Canada: So Great Canadians Love To Leave It

My father is one of the finest men Canada has produced in the past 40 years.  I think he’s as Canadian as a Canadian can be. He immigrated to Alberta from Hong Kong in the 1970s while in his teens to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta.

He graduated top of his class, landed a job with a Canadian oil and gas company and worked very hard his whole adult life, never changing jobs.

He paid lots of taxes, explaining to me it was a patriotic, Canadian duty.  Today, I think he was a chump for thinking so.  His taxes weren’t paying for roads, hospitals or schools in Alberta.  They were funding federal transfer payments to Quebec, bribing the Québécois to be Canadian.

My father taught my brother and I how to play hockey.  I gave up in my childhood, my brother plays to this very day. 

He looked at me with a disappointed, patronizing gaze of condescension when I told him I wanted to join the Canadian Army Reserves when I was 16.  

A year later, running around in threadbare olive combats (uniform) from the 80s, yelling “budget cuts, budget cuts” shooting “liberal bullets,” from my invisible C9 machine gun, I understood why.

In my 20s my father  became an executive at his company, one of Canada’s largest oil and gas producers.  He retired young at the age of 55, but not before being a public spokesperson for the entire Canadian oil and gas industry.

My father then did something that most Canadians do when they become successful.

He left Canada.

My father is now a “snowbird.”  

A Canadian retiree who owns a home somewhere nice, outside of Canada.  

He stays in Canada when it suits him and when the brutal Canadian winter (or government) hits, he and my Mom escape to somewhere that isn’t an inhospitable, frozen, wasteland of bureaucratic totalitarianism and government thievery.

Herein lies one of the most pathetic aspects of being Canadian.

The hallmark of a successful Canadian is the ability to leave Canada.

“Canadian” celebrities live in the US permanently.  Just ask Justin Beiber, Ryan Gosling, Seth Rogen, Celine Dion, Paul Brandt, Jim Carrey, Pamela Anderson and so on and so on.

Wealthy Canadians buy luxury homes in Florida or Las Vegas cheaper than entry level single family houses in “big” Canadian cities like Vancouver or Toronto, and stay there at least 180 days a year.

Young middle and working Class Canadians gush and fantasize about dream vacations on tropical beaches in Mexico and Hawaii, the culture and civility of Europe, or the wild red light districts of South Asia.  

They call it a “love of travelling.”  

If they were honest, they would call it a “love of temporarily escaping from their miserable, decrepit Canadian existence.”
Many Canadians who travel extensively have a smug, self righteous attitude towards people who don’t travel very much.

It’s almost as if travel-bug Canadians have an inferiority complex they feel the need to compensate for with the number of stamps on their passports.

The reality is Canada is such an unpleasant place to be in that personal separation from Canada is natural and desirable.

Canada is pathetic.  

If it truly was a great place to be, there would be better reasons to stay than our currency  being worthless.  (Trading for $0.70 USD today – a decade low).

To personally separate one’s self from Canada is as Canadian as maple syrup poutine with a can of Molsen Canadian on Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals (between two American teams).

If personal separation from Canada is so normal, why would provincial separation be any different?

In separation, we have a chance to build a new nation that, despite the harsh climate and geography, isn’t so terrible to live in that the cultural norm is to leave it as soon and as often as possible.

As a personal afterthought, I started writing this on my iPhone on the last day of a 7 day cruise in Mexico with my wife, kids and parents.  I finished it waiting in gate 23 of LAX in Los Angeles.  My WestJet flight was delayed by an hour because of bad weather in Calgary.

It was a nice vacation and long overdue.

I’m not excited at all about going back to Canada.  especially with my parents being typical Canadian retirees, going back to their nice Las Vegas winter home until the weather gets nicer in Canada.

I like the weather back home in Alberta better than all this tropical sunshine.  

I missed my home in Calgary and am very happy to be coming back in the dead of the harsh Alberta winter.  

I miss the people, the REAL Albertans who are honest, tenacious, enterprising, rugged and independent. 

Like true Westerners, real Albertans are the kind of people who endure and make a harsh, unforgiving land habitable and hospitable.

I’d rather be back in Alberta than on a luxury cruiseliner docked in a harbour in Los Angeles.

Then again, I am an Alberta separatist… On vacation away from Canada.





4 thoughts on “Canada: So Great Canadians Love To Leave It

  1. I like this article and it is correct for the most part except that I am retired but I still love Alberta. When I visit my daughter and her family in the US I can’t wait to get back here even if it is cold and snowing. The only way I will leave here is in a box.


    1. It sounds to me you are more of an Albertan than a Canadian. That was the point I was trying to highlight – what real Albertans appreciate they assume to be Canadian is actually Alberta itself. I’m the same way – I love Alberta. Canada as a whole, not quite so much Alberta’s neighbours are alright. The East – not so much.


  2. I live in the US, permanently. My job is here and I have permanent residency status here, but I’m still a Canadian citizen. That doesn’t make me any less an Albertan or a Canadian. I care when my family and friends in Alberta are hurting which they are. I live here because the opportunities for my career are better here, and have been for years. I’ve lived further south than I am and no snow at all doesn’t feel right, some areas don’t feel right. Guess I’m really looking for a piece of home that I can get down here. A lot of the Midwest US people remind me of the people that I know in Alberta, a friend of mine called them “salt of the earth” people. Where they’ll stop and help if somebody is stuck or needs their help.


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