A welcome mat for Bush-dodgers (Editorial)

Turning George W. Bush's election victory into a win for Canada
By John Hobel
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/02/2005

George W. Bush’s election win could also be Canada’s if anxiety-riddled Democrat voters hightail it for the Canadian border. There are millions of disaffected professionals, skilled workers and educated high-achievers ripe for the picking and ready to help solve Canada’s labour market shortages.

Some Democrat voters are wondering if their beliefs would be more at home in Canada than their homeland. Not since the U.S. Civil War has America seemed so divided.

What’s troubling Democrats is that issues such as the ill-conceived, ill-fated Iraq war or a troubling federal deficit and weak economy were not the deciding factors. Rather Bush’s values and religion-influenced agenda were the reasons many offered the president unwavering support. And that’s the problem: What’s an environmentalist who is more troubled by guns than gays to do? Throw in an apparent violation of the American Founding Fathers’ desire to separate church and state, and it’s enough take make you pack up and move to a northern neighbour where you’re more likely to fit in.

The

San Francisco Chronicle

asked people in an online poll what song they were humming the day after the election. Of 4,000 respondents 16 per cent said “God Bless America,” 33 per cent said “Heaven Help Us All” and 50 per cent said “Oh, Canada.”

True, applying for citizenship is no quick process, but Bush-dodgers can try for work permits (something that Canadian employers can expedite), make an argument for refugee status (particularly if they’re gay) or marry a Canadian. There’s a tongue-in-cheek website that’s trying to help with that one;

www.marryanamerican.ca

matches Canadians with would-be American suitors.

A more serious website — the Canadian government’s immigration site — saw a record number of Americans log on after Bush’s election.

Some of this is just talk, some of it humour, but there is reason to believe Canada could see a real upswing in Americans wishing to relocate. Many Democrat voters are dumbfounded by the election results, and find themselves looking at a religious Republican power base whose electoral strength has both surprised and scared them.

But we have to be careful. Billboards in Times Square extolling the virtues of Canadian residency may not go down well, and the American administration is likely to react angrily (even though it may secretly be glad to be rid of thousands of opposition voters). All that Canadians have to do is keep religion out of government and leave it where it belongs — in people’s hearts.

For Canadian recruiters this doesn’t have to be about being pro- or anti-Bush. And Canada needn’t be against this administration. It’s just about capitalizing on a situation that presents itself. Isn’t free-market capitalism great?

John Hobel is Canadian HR Reporter's managing editor. He can be reached at john.hobel@thomson.com.

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