms. After more than 35,000 hits and more than 4,500 signups in just 4 days, we are confident that Maple Match will fulfill a clear need in the dating space.”
The idea is a fun one, but as Dara Lind over at Vox points out, the Canadian immigration system, unlike the US system, does not prioritize family reunification when it comes to granting visas. Instead, it prioritizes economic visas. So you’ve got a better chance of getting a Canadian visa if you’ve got a job lined up (you also need a four-year degree and around $9,200 in cash savings in order to qualify for “Express Entry”).
And there’s good news on that front: there are companies like Sortable that are targeting Americans who may kinda sorta want to get the hell out of dodge.
Even then, though, you’re not guaranteed a visa. Trudeau — that progressive dreamboat PM — has committed to accepting more Syrian refugees, and in order to accommodate this increase, Canada is lowering its number of economic visas. And let’s be really honest: even under Trump, Syrian refugees would deserve relief infinitely more than you.
This doesn’t mean you can’t eventually gain Canadian citizenship by marrying a Canadian. There’s just no special path for spouses of Canadians. Your spouse first has to apply to become a sponsor, and then has to sponsor your permanent residency. After that, you will have to spend about four years in the country before you can apply for citizenship. And all of this assumes that MapleMatch will hook you up with someone who you’re enough in love with to marry by inauguration time in January of 2017.
Justin Trudeau isn’t worried about a sudden onslaught of American immigrants, though. In an interview with Liz Plank of Vox, he said that it was pretty common for Americans to say they were moving to Canada in election years. But once the election happens, there’s usually not a noticeable spike in immigration.
“People are realizing,” Trudeau said, “That this election does matter. And they have strong opinions, and people who might not have thought about voting are now going to make sure their voices get heard. And they’re going to make sure that the government that gets elected in the United States reflects their values and their priorities. And that’s what democracy is supposed to be about.”
At the end of the day, Americans should not be planning on moving to Canada, but should instead by working to beat Trump, and to make the US into a better place. But it’s hard not to notice the contrast between Canada and the US in this case. While Trump and his cronies are calling for a border wall and a banning of Muslims coming into the US, the Canadian PM is welcoming refugees with open arms. Canadian companies are welcoming immigrant employees. And Canadian dating sites are trying to entice us to come fall in love in the Great White North. Hopefully, Americans will resist the Canadian siren song, and instead will see welcoming, friendly Canada as a role model for what could be built here.