Mar 06 2009
My good friends and American expats David and Pam Drucker moved to Vancouver to escape the perfect storm of economic and social catastrophe they foresaw overtaking the land of the free years ago. The Bush years of economic mismanagement and knuckleheaded militarism appear only to have hastened the rot from what may be a structural weakness in American society.
David and Pam are wonderful people, intelligent, highly professional who possess that spark of ambition and entrepreneurial spirit that one tends to associate with people born in the US (although David has noted previously that, if anything, he sees a higher level of entrepreneurial spirit right here in Vancouver). And despite the optimism that a new administration in Washington is bringing to Americans, I expect their well-timed move to Vancouver before the current time of crisis began may be a precursor of a much larger migration.
I’m not trying to gloat or hold our good fortune over the old friends and family we left behind in the States, but perhaps they can now understand why we don’t seem to have the same level of dread and panic when we talk about our economic prospects that they do. Canadians right now seem to be more confident, and less likely to respond emotionally to the news (partly because our news is also less sensationalistic). Given that we have better safety nets, including health care, a stable banking system, and even our food inspection system, which caught the bad peanut butter when it came to the border, that’s not all that surprising. Pam and I find ourselves continually shaking our heads as we watch the Evening News from the major US TV Networks, sometimes in relief, and sometimes in bewilderment that things in the country we left have gotten so bad.
Long term, I have high hopes that US President Obama can somehow repair the train wreck that is the contemporary USA — not only because I have a soft spot for Americans and American ideals generally, but because as Canadians we are dependent on a healthy society to our south. Short term, I recognize that my friends made the right decision in coming up here and wonder whether their presence is really just the beginning of a longer-term and larger-scale migration to our peaceful dominion.