Canada is on the cusp of a new wave of immigration from the south, one which, once fully underway, could rival the great draft-dodger migration during the Vietnam War. This fresh generation of predominantly white, middle-class refugees from the benighted States will have a lot in common with their hirsute forerunners, but they’ll probably be better dressed. We are witnessing the beginning of the Gay Drain.
According to the November 10 Globe & Mail, “well-heeled gay and lesbian lawyers, professors, educators and film directors” are immigrating to Canada in scores. The article quotes the award-winning screenwriter and prospective emigre Craig Lucas as saying, “[A gay brain drain] happened in Nazi Germany. Now it’s happening here.”
According to the Globe, the hundreds of American gays and lesbians who have applied to immigrate to Canada in the wake of the recent election are “highly skilled people with no dependents and substantial savings” who will “have no trouble qualifying to immigrate under the points system.”
Well, hey thanks, Uncle Sam. Sure, send these homeless tempest-tost to us. Give us your professors, your lawyers, your well-heeled masses, yearning to transfer their substantial savings. Got any nurses and doctors to spare? And never mind the hundreds, you must have millions of unwanted gays and lesbians down there. Let’s set up a regular flight. We have some serious staffing problems to address around here.
Our only question for the new immigrants is, what took you? We’ve been expecting you for years. They have states down there where they can put you away for decades just for having sex. They have senators who believe that homosexuality is a sin for which you will all burn in Hell.
Well, okay–we’ve got senators like that, too. We’ve probably got senators who would blend right into the GOP, so you’d never notice them until they let slip a “Cold enough for ya, eh?” in chambers one day. But don’t let that hold you back, most of us are really quite human. And when our politicians get too Cro-Magnon, we rein them in. In the States, they get presidential endorsements.
Last April, when Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum equated consensual gay sex with bigamy, polygamy, adultery and incest, the president’s press secretary, Ari Fleischer, praised him as an “inclusive man.” “The president has confidence in Senator Santorum,” said Fleischer, “and thinks he’s doing a good job as senator–including in his leadership post.”
A few things our new friends should know about Canada: We do have anti-gay hate crime here. People have been killed. It’s not the epidemic of violence you’ve come to expect back home, but then again, we don’t have the handguns. We do have anti-gay-marriage campaigners, some from the religious right, others not. We can’t promise you won’t run into some crackers.
You might, for instance, encounter conservative Christian minister Tristan Emmanuel’s homophobia road show, Ignite Our Culture, with featured guest speaker Senator Anne Cools. The senator believes that only “an elite group of homosexual rights activists” favours the protection of gays under hate-crime laws.
According to Cools, gays don’t need the protection afforded to others by the law, because hate crime is only “a legal concept where the crime is hate speech, hate propaganda and hate-mongering. It is not killing people. It is speech. It is expression.” And, of course, the good senator stands for freedom of expression. To top off the show, the charismatic Emmanuel himself will campaign for “family values.” An example of Emmanuel’s values: When Regina MP Larry Spencer was turfed from the Alliance Party for advocating that homosexuality should be outlawed, and for his stated belief in a “well-orchestrated conspiracy” of gays, Emmanuel hailed him as “a hero.”
You know, I’m pretty sure we could arrange to make a swap here. It’s only fair: If we’re draining off America’s skilled professionals with money in the bank, we ought to give them something back. Hell, let’s offer to sweeten the deal.
How does this sound? For every cash-burdened Volvo-full of the gay refuse of America’s teeming shores to cross the border, we’ll swap them a busload of right-wing extremists. Over time, balance will be achieved. We’ll take the film industry, they can have the Bible sales; for us the fresh-roasted coffee bars, the fine French wines, for them prayer meetings and freedom fries. In the true spirit of free trade, everybody will gain. The Republicans will have the hate-filled, gay-free America they want, and Canada will finally have a fashion sense.
Al Pope is a journalist and author who lives near Whitehorse. Al is the newest member of CD’s Editorial Collective. His first novel, Bad Latitudes, is published by Turnstone Press.
This article appeared in the January/February 2005 issue of Canadian Dimension .