Thursday, 18 February 2016

An open letter to American refugees to Canada

As many of you are in the planning stages of your flight from the terror reign of President Trump I'd like to give you some pointers to your new home, Canada. This is not a comprehensive list, there are many things you will find out for yourself once you arrive, but I thought I'd give you a head start.

Firstly, Canada is huge, but sparse. There's only 35 million of us, and as much as we are a caring, open people, don't expect to be adapted by a Canadian family all too soon. You will have to endure our social system for a while, being put up in hotels and military bases across the country for a start. Don't worry, Aunt Pattie will bring you a pie.

We use the metric system here. On the highways, distance is measured in Kilometres, within the cities, it's measured in terms of how many Tim Hortons' you pass along the way.

You will need to know who Tim Horton was for your citizenship exam.

All able bodied refugees will have to serve time in our armed forces, but you should bring your own equipment with you, our jets are forty years old and the government sold our navy for scrap.

Leave your guns at home. You won't see people slugging an AR-15 at Starbucks here (yes, we have Starbucks). Guns are legal, but we don't use them as penis extenders here, we'd still rather just have an old fashioned fist fight. Watch out for Aunt Pattie's left hook.

Toronto and Vancouver are full, don't think you'll be going there. There may some room in Edmonton or Calgary near where the oil industry used to be. Montreal has some room left, but if you don't speak french you're fucked. They speak english, just not if you don't speak french first. Yeah, they're assholes.

This is a bilingual country, so everything is in english and french. Everything. Don't be surprised if the stock clerk at the grocery store had a fight with his boss and put all the french labels outfacing. Eventually you'll get used to shopping in french, even though you'll never learn to speak it.

If you end up in Newfoundland, learn to drink and catch fish.

If you end up in Nunavut, grapes are $28 a bag.

On the subject of money, bring lots. I mean billions. We could use the cash reserves. And we have our own money, not monopoly money as you like to call it, get used to it.

Health care is free and universal, the rumours are true, however terms and conditions apply. It'll be more fun for you to find out when you get here. Learn to make a tourniquet.

Anyone who voted for Trump, Cruz, Rubio or Carson will immediately be disqualified from entering. People of that magnitude will collectively reduce our national IQ. Frankly, they helped make their bed, they must sleep in it. Also anyone who flies a confederate flag on their truck, has a gun rack, or no teeth won't get in. We have standards.

Don't worry about not getting news from home, we're inundated with American media here, so there's a good chance you can still keep abreast of what's going on with the Kardashians and Jerry Springer. For those of you with brains, we do get PBS and NPR. Canadian media offerings are not what you're used to, frankly most of our entertainers went to the States. You'll have to wait for them to be kicked out of the country under Trumps new anti-immigrant laws.

We're not taking Bieber back. He's Trump's problem now. We'll trade him for Neil Degrass-Tyson and Bill Nye.

Our Netflix kinda sucks, so you'll have to bring your access codes and get an IP blocker.

We don't have spray cheese. 

When you arrive don't ask the first person you see if they know Jim from Toronto. Just don't. It's getting old. I do however know a Bob from Pine River.

Learn hockey. It's our game. It'll be better though, once Trump deports all the Canadian players back. You seemed to end up with most of them. You'll have to leave football behind you, believe me after a while you'll be better for it and thank us. You'll also need to learn Curling and Lacrosse.

You're more than welcome to bring your own traditions and beliefs with you. Customs of our homelands makes for a vibrant community. Feel free to open a club. But we get to choose what beer you serve, that stuff you try to pass off as beer is simply rat's piss.

It's cold here. Get used to it. Buy a coat. There's a reason 90% of us live within 100 km of the US border, we're trying to get closer to Florida. On that note, we measure temperature in celsius, and it's normal to start any conversation with a stranger by discussing it.

Our national animal is a beaver, our national bird is a loon. They'll be on the test. In case you might think that wildlife here is wimpy consider this, we have moose the size of school buses and people in the north leave their cars open for strangers in case of polar bear attacks. Do the math.

Learn to apologize to inanimate objects.

Anyone who lists their musical interests as Niki Monaj or Kanye West will be pulled aside for further screening.

Further to that, the first person who refers to our Prime Minister as the President of Canada will be put on a boat. Obviously with Trump's wall in place the boat won't be heading to the US.

Further rules will be laid out upon your arrival. The code of conduct and laws of the land will be given to you and it's up to you to figure them out. If you really want to live out your life in one of the most progressive and prosperous countries in the world while still maintaining your unique American identity, you're more than welcome. Just understand that you will have to adapt to your new home. Soon enough you will be eating poutine, playing road hockey and gearing up for our annual Roll Up the Rim festival. Everyone is welcome, Canada is a country built on the backs of immigrants and we're proud of it. Your heritage is protected and encouraged. As long as you follow these few simple rules. Welcome exiles, your days of living in Donald Trump's Utopia are over. Just hope he doesn't sue you for leaving.