On a Monday night in a downtown Los Angeles hotel, British Columbia-based immigration attorneys Rudolph Kischer and Joshua Sohn presented their 90-minute seminar on how to move...
On a Monday night in a downtown Los Angeles hotel, British Columbia-based immigration attorneys Rudolph Kischer and Joshua Sohn presented their 90-minute seminar on how to move to Canada. They’d already been to Seattle and San Francisco. In Los Angeles, about 80 people attended.
The attorneys focused on how to gain permanent-resident status, which takes 18 to 24 months, not on work permits (which are for people who already have Canadian job offers and are expected to be in the country temporarily).
Permanent residents may apply for citizenship after three years; in most cases people from the United States can become dual citizens.
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Sitting near the back of the room, the Griggs family of Oxnard, Calif. brother Bill, sister Kelly and their 72-year old mother, Joan, listened intently. Joan Griggs said she was tired of being surrounded by immigrants and wanted to leave. “We’ll go somewhere where we’re the immigrants,” she said.
Kelly Griggs, 43, said she wanted to move because housing in Canada was more affordable, and the people were nicer.
The idea that Canadians are more “civilized” than people in the United States is entrenched on both sides of what has often been called the world’s longest non-defended border.
“You’ll know a Canadian,” Vancouver currency expert Michael Parker-Fyfe joked at the seminar, “because he’s the guy who apologizes when you bump into him.”
“What we have here in Canada,” said Michael Adams, a pollster and sociologist, “is like the consensus in Massachusetts and coastal California if those people ran the country. That’s what Canada is like.”
Adams’ most recent book, “Fire and Ice,” explores the idea that far from becoming more alike, Canada and the United States are diverging in significant ways. “America is moving in a more conservative direction … to a more Darwinistic model.” Canada, he says, embraces the social welfare state, has institutionalized gender equality in its constitution and is more truly egalitarian.
“When the U.S. talks about rights,” said David Cohen, a Montreal immigration attorney, “Americans think in terms of individual rights. Canadians have a concept more of collective rights. So for instance, we have a national health program that’s free at the point of delivery. We complain about the system, and the level of care fluctuates according to province, but I don’t think a majority of Canadians think we should go back to where there is not coverage for everyone.”
One Web site launched as a spoof by THIS magazine, a Toronto-based political journal, invited Canadians to “rescue” U.S. citizens by marrying them.
The site got so many hits the weekend after the U.S. election 350 per second, up from 350 per day that its servers crashed. More than a month later, traffic has slowed, but 893,000 people have visited the site. More than 6,500 Canadians have pledged to marry a U.S. citizen.
Publisher Joyce Byrne noted that for those serious about trans-border romance, THIS magazine had just teamed with actforlove.org, which calls itself “the dating site for activists, leftists, news junkies.”