The morning after Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States, Victoria realtor Christina Stack and her Washington, D.C.-based boyfriend decided to fast-track moving back to the Island permanently.
“We have sped up the process to move full time to B.C.,” said Stack, who watched the results come in from the bar at the Thomas Jefferson hotel in downtown Washington.
Stack said her partner was so disappointed with the election results that he plans to skip going home to Nebraska for Christmas and deleted 200 Facebook friends who supported Trump.
“People are yelling at each other on the street. It’s scary. And embarrassing. Racial tension here is like nowhere else I’ve experienced,” she said.
As Trump’s win became apparent on Tuesday night, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website crashed — which many on social media suggested was due to Americans looking to flee.
Even a few celebrities said they would move north, including Girls creator Lena Dunham, who said she would go to Vancouver, and Snoop Dogg, who tweeted Toronto rapper Drake to find him a place.
Jim Swanson, general manager and co-owner of the HarbourCats, said on social media: “It just became a LOT easier to attract top U.S. college baseball players to Victoria.”
Victoria immigration lawyer David Aujla said he came into work to at least 10 emails and constant phone calls from Americans interested in coming to Canada.
“They want to know how to immigrate, period. They’re not even asking how to look into it,” said Aujla, noting about 6,000 to 8,000 Americans immigrate to Canada each year.
“During the Bush years that increased by about 30 per cent, and I expect it to be an even bigger spike this time around.”
Aujla said he has received calls from all over the U.S.
“They ask, ‘Do I qualify?’ and ‘How long does it take?’ he said. He tells them it’s difficult to immigrate to Canada unless you are married or in a common-law relationship with a citizen or have a job that brings you here.
The waiting period is anywhere from six months to two years, he said.
— With files from Cindy E. Harnett