Happy Weekend, America!
Now that Super Tuesday is done and you are one step closer to electing your first former reality television superstar president, you may be starting to take seriously that old election chestnut that if so-and-so wins, you’ll just move to Canada.
In the 2007 romantic comedy movie Blue State, a gung-ho Democrat promises to go there after George Bush beats John Kerry. Now, what about the prospect of Donald Trump hovering his fingers over the “launch the nukes” button? Well, if that’s too scary, you’re in luck. Cape Breton is apparently happy to have you. You’ll get healthcare for life, and my own province is about to roll out free university for poor people. What could be better?
At the same time, there are a few things about Canada you should know.
1) I hope you like e-books.
E-books are going to be the future in Canada. That’s because nobody will be able to afford a house full of bookshelves. If you want to move to any city (aka ‘place with jobs’) it’s going to cost you. Good luck getting a detached home in Toronto for under 800K, and in Vancouver, it’s even worse.
2) Better budget for internet.
Telecommunications in Canada is highly regulated. Most internet packages have data caps; unlimited service will run you at least $50 a month once the cellphone-style promo prices expire after your first few months. But hey, they just passed a law requiring every cable company to offer a basic TV package for no more than $25, so if you still like network television, there’s that!
3) Good news, we have Netflix!
On a related note, the Netflix situation is not as straightforward here. Territorial licensing issues restrict the selection somewhat, first of all. Of course, techie that you are, there are ways to get ‘American’ Netflix if you are bent on it—but, see above, re. data-capped Internet and be careful or you’ll get an overage charge on your bill that will make your eyes bug out.
If you are a Rogers customer (don’t worry if you don’t know who that is, they are one of the handful of ‘highly-regulated telecommunications’ congloms I mentioned, so you will surely find out) you can use a copycat service called Shomi which has the benefit of not counting toward your data usage, but has the downside of kinda sucking.
Oh, and Hulu+? Amazon Prime Video? Ha ha ha. Not so fast, hotshot. We don’t have those! Instead, you can pay the same for Netflix with about a third less content. Or you can pay $25 for the budget cable the government wants you to have.
4) Bad news, we have a terrible tabloid scene.
Yeah, our news cycles are a little boring here. America has Donald Trump, the Kardashians, and that show where people can win back their cars from being repossessed by answering trivia questions. Canada has Margaret Atwood, Celine Dion and a TV network which airs non-stop episodes of a show where a trainer tells fat people what they need to do to lose weight, and they obey everything he says, and they lose weight.
Oh, we did have a crack-smoking mayor who was friends with a Somali drug lord, but he’s gone now. But our prime minister is kind of hot. So there’s that.
5) Oh, but we do have some American-like shows.
Like Shark Tank, I love that show! Except that it’s called Dragon’s Den here, and the main ‘dragon’ is the owner of Boston Pizza, who also used to be a Mountie. I know, it’s adorable, right?
Oh, and we do have a teen drama show. But when they do anything sinful, they get punished for it and learn to do better next time, and it’s over in one episode.
6) The shopping is terrible.
Sorry, but I have to warn you about this. The shopping is terrible. We do still have a major book chain, but they mostly sell Moleskine products and American Girl dolls. We did have Target, but they sucked so nobody shopped there. And yes, you can order anything you want online these days (with your very, very expensive internet) but you’ll pay a king’s ransom to ship things here because we are in the arctic hinterlands.
Oh, but we do have our own Amazon. That’s the good news. The bad is there is no budget tablet and you have to pay almost as much as an iPad if you want their nicest Kindle. But hey, it’s something!
So, there you have it. Welcome to Canada! I’d offer to come visit you to welcome you over, but your house will not really be big enough for entertaining, and there is nothing good on Netflix right now so I’m not sure what we would do together. Good luck, though! Have you been to Cape Breton yet? I hear it’s lovely this time of year…