Politics

This Canadian Island Wants Trump Refugees

February 18th 2016

By:
Alex Mierjeski

A small island off Canada's east coast is making a unique pitch to Americans who dislike Donald J. Trump: Move here if the Trump family moves into the White House.


via giphy.com

"Hi Americans! Donald Trump may become the President of your country!" the landing page for Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins states to future American expatriates. "If that happens, and you decide to get the hell out of there, might I suggest moving to Cape Breton Island!"

Cape Breton if Trump Wins

The "I'll move to Canada" refrain is a common one in domestic American politics — especially around an election seasons with polarizing candidates. Following George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, the CBC reported that the number of Americans visiting Canada's immigration website increased six-fold within hours of Bush's acceptance speech.

Only about 1,000 more Americans than usual actually moved north across the border in the year after Bush was reelected, but to Cape Breton Island, those numbers are enticing — especially if they are only a fraction of the potential surge of Americans that might try to distance themselves from the implications of a Trump presidency.

The website urges preemptive action:

"Don't wait until Donald Trump is elected president to find somewhere else to live! Start now, that way, on election day, you just hop on a bus to start your new life in Cape Breton, where women can get abortions, Muslim people can roam freely, and the only 'walls' are holding up the roofs of our extremely affordable houses."

Cape Breton If Trump Wins

As it turns out, the move could be mutually beneficial. Cape Breton, once a hub for coal mining, has been in a spiral of population decline for decades as out-of-work residents sought out work in the oil fields of Alberta. According to some estimations, the island is projected to continue on that path, losing about 1,000 residents each year over the next two decades.

Cape Breton If Trump Wins

Cape Breton, If Trump Wins seeks to stem the tide of outgoing residents by poaching Americans jumping ship pending a Trump presidency. According to Rob Calabrese, a local radio host who created the site, American elections could be a good way to attract new residents. "We know from previous elections that no matter what, there's a group of people who say, 'If so-and-so wins I'm moving to Canada.' We hope to get those people," he told Grist.

Grist pointed out that for prospective émigrés, the actual immigration process might be a bit more involved than, say, pointing immigration officials to the "Bernie 2016 sticker on their Volvo." But Calabrase said the website had been given the go-ahead by the island's tourism board, which has a team set up to take questions from interested parties.

It is unclear at press time how willingly Cape Breton would accept Trump supporters fleeing a Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton White House. ATTN: reached out, but did not hear back by the time of publication. We will update accordingly.

Calabrese told Grist: "Trump is scary."

[h/t Grist]