This article originally appeared on VICE Canada
Well, this is like some awful dystopian nightmare, isn't it? Really fucked this one up, didn't we? Probably shouldn't have let the extremely xenophobic and bad British public vote on something with such profound and long-lasting economic consequences, should they? This writer's clearly trying to bulk out the word count because he's too hungover and sad to create anything of value but desperately needs to get paid in any currency that isn't pound sterling, isn't he?
Time was, if the state of politics in the UK got too miserable to deal with, you could just hop on a ferry over to mainland Europe and start a new life in a country of similarly widespread racism but slightly better pastries and more joie de vivre. Not now, though. This time the burn was started by someone welding shut the fire escape and all we could do was watch in horror as they doused the building in petrol [or gasoline as you'll soon be calling it] until the flames consumed us all.
With Europe increasingly off limits and the United States still managing to be the literal worst country in the developed world, Brits are turning to nice, liberal, polite Canada for refuge. As a recent British export myself, I have tried to present my fellow countrymen with the objective facts about what to expect.
I'm still fresh enough out of the hellhole that is England to be enamoured by even the most vaguely competent liberal politician, to the extent that I'm willing to overlook the fact Justin Trudeau isn't all panda cuddles and upper body brawn. But at the very least he seems, you know, nice, and for a country whose most influential politicians are now Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, give me panda-lover Justin any day. But it ain't all cutesy photo ops: Rob Ford's death earlier in the year brought a bizarre conclusion to the wholly bizarre trainwreck that was Rob Ford's life. The crack-smoking scandal was pretty much the least offensive part of Ford's career, and if you despair at the closeted-racism of much of the British political class, it's worth remembering Ford was a proudly bigoted man with reputed criminal affiliations who tore apart much of Toronto's infrastructure. Also Quebec politics is rife with French racists, a.k.a. the worst kind of racists. Former PM Harper was a turd as well.
In terms of music, television and cinema, Canada has given the world a lot less than America, but a lot more than Australia. By far its most notable cultural exports to date have been Len's Steal My Sunshine, Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger's marriage and the actress who played God in Dogma. One enormous thing in Canada's favour is an absence of bands trying to sound like British indie groups from the Myspace era, and there's no Ricky Gervais here either, so top marks on that front.
Like English, but funny. (Excl. Quebec, where it's like French, but ugly.)
Food and drink
The second entry on the savoury foods section of the Canadian cuisine wiki is roast beef with yorkshire pudding. Other notable Canadian foods include bagels-no-not-New-York-bagels-I-mean-basically-New-York-bagels-but-smaller-and-we-call-them-Montreal-style-bagels-but-in-essence-they're-the-same-fucking-type-of-bread-with-a-hole-in-the-center, and, of course, that most famous of Canadian meals, the hot chicken sandwich. There are also a number of places serving an inferior variation on that great snack from the north of England: cheesy chips and gravy.
Unnecessarily large, next.
This is basically how the UK got in this state: a bunch of racists and a bunch of not-racists but whose rose-tinted view of the country just happens to hark back to right before brown and black people started making their way over to the island decided it would be nice to return to those simpler times despite there being no clear plan for what would happen if they actually got their way. So in a bid to escape that, you might wonder if Canada's a better place to be, but you have to remember that this is a country whose racism isn't even veiled beneath 'traditional values' since, let's face it, this is a country in which the white man arrived and proceeded to do everything in his power to destroy the actual natives. Also a load of people recently got very upset at the government's decision to make the national anthem gender neutral, saying things like: "It's all transgender talk...I'm cool with equal rights but it's being shoved down my throat and especially this. First it was changing Christmas...what's next!!!!????" so don't worry, folks here are just as awful as back home.
I never paid less than about CA$1100 a month when I lived in London, and that bought me a single room in university accommodation, a rat-infested pub that a group of squatters once broke into assuming we were also squatters because there is no fucking way anyone would pay to live in that place, and a damp "studio flat" in Tottenham, where I would endure several weeks without hot water every winter because the landlord didn't believe us when we told him the boiler was broken, respectively. I now pay half what I paid for that Tottenham place for four times the space and a view of Lake fucking Ontario. Most Canadians think living in Toronto is expensive because, compared to most of Canada, it is, so chances are whatever budget you're on, you're gonna do better than back in England.
Instead of foxes; raccoons. Instead of nothing; bears. Also, good dogs everywhere. Deciding factor, that.
Follow Jack Urwin on Twitter.