Considering A Move To Canada After the Election? Here Are Some Tips For TreeHugger Types
At every American election, you hear stories of people saying they are going to move to Canada if so-and-so wins. According to the Washington Post, hits on the Canadian government's immigration website went up by a factor of six after George Bush's 2004 victory. Slate did a wonderful piece in 2004, Moving to Canada, Eh?, but things have changed a bit since then. I live in Toronto, so cannot play up the wonders of Vancouver or Montreal, and hope that others do in comments. Here are a few things to consider.
Provinces have much more power than American states, so it really matters where you go.
Most Republicans would feel quite at home in Alberta, which thanks to its tar sands has the lowest taxes and has a conservative government. Not conservative enough for a lot of Albertans, which started the even more right wing Wild Rose Party. See:
Alberta Tar Sands To Be Turned Into New Lakes District
Lessons for the USA in Alberta Election: People Don't Like Extremism, Even In Conservative Territory
In Ontario, the currently ruling Liberal Party has brought in all kinds of green initiatives, from a big green belt around Toronto to getting rid of coal fired power plants. However it is likely that the Conservatives will get elected in the spring and roll just about all of this back. See
Ontario's Premier Dalton McGuinty Resigns, Done In By Clean Energy
Ontario Boreal Forest Half the Size of Texas to Be Protected
In Toronto, the largest city in the country, a suburban right wing mayor has been doing his best to put on that seventies show again, where cars rule, bike lanes get torn up and plastic bags are free. It's a real embarrassment. If the Conservatives win in the next provincial election, expect the same across the Province. See:
Toronto Mayor Plans To Abolish Plastic Bag Tax
Cyclists Protest Removal Of Bike Lanes In Toronto With Mass Ride
Anti-Bike, Anti-Transit, Anti-Green Rob Ford Elected Mayor Of Toronto
The Federal Government is not exactly green either
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper is maintaining the status quo on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, his government is doing its best to roll back environmental protections and is a proud supporter of the Alberta oil industry. The Liberal Party, which ran the country for almost a century, is leaderless and in disarray right now, so Harper might well be there for a while. See:
Canada's New Environment Minister's Job: Shill The Tar Sands as "Ethical Oil"
Canadian Scientists March on Ottawa to Protest the "Death of Evidence"
Canadian Government Fires Environment Ministry Scientists and Meteorologists, Hires Oil Lobbyists
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources Calls Anti-pipeline Protesters Radicals Supported by "Jet-Setting Celebrities"
Canada's Minister Of Environment Calls Members of Parliament Who Talked To American Congressmen About Keystone "Treacherous"
© Unknown source
There are no real checks and balances in the political system
If the Prime Minister has a majority in the House of Commons he can do pretty much whatever he wants, and he does. But he does like kittens.
People are pretty happy with universal health care
During the health care debate in the States there were commercials running that showed Canadians complaining about the system, but I have seen the care that my late father got, and that my mother-in-law is getting now, and the system delivers. No forms to fill out, either; you just throw down a card and it's done.
Another important factor about universal health care is that it makes it much easier to start a business and hire good people; nobody chooses or sticks with a company because of the health care.
Cranes with rainbow/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Housing is really expensive
There was no banking or housing crisis here, so prices stayed high. There was a huge building boom that was getting a bit frothy in Toronto, but the Feds tightened up lending criteria and condo prices have started slipping. Single family house prices keep going up anywhere in the Greater Toronto area. There is no such thing as mortgage deductibility and taxes are high.
Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Gas is really expensiveThat's why Canadians drive smaller cars and on average drive shorter distances than Americans. See Gas Prices In Canada Hitting Record Highs, US$ 5.68 per Gallon, And They Can't Blame Obama
But not nearly as cold as it used to be. Last winter it barely snowed in Toronto. See
Canada Has Warmest (7.2 F Above Normal) and Driest (22% Below Normal) Winter on Record