The number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site has shot up six-fold as Americans flirt with the idea of abandoning their homeland after President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s election win this week.
"When we looked at the first day after the election, Nov. 3, our Web site hit a new high, almost double the previous record high," immigration ministry spokeswoman Maria Iadinardi said on Friday.
On an average day some 20,000 people in the United States log onto the Web site, www.cic.gc.ca -- a figure which rocketed to 115,016 on Wednesday. The number of U.S. visits settled down to 65,803 on Thursday, still well above the norm.
Bush's victory sparked speculation that disconsolate Democrats and others might decide to start a new life in Canada, a land that tilts more to the left than the United States.
Would-be immigrants to Canada can apply to become permanent resident, a process that often takes a year. The other main way to move north on a long-term basis is to find a job, which requires a work permit.
Canada is one of the few major nations with an large-scale immigration policy. Ottawa is seeking to attract between 220,000 and 240,000 newcomers next year.
"Let's face it, we have a population of a little over 32 million and we definitely need permanent residents to come to Canada," said Iadinardi. "If we could meet (the 2005) target and go above it, the more the merrier."
The waiting time to become a citizen is shorter for people married to Canadians, which prompted the birth of a satirical Web site called www.marryanamerican.ca.
"As Canadians, you'll have to learn to embrace and use all the products and culture of Americans, while bad-mouthing their way of life," he said.
Having a discussion with a friend this morning we thought it might just be easier for the parts of the US that are actually "progressive" (see map below) to just join Canada, as opposed to having all of the residents immigrate. Now that would be worth some discussion. And if interested, any American Democrat women looking for a change of nationality and want to meet a budding entrepreneur in the technology world, and are in any way, shape or form, interested in my mishapen malformed mug, drop me a comment or two.... :)