Friday, April 02, 2004

Well now, this is interesting...

Flight Not Fight

By Joy Lanzendorfer, AlterNet
April 2, 2004

Joanna Harmon is considering whether to leave the United States for Canada. Nik and Nancy Phelps practically have visas in hand to set up business in Belgium. Joan Magit and her husband are eyeing Vancouver. Amy Gertz moved to the United States from Canada two and a half years ago – she's now moving back.

The article basically goes on to discuss that phenomenon of Americans immigrating to Canada out of despair over the situation south of the border these days. These people are, of course, mostly progressives (Michael Moriarty notwithstanding), and are generally coming here out of a desire for a political climate more suited to them. And, while they'll find one, I would issue a small warning...

I don't think Canada is really the progressive paradise they think it is. Sure, it's all relative, and Canada is far more left-wing, both in political structure and ideology, than America. However, consider if you will that the next election will be contested largely between two right-of-centre parties, neither of which are dying for a chance to introduce really progressive policies. In the case of Liberals, that's because of a desire to appeal to centrist voters, and keep people from fleeing to the Conservatives. In the case of the Conservatives, it's because they pretty much hate everybody (sad, although predictable, that the Alliance folks got control of that party - the old Progressive Conservatives might actually have positioned the party to the left of the Liberals). Progressive voters are pretty much left with the choice of voting Liberal (lesser of two evils, etc.), going NDP (nice choice, no chance of winning), or going with a "fringe" party like the Greens (straight up - that's who I'll likely be voting for next time out). None of those choices are really going to lead to an increase in progressive politics in Canada.

However, that said, it's an interesting article, and an interesting phenomenon, and an influx of progressive-minded Americans can only help us lefties up here. It's interesting to note (as the article does), that the last great influx of left-leaning Americans into Canada was during the Vietnam draft years. And here I was writing about the draft just a few days ago! Wow, Oi! Thump! gets topical...

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