Florida columnist stirs cross-border storm
BILL BRADY, For the London Free Press
I was both annoyed and amused reading David Grimes' column in last Sunday's Sarasota Herald-Tribune. My mood escalated into an uncharacteristic snit when I read his piece, Disgruntled voters eye Canada, with the subheading, Moving to Canada: Big Mistake or Bad Idea?
With his approval, I share his column. Try to stay calm:
"Now that President Bush has won re-election and the Republican party controls everything in the country up to and including photosynthesis, some disgruntled Democrats are wondering if life might be better north of the border.
"The first thing I learned in my research is that Canada, as a country or colony or appendage or whatever the heck it is, is not exactly jumping up and down with glee at the prospect of 56 million glum Kerry supporters shuffling morosely across its border.
"Canadian officials have said that any Americans so fed up with Bush that they would actually consider moving to a place where hockey is the national sport should be prepared to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that could take up to a year.
" 'They'll join the crowd like all the other people who want to come to Canada,' said Immigration Minister Judy Sgro when asked if Americans would get special treatment because they are, well, let's face it . . . Americans.
"Another drawback to moving to Canada is the language barrier. Canadians talk incessantly about a boot, as in, 'I'll be there to watch hockey at a boot 7.' Immigrant Americans would squander much of their first year in Canada trying to comprehend the national fascination with high-topped waterproof foot-wear, a dispiriting prospect at best.
"Food might present another problem for expatriated Americans. An example of Canadian haute cuisine is poutine, a combination of French fries, barbecue sauce (actually Dave, it's gravy) and cheese curds, sometimes referred to by connoisseurs as 'heart attack in a bowl.'
"Finally, Americans will have to come to terms with the fact they are moving from a country that is a super-power to a country that is, well, . . . not.
"So, it's my opinion that Americans should think twice before moving to Canada. It's cold, the food is weird and rumour has it that there are people there who are almost indistinguishable from the French.
"And, besides, you don't want to miss out on all the fun. Because in America, there's always another election just around the corner."
Well, of course I had to react to that column. I send an e-mail in which I mentioned my displeasure, but admitted I found the piece funny and reverted then to subtle sarcasm. I e-mailed that "I am a Canadian living in a very civilized city an hour from the U.S. border. Our crime rate is escalating and we should soon be right up there with your comparable-size U.S. cities once we get more guns and the will to use them. I think even our crooks are, at heart, peace-lovers."
I saw the possibility of a column in all of this, so I asked, well, grovelled actually, as I urged him to allow me to reprint excepts from his column.
He responded immediately: "Why . . . not? Your countrymen/women have already locked up my computer with hateful e-mails, so what's a few hundred more? Even though I've been writing a humor column for more than 20 years, I'm still caught off guard by some responses. If there was any underlying "message," it was that Americans are arrogant, stupid pigs and Canadians should stick to their guns and not let us in. Unfortunately, many Canadians read it differently. Oh, well, at least people read it. Have all the fun you want."
OK, Dave, you started this. Some of your neighbours to the North will be piqued, so it would probably be a bad thing for me to include your e-mail address, but here it is: firstname.lastname@example.org (external - login to view)
If you decide to write, be nice. Remember, you are Canadian.