move from the U.S. to Canada (specifically Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, or Vancouver) in 2-6 years. I especially welcome input from MeFites who have lived in both countries.
So here's the background. We are in our early thirties and have lived in the U.S. all our lives, myself in a wide variety of states and Mrs. Augustus in only one. I have a master's in English and ten years of experience teaching writing courses (general freshman comp and advanced writing for business majors) in a public university; Mrs. Augustus expects to have a B.S. in Nursing in a year and a half, and already has some work experience as a CNA. We have many friend/family ties in the U.S. but less than half a dozen are truly close; we know no one in Canada. I have traveled overseas and we have both traveled across the U.S. quite a bit. We are not wealthy
, but we don't quite live paycheck-to-paycheck, which would seem to make us more well-off than most Americans.
We have decided that (read: we do not need convincing one way or the other) we don't want to live in the U.S. anymore. Apart from my wife's schooling, nothing is tying us down and we therefore seek to get out ASAP. We intensely dislike various facets of American political, social, economic, and cultural life; the things we do
like about the U.S. (certain places/geographical regions, much of the food, selected movies/TV series) are enjoyable via travel or importing.
Ultimately we're trying to determine if Canada is right for us, so for the sake of context, here is an overview of why the U.S. isn't
(you can skip this if you can already guess, heh):
- We consider it neither a democracy nor a republic, but a plutocratic empire; we recognize that the electorate is and will remain woefully uninformed, thereby ensuring that Democratic sleazebags and Republican wackos will continue to control the course of the country (their collective incompetence ensuring an ultimately destructive course); we find that the near-religious veneration of American rugged individualism has birthed a populace bereft of sympathy and humanitarianism, even in our comparatively less tooth-gnashing region—and that's not even getting into the vastly unequal class system and the myth of the "American dream" that keeps so many poor schmucks in thrall, in debt, and voting Republican. Back in 2004, when we reelected George W. Bush, we began very seriously considering moving to Canada, but at the time Mrs. Augustus was not yet on the nursing path and we judged my employability alone to be insufficient to ensure a successful emigration and comfortable Canadian life. When Obama was elected, neither of us jumped on the Hope and Change bandwagon, and our dubiousness—notably shared by no one we knew personally—has since been proven correct. And I trust we need not even get into the Tea Party movement (flash-in-the-pan though it may well be) and the number of Lawrence Britt's fourteen defining characteristics of fascism that have already been met.
- We are also routinely bothered by American culture. Pandering news and entertainment media that treats its audience like infants; professional sports operating on monetary scales so exaggerated as to invite comparisons to dinosaurs or moai (in ridiculousness and obvious collapse symbolism); rampant jingoism; police that'll taze you for looking at them wrong; everybody has to have a car (or two) and other drivers suck; etc. etc. We know, as Americans, that not all Americans are assholes—but enough of them are assholes that they reduce the quality of life for everybody else. (On at least three occasions I have personally been subject to verbal harassment and physical threats over sociopolitical issues, and I'm not even all that outspoken—I'm not one of these people with a hundred bumper stickers all over his car.)
- We also have economic reasons. In the last twenty years, wages in America have remained stagnant but the cost of everything continues to increase, especially utilities, and the odds of that improving look pretty bad these days (though obviously the big crash has had global impact too). In a country with no real social safety net, this is all the more worrisome, even for those of us who are white and educated—for example, we could not own a house for another twenty years unless we were willing to go into crippling debt, and we aren't.
- The U.S. isn't well situated to endure the resource shortages we're likely to see soon, for all of the above political, economic, and cultural reasons. Obviously no place is immune, but most places aren't filled to the brim with guns and competitive animosity toward one's countrymen.
I have read several previous getting-out-of-the-U.S. threads and it seems like every reference to Canada paints a rosier and rosier picture. Really what we are looking for is "things that suck about living in Canada" (specifically Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, or Vancouver) a la the "Tell me everything awful about New Zealand
" thread. We welcome Memails from those of you who don't want to gripe too publicly :) ...We also welcome references to websites and communities that offer the perspective of insiders who know both the U.S. and Canada.
Other notes for context: Climate-wise, we prefer winter to summer and could handle just about anything less punishing than the Yukon. We are not big "nightlife" people; we go to bars maybe once or twice a year, usually for karaoke. We do like nature but are not huge outdoor-sports-people. I have ~$10k of federal student loan debt left to repay. We recently got the book Getting Out
Right now we aren't looking for suggestions to alternatives to Canada. We may consider Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, or Scandinavia, but for this thread Canada is our focus (it seems to be the most practical option).