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Thinking of moving to Canada after the election? Better read this article first

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“I swear to God if INSERT CANDIDATE NAME HERE wins the election, I’m moving to Canada!”
Admit it, we’ve all said it at some point. Maybe you’ve even meant it. But the evidence shows that you’ll change your mind before you get that Maple Leaf tattoo. Only around 8,500 Americans become Canadians every year — and there’s a reason the number is so low.
Here’s the reason: Canada doesn’t want your hoser ass anywhere near its border.
I’ve been so appalled by the specter of a Trump presidency, that I started investigating how I and my fellow political refugees could gain legal access to the Great White North. And, apparently, I’m not alone. According to Google Trends, the search term “How to move to Canada” is quite active right now.
Graham: Trump, Clinton so unappealing I want to move to Canada
Most of the time, it’s quiet. But it jumped a bit after George W. Bush won re-election over John Kerry in 2004, and it spiked like crazy in late February and early March of this year — right about the time when the Trump steamroller started claiming its first victims (looking at you, Jeb Bush).
So Americans are once again thinking about trading their baseball gloves for curling brooms. But there’s one problem: Canada has already built Donald Trump’s wall.
“(Americans) are moving from the ‘why’ to the ‘how’ with regard to Canadian immigration,” the Canadian government admits before cautioning, “It is not just a case of loading up the car, driving north, and finding a job right away in a safe neighborhood.”
Obviously, I was offended on many levels: First of all, if you live in Detroit, the road to Canada is actually south. Second of all, the Ottawa jerks spelled “neighborhood” in their fancy monarchical way just to stick it to us!
And the biggest offense: Americans can’t just move to Canada!
“Our system is similar to yours,” Toronto-based immigration lawyer Michael Niren told me. “You may have a desire to come, but you might not be qualified.”
Qualified? I’ll remind you: I’m American! Isn’t that enough?
Apparently not. Canada, it seems, has a lot of hoops (though they may spell them “hoopes”) through which Americans need to jump.
Step 1: The assessment
The first hurdle (or, as I think Canadians call it, “whackette”) is taking the official Canadian immigration qualification questionnaire. Be careful, because one wrong answer could put you out in the cold for getting into the cold.
“What is your main reason to want to come to Canada?” the first question asked. The choices were: “Find a permanent job in Canada,” “join my family in Canada,” “start or invest in a business,” “work for myself as a farmer, sportsperson or artist” and “find a job as a caregiver.”
Given my prior work off-, off-, off-Broadway, I selected “artist.” This was a bad choice because after I answered the easy questions — like whether I would live in New Brunswick or Manitoba (which I gathered from my old hockey cards are part of Canada) — the questionnaire started getting personal:
What is your net worth? (Um, you need some “worth” for there to be some “net” amount of it, right?)
Do you plan to operate a farm? (Um, well not right away, silly. You need cows first!)
Do you have a letter of support for a start-up venture from a Canadian designated entity (angel investor group, venture capital fund or business incubator)? (Um, I couldn’t even get Lin-Manuel Miranda to retweet about my hit show, and now I’m supposed to get an “angel” investor?)
Then it gets weird: “Are you willing to invest at least $2,000,000 into Canada's economy?” (Um, sure! But can you give me $1,999,900 first?)
I did the best I could, but still got this warning message: “Based on your answers, it appears that you are not eligible to immigrate to Canada.” As my draft-dodging uncle might say, “Bummer, eh?”
Step 2: Change your answers
Like any good American or Tinder user, I offered different answers to make myself more attractive. This time, I said I wanted to come to Canada to find a job — and sure enough, I was told, “You might be eligible for Express Entry, which includes … the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.”
Canada's dreamboat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t welcoming in American refugees like his draft-dodger-loving dad did in the 1970s.

Canada's dreamboat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t welcoming in American refugees like his draft-dodger-loving dad did in the 1970s.

 (CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS)
“Skills”? “Class”? I didn’t like the sound of that, but I continued.
“In the last five years, do you have at least two years of experience in one of these types of jobs: industrial, electrical and construction trades; maintenance and equipment operation trades; supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production; processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors and central control operators; chefs and cooks; butchers and bakers?”
So, Mars needs women, but Canada needs talent. I answered “no” and got this message: “Based on your answers, you do not appear to be eligible for Express Entry.” Seriously, even the “do not” was underlined.
“We get calls all the time from Americans who say they want to move to Canada because the economy is poor,” said Canadian immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk. “The other day, I got one from a janitor in Kentucky who said he couldn’t find work. But I had to tell him, ‘Sorry, but there are already a lot of guys in Canada who can do that.’”
Step 3: No skills? Get a job offer
This time, when I entered “I have a job offer from a Canadian company,” the flag-red carpet figuratively rolled all the way from Ottawa to my laptop.
Of course, I didn’t really have a job offer — but Sandaluk suggested it wouldn’t be hard to get one. “The economy is better up here,” he said. “If you have professional skills or even management skills, you shouldn’t have a problem.”
I reminded Sandaluk who am I and he suggested a radical new course — some radical new courses.
Step 4: Study in Canada
Americans who get a degree at a Canadian college or university automatically qualify for a three-year open work permit, meaning you can legally work in Canada and then you can apply for the maple leaf version of the Green Card. Before you know it, you’ll be Canadian.
“Or, of course, you could marry a Canadian,” Sandaluk added.
Step 5: Wine and dine Canadian women
I really don’t know what Canadian women are into these days, but there's no one better than me at sitting at a bar, downing Molsons, and just listening. I’m told that’s a skill (the listening part) that women universally admire. Plus, we all think Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a dreamboat, so we can talk about that all night long. (No, seriously, look at this guy.)
Step 6: Seek refugee status
If your candidate loses, you’ll feel like you’re a political prisoner in your own country. You’ll feel oppressed. You’ll feel like you have lost your free speech (and, if Trump is the president, you may actually lose your free speech). In other words, you’re a refugee!
In other other words, you’re not, unfortunately.
“Our compassion and fairness are a source of great pride for Canadians,” the government says on its immigration website. But, it adds, “A refugee is different from an immigrant, in that refugees are forced to flee.”
Well, come on, if you’re an Obama supporter and Donald Trump becomes the 45th President, you’re basically forced to flee, no? Um, no. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board reviews all asylum requests on a case-by-case basis. And the agency is not sympathetic to Americans who don’t like how an election turned out.
“Decision-makers at the IRB must be satisfied that a claimant ... would be subjected to a danger of torture or a risk to life or of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment,” said Camielle Edwards, a senior special adviser in the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship department.
Even my immigration lawyer said I shouldn’t test the patience of the IRB.
“You can’t argue that you’re a political refugee,” Niren said. “America is a democratic country. It’s not Afghanistan or North Korea. There’s no such thing as a political prisoner from America.”
But we’re afraid, I reminded him.
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(TOM SZCZERBOWSKI/GETTY IMAGES)

Canada has cosmopolitan cities like Toronto, experts say. And it has those mountains!

“I know,” he said. “We get the Fox News Channel up here, too. But just because you get a bad president doesn’t mean you’re a refugee.”
Not that some Americans haven’t tried to claim just that.
Sandaluk said that when President Obama was re-elected, he got calls from Americans saying they wanted out because of Obamacare and the prospect for more gun control.
“I had to remind them that we have even tighter versions of both of them up here already,” he said.
Another serious attempt was made in 2004 by an American soldier Jeremy Hinzman, who objected to the War in Iraq and fled to Canada to seek political asylum, but ultimately was denied it by the Canadian Supreme Court (which is like ours except it once ruled that bestiality is constitutionally protected, so please get on that, Clarence Thomas).
The Hinzman ruling was a bit hypocritical for a country that welcomed American draft-dodgers during the Vietnam War. Indeed, the current prime minister’s dad, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, invited in America’s card-burners because “Canada should be a refuge from militarism.”
That policy didn’t set a precedent, Sandaluk believes, because back then, the draft was mandatory. “Now, the military is a volunteer force, so guys like Hinzman were basically arguing, ‘I’m not happy about this.’”
Step 7: So learn to stop worrying and love the Don
So you have no skills, no job prospects, no Canadian wife to fall back on and you’re not a refugee. Maybe it’s time to call your shrink and sit back and enjoy the ride.
“I look at it this way,” Niren added. “I’m a Canadian and I love it here. Canada has has it all: open spaces, mountains, cosmopolitan cities. It’s a great place to live. But the U.S. is a great country. I really love the U.S. I could go on and on and about the United States. There are blemishes of course, but it’s too bad that Americans don’t know how good they have it.”
Damn, if Michael Niren was running for president, I wouldn’t be thinking of moving to Canada at all!
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