Travelers Beware: Advice for Foreigners

Are you looking to move to Canada? Here are some pointers!

Don’t.

Seriously. Canada is a hellhole. Why the fuck are you moving here? I see a few Europeans following this blog (goenendag, alle!) and I assure you that there is nothing here that would constitute an improvement for you. If you’re choosing a country to move to in North America, the choice is really which of a narrow band of US states you want to move to. Or I suppose Quebec is always an option, though they wisely do their own thing with immigration and I know nothing about that system so you’re on your own.

I strongly urge you to reconsider working in Canada. Even the refugee will find starvation here, albeit of the spiritual kind rather than the physical kind. Don’t come to English Canada as a tourist unless you’re going out into the wilderness to go camping or something. Run, don’t walk. Don’t believe the ads. Don’t believe the Canadiana bullshit on the Internet. Have you seen how much of it there is? That’s Canadians trying to doublethink their way through a country with the innovative capacity of roadkill and the cultural force of a wet diaper filled with bees.

If you must come to English Canada…

To set the mood, please begin here:

I’m so, so sorry. If you’re doomed to live in English Canada, consider if your country of origin allows for compassionate euthanasia which part of this stain you’re moving into. Each province has a different schema of bullshit for you to wade through. Imagine Banjo-Kazooie but with every single level being a goddamn mess. This is Big Rigs levels of bullshit, son. If you are not filled with deep, profound dread at the prospect of moving to Canada, you either aren’t listening to Chopin or you aren’t listening to me.

So let’s get this straight – you will find wasteland everywhere here. Miles of concrete and gray, fart-mouthed garglesharts trapped on gray freeways in gray cities leading gray lives. Meaningless, idle lives led in slapdash, unplanned housing in shitty, cultureless abortions of cities. A lifetime of laboring for nothing awaits you here. If Dante were alive today, Canada would be his inspiration for Purgatory. Living here is Sysiphian. It is hard labor wasted on elbowless, formless, spongy holding companies branded with maple leaves and red-and-white. This is the slow-death, the painful squeaking miserable quiet death of frogs in a pot of warming water.

Some mental preparation is a good idea. Find pictures of the old Soviet Union – you know, those lovely cracking freeways and hideous concrete Stalincocks grasping for mediocrity as they crumble? Those. Look at them. Post them around your house. Get used to them. Then find a picture of a Canadian flag and post a copy of it on every other Stalincock tower in sight. If you do this correctly you should see a Canadian flag roughly every 10 feet. Does your home now make you want to cry, to give up and retreat to bed and just never come out again? Welcome to Mondays in Canada. And Tuesdays. And the rest of the week too, for that matter. Remember the song Blue? This is Gray, and it’s your new favorite color besides red-and-white.

Did you check with the euthanasia folks? No dice, eh? The mood of Chopin’s Funeral March will be your life until you return to civilization. Look at the grumpy Polish guy in the video you started earlier. That will be you. That will be your life. Canada’s slow-death, the squeaking, torturous “death by a thousand cuts” awaits you. Your bitter tears are a mere drop in the bucket – they are not wanted and they will not be respected.

Ready, comrade Kharitovski? Your options for locations to receive your brutal punishment are:

British Columbia:

Stereotypical inhabitants: Triad members, organic free-range urban kale farmers, Eastern English Canadian refugees

Issues (sample): Indian affairs; environmental degradation; extreme cost of living; hotspot for international money laundering; major income disparity; limited meaningful employment prospects

Alberta:

Stereotypical inhabitants: Rednecks, macho-construction dudes, hicks from out East, oilmen in cowboy hats, born-again Christians

Issues (sample): Indian affairs; incredible environmental devastation; ridiculously unstable provincial royalties income; loathsome business class; dangerous urban planning

Saskatchewan:

Stereotypical inhabitants: Farmers, hicks, profiteers, people who think wearing a watermelon on your head is a good idea, literally nobody else

Issues (sample): Boredom; poverty; poor planning; limited prospects in non-extractive industries; broken infrastructure; rampant racism; painfully bad weather; insane devotion to the Canadian Football League; Saskatoon doesn’t even fucking recycle; violence

Manitoba:

Stereotypical inhabitants: Indian gangs, suburban mini-van driving idiots, hicks, military

Issues (sample): Indian gangs; rampant poverty; limited prospects; collapsing infrastructure; boredom; bugs; violence; useless public transit; bumpkin-culture; rampant racism. Probably not worth salvaging.

Ontario – The North:

Stereotypical inhabitants: desperate Indigenous, people too poor to bail out of failed one-industry towns, the shattered husks of the mentally and physically unwell, disgusting rich caker filth on fishing charters

Issues (sample): Non-existent public transit, grinding unemployment, lack of fresh food, poor medical facilities, people live in actual, literal fucking shacks, virtual economic shutdown in the winter. Northern Ontario is the part of the province that Toronto would really rather you just pretend wasn’t there.

Ontario – Blue-Collar Country:

Stereotypical inhabitants: unemployed college grads, unemployed factory laborers, drugged-up suburban high-schoolers, retirees living in squalor at St. God’s Waiting Room and Retirement Home

Issues (sample): Poor transit system; collapsing infrastructure; limited prospects; rising cost of living; population potentially hostile to non-white newcomers; police corruption; hidden poverty; bumpkin-culture leading to extreme cliquishness. You will be an outsider for decades in small-town Ontario.

Ontario – The GTA:

Stereotypical inhabitants: English Canadian businessmen, overdressed women, suburb-dwellers trapped on highways, poor-ass students, rich immigrants who are just here to park their money, overworked young “up-and-comings”

Issues (sample): Insane cost of living; poor design of the areas outside downtown; severe income disparity; extreme boredom relative to its size; relatively uncultured; home to Canada’s useless business classes. You can’t afford to live here and if you can you can do better than Toronto.

Ontario – Ottawa:

Stereotypical inhabitants: banal bureaucrats, poor-ass students, irritating sychophants, homeless Inuit; miserable professional beta-male sellouts; grumpy, spiteful people who realized too late that their lives are meaningless

Issues (sample): rampant overpricing of goods and services; poorly-planned with little interest in improvement; bad and overpriced public transit; limited employment prospects; strong chance of ending up as “working poor”. Fuck this city with a rake made of dildoes.

Quebec:

C’est la belle province. A rare beacon of culture and joie de vivre. Probably the only Canadian population able to live in a manner conducive to humans rather than rodents. That said, Quebec is hardly without its problems.

Issues (sample): Indigenous relations are at rock-bottom, attached to and attacked by English Canada at every turn, occasionally governed by Liberals.

New Brunswick:

Stereotypical inhabitants: unemployed people, the elderly, bilingual hicks, Acadians

Issues (sample): unemployment; poor access to services; poor access to the rest of the country; the province is owned by the Irvings; monotone media culture; little economic improvement beyond extraction as per the Irving fiefdom

Prince Edward Island:

Stereotypical inhabitants: potatoes and their caretakers (who may actually be sentient potatoes themselves)

Issues (sample): no access to abortion providers; unemployment; seriously, you’re debating moving to P.E.I?

Nova Scotia:

Stereotypical inhabitants: unemployed fisherman, members of the Canadian Navy, punks, people left behind by those who “went West” to find work

Issues (sample): violence; poverty; unemployment; limited prospects; poor transit; poor access to the rest of Canada; Halifax is uncultured and boring

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Stereotypical inhabitants: Newfies. That’s it

Issues (sample): unemployment; poor access to the rest of Canada; drug abuse; police corruption; uncautious oil extraction

The North:

Stereotypical inhabitants: Not you. Stay well the fuck away

Issues (sample): see everything listed above, then multiply infinitely. Seriously – it’s that bad. Basic foodstuffs cost hundreds of dollars. The bugs will eat you alive. And the land belongs to the Inuit anyways, meaning that moving there is akin to being a Canadian flagpole.

You picked your poison, eh?

Don’t forget that the things I write about are also there and most are generally applicable. Are you sure you want to do this? Unless you owe someone a shit-ton of money or something you’re better off in a place with a soul. Anyways, here are some general pointers for temporary Canadians:

– English Canadian government systems are unreliable, understaffed, and prone to failure. Do not rely on the Canadian or provincial governments to provide assistance unless not doing so would be a public relations disaster for the government.

– English Canadian artistic content laws (“Can-Con”) ensures that you will hear more Bryan Adams and Nickelback songs than human beings should experience. It also means that Canada is full of shitty versions of American reality television.

– English Canadians are cold, arrogant, cliquish, hypocritical, and banal. Do not expect to make lasting friends during your stay in Canada unless you guzzle the Kanada Kool-Aid so hard that it replaces the blood in your veins.

– You will not see most of the country. If you are out east going west is expensive and takes a long time. The same is true going the other way. Do not expect to see at least half of the country (not like it’s worth seeing anyways, but still). You also will not be able to enjoy “the great outdoors” unless you drive a car.

– The telecom oligarchs in Canada will shaft you with mobile phone use. Expect insane charges and be ready to call RoBellUs (they’re all the same) to contest seemingly random charges to your phone bill. The same is true for Internet and other telecom systems.

– Canadian cities are cripplingly, ass-wrinklingly boring. Do not expect art galleries or cultural events to be well-attended (or even extant) in Canada. Ottawa’s “downtown” is a good place to film a zombie movie on a Saturday morning.

– Do not come for the food. English Canada is one of the world’s greatest underperformers in terms of turning amazing produce into shit food. Outside of a couple of major hubs (and even there get ready to be royally gouged), the food scene rarely gets beyond microwaving crap. Also be prepared to shell out a fortune for shit food.

– Be very careful when purchasing “Indigenous” goods; be sure to inspect the product you want to buy before doing so, lest you end up supporting white people using Indigenous cultural icons to make themselves wealthy. Don’t support caker businesses engaging in this wretched practice.

– Expect rampant public and private drunkenness. If you don’t like dodging puke and dealing with screaming chimps do not attend a major sporting event in this country. This is especially true of the NHL.

Testaments to Canada’s crappiness:

First is Martin, a poor soul from Albion who made the unfortunate mistake of moving to this bog. He writes:

“As a Brit who departed his native English shores for a vast, desolate land that is either boiling to death or buried in snow at subarctic temperatures, I am horrified at the low standards, expectations and CHOSEN living conditions that the locals cherish and take great pride in. Sure there is some beautiful countryside here spoiler only by the building of slum-equivalent cities manufactured out of cardboard and sold for exorbitant amounts of failing Canadian dollars to morons that will not let the redneck pioneering spirit of half-arsed efforts die to enable them to move on (or attempt to at least) to an enriched life.

When I first heard the Canadian anthem (at a hockey game where the spectators spent more time aimless wondering around, meeting up with friends and going back and forth to the umpteen different fast food chains selling meals unfit for human consumption and beer that was flat….than paying attention to what the kids were doing on the ice) yes the anthem….. I laughed uncontrollably! What a load of tosh! I don’t think the American accent helped but for over a year I was convinced that the lyrics were “we stand on God for thee”. I think it works better than the real lyrics though as the attitude seems to be I don’t give a f@@@, as long as I can rip up the countryside in my truck, bike, skidoo and shoot sh1t for no reason.”

Thank you, Martin. Thank you and Godspeed on your retreat from this hellish podunk wasteland.

33 thoughts on “Travelers Beware: Advice for Foreigners”

  1. My family moved here 20 years ago from Croatia. They all passed away from stress. Me and my mom are the only ones left. I finished two universities and have diplomas. After 10 years I am still working for a dollar more than a minimum wage, trying to pay bills (including my osap). I live this meaningless existence. Im in my early 30s, no money to go out and have fun. No girlfriend (no money for one). I feel like Im gonna grow old and die and with no family and friend there will be no one to bury me.

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    1. Hey, Steve. Sorry to hear about the rough times and thanks for telling your story.

      I know the feeling regarding the brutal working environment. I’ve been contracting for near-minimum wage since I got out of school. If you don’t have connections it’s nothing more than a crap shoot as to whether you find work or not. And even then all you get for your troubles is more stress and more expense. We both share the feeling of working to the grave, friend.

      It seems to me that Croatia is also lovely and improving all the time. I really hope you make it to a place that feels like home. As it is Canada, the Soviet bunghole that it is, feels as much like home as a hive full of hornets.

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  2. My mum recently traveled to Canada for around 3 weeks. She said she liked Toronto because it was ‘more organized than Jakarta is’, and my parents want to move there to ‘enjoy the rest of their lives’ (also because some of my other relatives are there too).

    While I’ll admit that may be true in the present, I will never trade my Indonesian citizenship for a Canadian citizenship, and I see more opportunities in Indonesia than Canada anyway.

    Also, I’ve tried the Tim Hortons hot chocolate and white cappucino she brought from Canada. They taste like formulated powder milk with excessive amounts of sugar.

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    1. Hey, thanks for writing in!

      Your folks better be damn rich to make it in the nice parts of Toronto – there’s a major housing bubble caused by careless investment and poor planning that has made housing in Toronto incredibly expensive.

      I will say that old Toronto – the Toronto that Jane Jacobs fled to after Robert Moses pushed her out of New York – is good stuff at its core. I don’t know much about Jakarta but I can only assume you have a few particularly outstanding neighborhoods there. This is true of most cities built before the 20th century; Montreal is also kick-ass, particularly the old parts.

      As you say, though, disorganization is a big problem. Canada’s disorganization is almost certainly less visible than Indonesia’s but it lurks in places that on first blush and under certain conditions appear vaguely tolerable. Our cities are unsustainably sprawling because Canada isn’t organized enough to have a housing policy that discourages bad land use.

      But when I go touristing or visiting family I generally don’t say “oh boy, I can’t wait to go evaluate land-use policy!”. When you’re with family they’re happier because you’re there; they’ve also likely purchased the necessities of survival in formless development, and as a guest they aren’t likely to comment on the heavy cost and absolute necessity of vehicle ownership in the 905 (the area immediately outside of Toronto, also called the Greater Toronto Area or GTA). Again, I don’t usually start my visits with family by saying, “how are those car payments treating you, Gerry?”

      I hope your Mum didn’t bring back that powdered gunk Tim Hortons’ sells in the big tin. I’m so sorry you experienced that horror. Gifting those things is basically the caker way of saying “I totally forgot about you and only picked this up because someone reminded me 5 minutes before I got to work”.

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      1. I’m worried about them if they decide to really move to Toronto. About said relatives of mine who are already there, one working as a barista in Starbucks and the other as a housekeeping or receptionist in a hotel chain. By the way, my parents said the food is healthier in Canada for some reason.

        One thing that makes me like Jakarta more than Toronto is that our current governor, Basuki Tjahja Purnama (a.k.a. Ahok), has actually implemented the concept of a One Stop Service Center and spread it throughout Jakarta, and it’s actually compounded by better service by the civil service employees. He’s also gotten in touch with the people over at Qlue and integrated their services into the Jakarta Smart City Portal. Qlue essentially enables you to deliver complaints directly to the district heads for them and/or their respective departments to handle immediately (like dirty spots) or within the week depending on the report.

        Also, Jakarta is finally building the MRT we’ve been waiting for too long for and was pushed back continually from its inception by political dumbassery.

        Other than that, more parks, cleaner rivers, less flooding, and admittedly more traffic jams (but that’s a given, and Ahok’s planning to implement Electronic Road Pricing and forcing people to go for available public transport like the Transjakarta busways that is actually getting better while waiting for the MRT to be finished).

        Also, our current president, Joko Widodo (a.k.a. Jokowi), is everything Justin Trudeau fails to be: a leader. How do I know this? After the Thamrin attacks happened, Jokowi actually stopped his Cirebon visit, flew back to Jakarta, visited the Thamrin site, and simply told people not to panic and told the police and the coordinating minister of politics, law, and security to find and arrest those responsible. Without extra protection.

        So yes, I’m excited about the opportunities in Indonesia. It’s still not quite as good as it should be, but I can see it’s on the uptrend.

        By the way, my mum brought back 3 tins of Tim Hortons’. One tin of Hot ‘Chocolate’, another tin of Hot ‘White Chocolate’, and a tin of Hot ‘Vanilla Cappuccino’. They all tasted the same. Like formulated milk with excess sugar. Also, I just noticed the ingredients list of the Hot ‘Chocolate’ powder. For something as simple as hot chocolate, it sure is loaded with additives. I just hope it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup!

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  3. Hopefully, Quebec will be able to become an official country and get out of the shithole that is Canada. I hope to see it in my lifetime because we deserve so much more than to be treated like shit by the English.

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    1. Hi Théodore!

      Totally agreed, friend. Quebec is truly a beautiful place and it deserves much better than the English. One of my political heroes in this “country” is Rene Levesque precisely because he so accurately and brilliantly made the case for Quebec’s independence.

      Thanks for reading!

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  4. I just discovered this blog, still wondering if it’s a joke, but as someone who grew up in Ontario and was only able to form about 2 lasting friendships in that zombie wasteland until moving to Quebec and choosing to become a French-Canadian, I can attest that so much of what is written on this blog is totally true. English Canada is a joke. It has nothing distinctive aside from Tim Horton’s and the dash in the Walmart logo instead of the star. But that would be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that most of them are assholes. Even when living in Ontario I noticed how Americans were more approachable than my own classmates and neighbors (I left out the u on purpose, assholes), and French-Canadians are even better. Now that I have kids, I’m purposely not teaching them English, not because I don’t think it’s useful, but because I don’t want them to identify as Canadians, which around here is synonymous with English-Canadian. Besides, there’s a saying: L’anglais, ça s’apprend pas, ça s’attrape, you don’t learn English, you catch it (like a cold). Meanwhile I’ll teach them Spanish or something prettier like Italian or Greek.

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    1. Hey Jeff!

      No joke – I hate English Canada with a passion. These people are useless; arrogant, crude, and illiterate. It really grinds my gears that cakers take jabs at Americans, Indigenous, and the Quebecois – three peoples who have on the whole shown me more kindness and have provided more meaningful, interesting human interaction than English Canada ever did. And of course the people insulting the French and the Americans are Anglo-scumbags who offer nothing of value.

      It sounds like your kids are in good hands. They don’t need to be burdened with cakerdom. Frankly, one of my life goals is to renounce my Canadian citizenship wholesale and move to the United States.

      Thanks for chiming in!

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  5. Canada is a lifeless and cultureless place, lacking any meaningful identity. Lacking a soul. People are zombie-like. Obsessed with material possessions, because there is not much else to do here.

    If you are a hermit type person (or a monk), you can explore unspoiled outdoors and enjoy the company of wild animals. But if you need a kind of social life, friendships, romantic love and adventure – pack up and go to the nearest international airport (Toronto Pearson in my case).

    I think the quote of Leopold Infeld (who lived in Toronto 70 years ago) suits here well:

    It must be good to die in Toronto. The transition between life and death would be continuous, painless and scarcely noticeable in this silent town. I dreaded the Sundays and prayed to God that if he chose for me to die in Toronto, he would let it be on a Saturday afternoon to save me from one more Toronto Sunday.

    Not much changed since then.

    About Montreal – it is better than English Canada, but not that much. The same boring song, but in French language. Sounds fancier, but the content is still the same. Unfortunately, all Western World is like that.

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    1. Hi Eugene, thanks for writing in!

      Thank you for the quote from Infeld – I had never heard that and a snippet of the quote is now my signature on the e-mail account I associate with this blog. I’m inclined to believe you regarding Montreal (though the focus on eliminating inner-city highways and the superior transit system really speak to the transit nerd in me) – when even the Champs-Élysées has devolved into generic mush there’s little to no hope for the cultureness morass that is Canada.

      Here’s hoping that both of us get out of this dumping ground of suck and to a palce where “a kind of social life, friendships, romantic love and adventure” are more than pipe dreams.

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      1. I am not actually a Canadian, I moved to Toronto about 2 years ago. And before I lived 4 years in Thailand. Despite having a very nice job that pays me well (I was lucky to find it), I am struggling to stay here.

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  6. Hello! Thank you for your blog. Can you please provide some facts about Canadian Immigration “conspiracy” (promotion of the immigration abroad by Canadian gov, so called “most livable cities in the world (Vancouver etc.)” ranks created by them). Since the government want to attract more immigrants to come to Canada by milking fees from each of the applicant etc. (including the savings the potential immigrant will bring to the country to spend). Those Ottawa “businessmen” are very smart on doing this, knowing pretty well that soon after the savings are spend, the newcomers will start taking a loan etc. etc. Another question. How to alert potential immigrants about the trap, Canadian government has prepared for them? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Marco! Thanks for writing in!

      Immigration into Canada is, as you’ve pointed out, hugely promoted abroad. Dear Leader Justin Trudeau recently announced his plan to hoover 300,000 a year into this trap of a country. I’ve talked about the work side of the trap in post #184 (https://shitaboutcanada.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/184-incredulous-canada/), but I haven’t really gotten into the foreign advertising angle in part because the data is hard to find. Canada doesn’t show its external propaganda internally, probably because it’s very easy to discredit from within the country.

      I recently watched a remarkable presentation here in Hamilton called We Are Not the Other, which discussed in part the incredible expense and heartbreak associated with moving here. When that video goes live I will post a link to it on this page. In the meantime, if you have any experience with the Canadian government lying about migration to you or any of your friends, please drop me a line. I’ve wanted to talk about this subject very much but haven’t really had much luck finding the actual propaganda Canada uses to effectively vampirize peoples’ lives and accounts.

      Thanks again for writing in, Marco. All the best to you and yours.

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  7. Hi. I’m one of those 285,000 (don’t know the exact number) immigrants who came to Canada in 2016. I stayed for just 2 months and returned home after spending half of my savings from work for 5 years. I felt cheated and depressed in this boring place. People are like pathetic here. Girls smoke like chimneys. Job scene sucks. Taxes are uncontrollable. Weather hits hard everytime. I’m glad that I left this backward frozen land soon after realizing my mistake.

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    1. Thank you so much for writing in! It sounds like you were lied to by the Canadian state like many other hundreds of thousands. It is a constant source of shame for me that my taxes pay for the lies that con folks like you into believing in this Soviet hellhole. Glad that you got out before they cheated you out of everything.

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      1. That’s right. Thank you!
        But you know what the problem is, people like me who come from 3rd world countries, get attracted towards the quality of life you have there. I know some guys who are living there for months without a job and still don’t want to come back. It was a tough decision for me as well.

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  8. We need more blogs like this about Canada. Especially ones that allow people to comment! Im talking to you Toronto Star.
    I currently reside in Toronto and have finally decided that its time to throw the white flag and formulate an exit plan!
    The social engineering out here is unreal.

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    1. Hi Amir! Thank you for writing in. I’m afraid that asking for honest media in Canada is kind of a lost cause – there are a few (check out CANADALAND), but on the whole Canada’s media is owned by oligarchs and practices cringeworthy “journalism”.

      Congrats for escaping Toronto! I hope the move out is easy and that you encounter as few cakers as possible as you get out of this Soviet mushpile of a country.

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  9. I’m an American who has toured fairly extensively in Canada, from Nova Scotia and PEI in the east to Vancouver/Victoria in the west. Montreal and Quebec City were easily our favorite cities there, both being much more interesting than any American city–including New York. We also liked the funkier areas of Toronto and breathtaking beauty of Vancouver and the Rockies. Additionally, as strangers we always seemed to find conversation companions in your pubs and sometimes even randomly on the street–something that’s nearly impossible south of the border where everyone is so suspicious of each other.

    On the other hand, I can see your point about the ugliness of the suburban and exurban areas, and I obviously can’t speak to what it is like to live in Canada rather than just visit for a couple of weeks at a time. Yet please believe me when I say that as Canadians you are far better off where you are rather than down here. Canada may be a cold, dull, dreary place to live, but at least your national culture isn’t psychotic and you don’y have random mass shootings once or twice a week.

    I freakin’ hate Donald Trump and live in what is stupidly referred to as “blue” America, but I was one of the very few who was fairly certain he was going to win. Why? Because that is who we are as a nation. There’s a real benefit to having the mask finally slip after being held in place by con artist Obama for 8 years and show the world who we really are.

    I greatly appreciate your blog, however. Much as I’d love to decamp from the U.S., I am very much aware that Canada is a lousy option in that regard. Many idiot American liberals want to go there because they think it is just like the US but without the Republicans, when the real problem is that other than the French part it is far TOO much like the U.S. People also tend to ignore the fact that moving hundreds or thousands of miles away from your support structure of friends and family is rarely a good idea if you aren’t rich or have highly valuable skills.

    Keep up the good work, hopefully you’ll be able to dissuade a few of my countrymen/women from making a serious mistake.

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    1. Hi Karl!

      Thank you for taking the time to write this – it’s an important argument and it’s well articulated here.

      Your opinion actually kind of mirrors my view of the United States, which I generally see as an interesting place with decent (if sometimes difficult) people. I found Americans to be less suspicious than Canadians; in my experience Americans will get to the point and say what they mean. Canada doesn’t even have a national culture, and Canada shares with America a tendency to normalize regular instances of violence and failure.

      Personally, I think Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump are two sides of the same coin. To paraphrase a friend of mine, both Canada and the United States elected rich, aristocratic buffoons who were elected on name recognition and absurd conspiracies about the opponents.

      The difference that I think makes me look to America is in a point you (and Slavoj Zizek) made – “[t]here’s a real benefit to having the mask finally slip”. You folks *know* that something bad happened; in Canada, the election of Justin Trudeau was this country seeing the mask coming off only to decide to snap the thing back into place. We had our chance and blew it. You folks historically see the problem and rise to the occasion.

      Thanks again for writing in, Karl. Oh, and French Canada is fascinating and profoundly distinct. Although I have been utterly entranced by plenty of American cities (Burlington, VT and Ann Arbor, MI to name two) and would take either of the above examples over most any English Canadian city there is a charm to Quebec that is hard to beat.

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    2. I have friends and relatives living in USA and living a decent life. They have beautiful houses and cars, go on holidays, and enjoy good social lives. On the other hand, I have never heard of any person who moved to Canada and achieved a lot in life. My cousin went to USA and found that people were friendly, supportive, and social. I found Canadians unfriendly, unsupportive, and not social at all.

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  10. I totally agree with your comment ” People also tend to ignore the fact that moving hundreds or thousands of miles away from your support structure of friends and family is rarely a good idea if you aren’t rich or have highly valuable skills.”
    This is the mistake 90% of the people make.

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  11. I am an American that has been in English Canada for 6 months. I am in a graduate program that is dramatically cheaper than what it would be in the US, where I would basically be purchasing a house to get an economically worthless degree. For this alone I have to have some degree of gratitude towards Canada, and no doubt you have not seen the real horrors of the US. I feel like some critical mass of my countrymen, more than 30-40 percent, could be made to believe almost anything with even a moderate amount of televisual programming, and lord knows how long an advanced civilization can endure in that state of cognitive decay.

    With that said, here are some observations on Canada, good and bad:

    – It is very refreshing to live someplace where not everything needs to have this Disneyesque, theatrical aspect to it. I have a degree of appreciation for the sobriety here, even if it is comparatively boring in many ways.

    – Canadians are terrified of being wrong. This limits their potential. Then again, I come from a country where our leaders constantly make massive errors and pay no price whatsoever, and people repeat all kinds of ignorance daily. I guess it’s worth the freedom to innovate?

    – I imagine America ending in some kind of mass psychosis. I imagine Canada ending in everybody quietly going their own way.

    – After just a few months, I really struggle to remember I am even in a foreign country. Maybe this is because I am a post-TV Millennial, and TV is all that holds the US together for most American adults. The cultural differences between US states and institutions seem just as large. Perhaps this prefigures a future reshaping of North America.

    – While Canadian students are very non-participatory, there is also much more expected of them. I have met many humble, quietly competent researchers. Standards are not bent nearly as frivolously here. By contrast, American academic standards are almost non-existent and entirely political, especially in the humanities. I get emails for conferences in the US, and I just delete them upon receiving. Utter trendiness and decadence.

    – Higher education is one of the US’ biggest scams. We have no native scholar class whatsoever. We stole some German scientists for cred, went on an insane post-war marketing campaign, and convinced everybody that Harvard, in and of itself, means something. I prefer Canada’s system of unranked, balanced institutions, something more akin to the Continental European model. As the world has seen, Obama was American “scholarship”, and I would not be surprised at all if universities simply cease to exist in the near future as a backlash against that system.

    – In both Canada and the US, foreign students seem to be the only ones interested in doing any serious learning.

    – In both Canada and the US, life is stale, mechanical, and monotonous.

    Overall, I think about it this way – we both have “New World” problems. We both lack an inherent identity, and only can synthesize one, and so we make up for this reality in two different ways. America creates an overbearing, loud identity, and goes through extreme periods of stress when these inauthentic syntheses are challenged. The wounds are never really healed, we just shout louder and louder through every crisis. We pretend that civil rights were solved, we insist that our businesses are producing real economic outcomes, we take your children and force them to participate in the big American project, even if that just means being on the football team. You can’t sit on the sidelines, you need to gratify our ego. It’s the narcissistic response to being left out as a British colony and told to make of life what you will.

    Canada took the opposite approach – understatement, despair, politeness. It’s still not a complete identity, it’s still a coping strategy. It’s the passive-aggressive response to identity crisis, which allows many *apparent* concessions (Quebec, Americanization, the Queen’s face being everywhere, etc.) but feels slighted nonetheless.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for writing in.

      I’d like to offer some thoughts on your thoughts:

      – I disagree about the Disney comment. Canada is full of Potemkin wealth. If you drive into Toronto on the Gardiner you’ll see miles and miles of Dubai-like skyline in the form of terrible condos. I call this style of construction “architectural masturbation”, and I haven’t seen its like in the places I usually go to in the US.

      – Canadians are terrified of being called out for being wrong. Being wrong isn’t a problem, but the idea that someone else might know that you’re wrong is the stuff of nightmares. Thus the endless excuses and misdirections that cakers love to offer.

      – English Canada is very similar to the United States – far more so than anyone here wants to admit.

      – In my experience at post-secondary there was very little expected of me and even less punishment for not following through. I’ve seen people stealing doctors’ pads, plagarism – hell, more than one of my classmates opted to take an extra year of school in hopes that an “easy” professor would be teaching a mandatory class next year. I don’t have a cognate for American studies, but I have heard that scholarship is in decline throughout the English-speaking world and Canada offers a fine example.

      – There are totally ranks in Canadian schools – they just aren’t official. Maclean’s publishes the list every year, right down to the party school index (which I think is a telling sign of the state of Canadian universities). The Ivy League of Canada is: U of T, Queens, McGill, and UBC (which started as McGill’s Western branch). Everyone else is a mush.

      – The comment about foreign students is absolutely true.

      – I like the idea of synthetic identities but I’d like to suggest that the major difference is that Canada’s ersatz nationhood is built on slavish loyalty to the Empire with the subsequent reactionary fear of reform coming along for the ride. American ideals are more noble to my mind, though the follow-through is certainly debateable.

      Thanks again for writing it! I appreciate any well-written point of view that recognizes Canadian problems as more than things to laugh aside.

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      1. A few replies…

        – By the Disney attitude, I mean the extremely exaggerated and over the top inflections in speech and everyday life. The world is starting to see what many Americans have put it up with daily for years now that Trump is in office. To an American, everything is either GREAT or TERRIBLE. It’s a national system of communication designed for an excitable, over-caffeinated five year old.

        I think many people think that it’s some kind of authentic exuberance, but it’s actually a kind of emotion on command. It makes authentic emotion almost impossible, since emotion is just this 1-dimensional public display.

        Which is not to say that Canada is any better… it feels the opposite, genuinely repressive. But you have to realize that America really is like the Matrix… most people take televisual programming absolutely literally, to the point where we are a reality TV show nation. Serious scholarship? HA! You get farther by pretending you are from The Big Bang Theory. It’s a medieval peasant form of awareness.

        – The sense I get of most of the professors here is that they really wish they were British, but they aren’t. I can see the colonial print, which is good in some ways. It does, I think, bring a somewhat higher standard of expectations, because there is at least a model of “Europeanism” and “scholarship”. By contrast, the US educational world is mostly full of extremely inflated mediocrities who see their job as a step ladder to celebrity. After the age of 45 or so, they then become bitter trolls since that didn’t work out.

        Americans want education to be relevant. An admirable goal, but one now totally corrupted. At the current rate, we are a generation away from college lectures and Oprah being totally indistinguishable. American professors not only lower their standards to meet pop culture, they do so eagerly, thinking it will make them relevant.

        Canada’s universities may be troubled, but I don’t think they will go that route. The problem again here seems to be the opposite – indifference to relevance, and disengagement with students. I feel like they are trying to be old Brits.

        Thanks for the reply, and your work. It’s time the entire English-speaking world really took some hard looks at itself. English-speaking countries have been good at governmental and economic outcomes, but have clearly left a massive amount of their citizenry living lives of quiet desperation largely unknown on the continent. I think there is a degree of hierarchy that cloaks itself behind liberal ideals, and too much focus on domination over quality, culture, and originality. I have to say that the originality of the US was once such a wonderful thing, and allows me to feel some kinship with people like Jack Kerouac and Bill Withers. The US used to be about creating, today it’s just about marketing.

        But, with that said, there is some value in Canada’s colonial ties. It’s like the US turned on Britain and then immediately set out to become its own imperial project. Our fractured relationship with Britain is something we have never resolved, and likely never will resolve. Our national story begins with the parents being suddenly expelled, and we are just left to create meaning for ourselves. Maybe it explains the massive overcompensation. When Canada, or some seceded aspect of it, acquires a firmer identity, it will be firmer and less compensatory.

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  12. Canada is a terrible place to live, you are better of shriveling dead in the cold here, this place is a hell of artic ice cold basks.

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  13. “Indigenous relations are at rock-bottom, attached to and attacked by English Canada at every turn, occasionally governed by Liberals.”

    Liberals have been in power more often than any other party in the last 100 years, and have been in office for the last 15 years uninterrupted. It is quite possible they will remain there for the next 15 as well. That’s because whereas the nation of Québec has an assortment of political parties, and their vote is spread out between them, the English Canadians and ethnic communities here unconditionally vote for the Liberals, as if they were their home sports team or something. Therefore, while you say:

    “Or I suppose Quebec is always an option, though they wisely do their own thing with immigration and I know nothing about that system so you’re on your own.”

    In fact we are currently not in control of our immigration whatsoever. For the potential candidate to be a new citizen of Québec, selection will be based mainly on your potential to become an English-speaking only Canadian.

    You, the immigrant, will be able to live out your entire life in Montréal in English, while our Québec provincial government will fully pay for your integration in English Canada’s society and your children’s English schooling. The liberals will cater for every one of your needs, however radical separatists such as myself will shun you and despise you (despite our Catholic ancestry’s tradition of generosity and solidarity) because ultimately you will have been brought here by the Loyal Order of Orange government from Ottawa to destroy our nation. You’ll get to call me and my people racists for that, with the full approval from every level of English Canadian society.

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  14. I used to visit family in Canada using my British passport. Now, the bastards are saying that I can’t enter Canada as a dual national without a Canadian passport. I have done the research: a 10-year passport is $260, renouncing my citizenship is $100. Something to consider.

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  15. The comments about the culture and friendships in Canada are true. I made no real friendships there and keep in touch with no one since coming back to South Africa. The people are cold and soulless.

    Try as I might, I can’t really think of anything endearing, except lots of empty space. The scenery is the only attraction, but it is only accessible a few months a year. The people, no thanks. The only thing that sticks in my mind is their anti-apartheid BS, even when they took their land from Indians, and wiped them out. They have no clue about what happens in other nations, but have lots to say about it. What hypocrites. Never in my life has I felt like wanting to hit people so often, and resorting to comments like ‘please leave me alone and don’t talk me. Then we will get along fine’.

    The standard of living sucks compared to what i have in South Africa. On the material side, far bigger home and property, I can run more vehicles and toys and afford hobbies, can eat out more etc. But more importantly, is the far superior way of life. Much friendlier more hospitable people that care about each other, a proper culture with its own way of doing things and thinking (not just a cheap copy of plastic USA) empty space and lots of bush and dirt roads to ride, far superior weather, beaches, mountains. On the negative is the crime and violence, but if you are capable of defending yourself it leaves you alone. As a professional person, you get by fine here. But since their is no welfare state to speak off, if you don’t have a marketable skill you are on the street with no income and no health care.

    I am so glad I did not settle and have kids in Canada. Raising my kids in South Africa has given them a much healthier upbringing and mindset. They also grow up knowing they have to be strong and make a life. There is no nanny state and entitlement complex to look after them here if they do not succeed. They travel to Europe to experience other culture, thankfully avoiding plastic north american life.

    The west makes men whiny, entitled and effeminate tame house cats. Best to go have a look, a good laugh, and GTFO.

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  16. I agree with a lot of what you say about Canada. I do not agree with you that French Canadians are any different from the rest. During my time in the military, I worked with several Quebecois and the differences were superficial. Basically, it was just down to the accent. I have liked Canadians as individuals, but I am glad that I have dual nationality and that I live outside Canada.

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    1. There are no Quebecers in the Canadian army, and there is no relation between Quebecers and French-Canadians other than language. “Quebecer” literally means “Not French-Canadian”.

      French-Canadians are indeed indiscernible from any other type of full-on cakers. Those alive now are the last of their generations, their children are going to english schools then living out their lives in english, knowing nothing about the culture of Quebec.

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