Blog reader and contributor J. Vanne continues to share his knowledge regarding Canada. Thanks J. for taking the time!
Central Canada: Ontario
In this article, I continue to look at Canada as a relocation
possibility. This time, we examine Ontario, known as Upper Canada (as in
“up” the St. Lawrence River) in olden days. We will not examine “Lower
Canada” – Quebec – as in my opinion, anyone relocating to Quebec, known
as La Belle Province (The Beautiful Province), to avoid an economic or
societal meltdown may as well also look at Greece, Spain or Argentina.
Yes, Montreal is a fun city, and there are indeed areas, such as the
eastern townships (for example the area around Sherbrooke, Quebec) that
are similar to Vermont in terms of agricultural activities. However,
Quebec has serious issues. Yes, the separatist movement has died down,
as the “pure laines” (the pure blood French) have aborted themselves
into oblivion, and immigrants know their collective gooses would be
cooked in an independent Canada. They are also aware that Quebec, which
has a population of around 8 million – not all of which are francophones
– exists in a sea of just under 400 million in North America (if one
excludes Mexico). Exactly what kind of economic future does one have as a
unilingual francophone is not question that goes unasked for immigrants
to Quebec. All of this notwithstanding, Montreal – which was originally
the hub of business for Canada until the separatists pushed that down
the 401 highway to Toronto in the 1980s – is making a bit of a comeback
relative to economic activities today.
There are other issues. Quebec is dyed in the wool socialist. In
fact, one individual ran for provincial premier a few years ago
advocating for a four day work week (heck, why not advocate for
a TWO day workweek, as long as one is at it!). The aboriginal peoples
want nothing to do with the French – and they inhabit around 90% of the
landmass, including the area up around James Bay and Hudson Bay, which
are the sites of massive hydroelectric dams that create a goodly amount
of revenue for the province. And here’s the issue with that: During the
last serious separatist referendum in the early 1990s (I lived in
Ottawa, and also just across the border in Quebec during that period), a
referendum was taken of the aboriginal peoples. The result? 95% (!)
wanted to stay with English Canada if there was a separation. Would this
result in violence? The Oka crisis of two decades ago showed the native
peoples could, in fact, resort to violence. What would happen to
revenue from electricity transmission to the US, a major source funds
for Quebec, if the aboriginal people blew up a pylon providing
electricity to the US? You can bet your bottom dollar that would be a
social and political nightmare. Meanwhile, If you are anglophone, there
still is some anti-English sentiment (you will be a “squarehead” or one
of “the evil English” if you are not French, to some people). There is
more, but the key issue is that I will not take the time to review
Quebec in that it is mostly kneejerk leftist. End of story in my books.
Incidentally, if you really want Gallic culture, have you considered
St. Pierre and Miquelon? Two small islands off of Newfoundland, they are literally part of France. They are tiny – but something to keep in the back of your mind, if for no other reason than to win a pink pie in Trivial Pursuit.
Note that I do not have any animosity to Quebeckers. I have many
Quebecois friends, and some are as conservative as you or me. I have
lived in Quebec, and was married in Quebec. But, similar to California,
you will be in sea of leftists, and that should be a central
consideration, if, in fact, there is some type of economic meltdown.
Quebec alternates between being run by the uber left Bloc Quebecois, the
leftist Liberal party, and now the hyper left NDP party is also making
inroads. You might be better off in Chavez’s Venezuela – at least the
gasoline is cheaper.
The above being said, let’s turn to Ontario. As noted in my previous
articles, the great divide between west and east is that after one
leaves Winnipeg, Manitoba – which is just off the map on the far left of
the chart below – there is very little until one reaches the Toronto
area. Thus, there is a massive, discrete physical, geographic
divide in Canada that the US simply doesn’t have. This is due to the
Canadian Shield area north of Lake Superior, which does not support much
of anything other than fishing, mining and a few polar bears if you
get far enough north.