Exodus of Americans fails to materialize
U.S. election posturing: Number applying to move to Canada actually declines

National Post, with files from news services

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Ottawa - The number of Americans applying to live in Canada actually fell in the six months after George W. Bush was re-elected president last November, despite dire warnings by Democratic Party supporters.

The latest figures released by Statistics Canada show 14,666 Americans applied to emigrate between November, 2004, and March, 2005, according to figures supplied by the main Canadian processing centre in Buffalo, N.Y.

That's 1,600 fewer than had submitted applications in the six months leading up to the U.S. election.

In the days after Mr. Bush's victory, U.S. media were full of reports that liberal-leaning Americans were headed north to escape the red tide of Republicanism washing over much of the United States.

The number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site shot up sixfold.

Many organizations that established Web sites to help the wannabe Canadians relocate also experienced heavy traffic.

But the flood never materialized.

Toby Condliffe, who chairs the Canadian chapter of Democrats Abroad, said he is not surprised there was no exodus of despondent left-leaning voters.

"There's more to moving than just politics," he said.

"There's family and other considerations that start to take hold when you start to think about it seriously."

People eventually just calmed down after Democrat candidate John Kerry lost the election, he said.

On the face of it this is not good news -- Canada is one of the few major nations seeking to attract immigrants -- but Joe Volpe, the federal Immigration Minister, was philosophical.

"We'll take talent from wherever it is resident in the world," he told Reuters.

"I was absolutely elated to see the number of hits and then my staff said, 'You know what? A hit on the Internet is after all just a hit.' "

"I guess I'm happy Republicans and Democrats have found a way to live together in peace and in harmony," he added.

Mr. Condliffe offered another explanation for the lack of eager American immigrants.

"I can only assume the Americans who checked out the Web site subsequently checked out our winter temperatures and further took note that the National Hockey League was being locked out and had second thoughts," he said.

Last year, Canada, which has a population of about 32 million, accepted 235,808 immigrants from all over the world.