People often ask me how I feel about Canada, since I partially grew up there. I must admit I have flirted with the idea of returning to Vancouver. Most people who immigrate to Canada come from countries that are not as highly developed. For them it is a safe haven with a great social and civil infrastructure and political freedom, it is like the promised land. However, if you compare it to Germany and that's what you need to to do if you consider leaving Germany to live there, it's like comparing Nike to Adidas. For example, Munich has been ranking higher in the quality of life than Vancouver in 2015 (the highest ranking Canadian city). In fact, three of the top ten cities with the highest living standard are from Germany, more than any other nation in the top ten. I have put together a list of pros and cons of why you should or should not immigrate to Canada from a highly developed country.
Here are the reasons, why I would consider returning to Canada:
1. It combines all the advantages of the US and Europe
Imagine not being judged based on the way the look or what you believe in and being surrounded by enthusiastic people who have a positive outlook on life and a can-do attitude. That's why we love Americans. But then America is not a safe place, full of crazy gun owners, people embracing the gang lifestyle and tea party nutcases. In Canada you have the benefit of the first without having to endure the drawbacks of the latter. You get universal health care, no death penalty, international peace keeping missions and people who take pride in being truly tolerant and progressive.
2. It is pretty much the only country in the world where multiculturalism actually works
Canada is not a melting pot, it is an accumulation of different cultures, languages and traditions that are almost equally appreciated. Canadians of European descent are celebrating Chinese New Year alongside Chineses Canadians. It is a country where people love to eat sorts of food from Polish sausages to Korean kimchi. A place where they celebrate the cultural diversity. That's awesome.
3. It is great for outdoorsy and adventurous people
Canada is the second largest landmass in the world, with lot's of untouched nature and wild uninhabited terrain. It's a playground for those who love kayaking, fishing, backpacking and experience raw natural beauty. Dive into a pristine blue lake surrounded by beautiful cedars and sit at the camp fire watching the stars, with civilizations far, far away...
4. Canadians are really friendly and light-hearted people
In Canada you get asked a lot whether something is okay for you because they make a real effort to make you feel comfortable. People apologize if you step on their foot because they did not retrieve it quickly enough and you have never heard the word "please" so many times. You will meet strangers who smile at you, be kind and often make you laugh. It is a real pleasure to be hanging out with most Canadians.
5. If you are an immigrant, so is the next guy
If you go far back enough, almost everyone stems from immigrants in Canada. Though there are still many people with Irish, Scottish and English roots, many Canadians are also mixed with other ethnicities or originate from other European or Asian as well as African nations. There is no "in-group" as in many other more homogenous countries. Every immigrant will be welcomed with a sense of pride that they have chosen Canada as their final destination. And once you are a landed immigrant, it's really easy to gain Canadian citizenship and to adjust to Canadian society.
Here are the reasons why I would not return to Canada:
1. Canadian bureaucracy is painfully inneficient
It seems like Canadian beraucracy is particularly inneficient because for the last decades they have been solely focusing on cutting down on government jobs instead serving Canadians and the few people who are left seem to be hopelessly overwhelmed and thus either not capably or willing to really help you.
2. Hockey is like a religion in Canada, even though it is a pretty cruel sport
As a real Canadian you are supposed to be into hockey and soccer "is for sissies." Hockey is a violent contact sport and hard core fans particularly love the fights and the aggression that comes with the game, as it increases the entertainment value. Many ex-professionals have had cippeling health effects because of the physical nature of the game. Instead of political demonstrations getting out of hand, hockey fans started riots because the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup in 1994 and 2011, carrying the aggression of the game into the city streets and randomly burning and looting shops along the way. Canada would be a much nicer place if they had chosen curling as the national sport.
3. Canada is becoming politically more Americanized
Have you ever heard about a guy called Stephen Harper? Probably not. He is a devoted fan of George W Bush and the prime minister of Canada. If it was just up to him, Canada would not have universal health care today and it would be the unofficial 51st state of the US. Stephen Harper is the opposite of everything that Canada stands for, a socially conservative Anglo Saxon guy with outdated environmental views. What happend to the sophistication and multicultural Canadian individualism of Pierre Trudeau, who back when he was a prime minister was a well known political figure around the world?
4. Beyond the large metropolitan areas Canada has not much to offer
The big Canadian cities like Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto are great. But as soon as you get into the countryside and some of the smaller suburban cities, it becomes very boring for Europeans. Imagine a town consisting of a couple of gas stations a bunch of shopping malls and fast food joints that look like those in any other city. Add a few pickup trucks and bland houses. Welcome to the Canadian periphery! So overall, if you look at it that way, Canada is not that large after all, because you don't want to live outside of the 30 or so larger cities.
5. For many Canadian women, firemen are sex symbols?!
I know this is kind of random and admittedly I am running out of negative points....Well, forget about sophistication, being sensitive and artsy. In Europe being a fireman is just a well respected blue collar job. In Canada women tend to glorify bulky men in uniforms.
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Some food for thought from Berlin