Without wanting to sound as if I am pandering to the Canadians, I would like to say that I have a lot of respect and affection for their country, to which I have ties through both of my parents. After the Holocaust, my dad emigrated from Hungary to Canada, specifically Winnipeg and later to Montreal, where he attended McGill University. He met my mom at a wedding in Montreal, where she had a ton of relatives (who had ended up there because of the quota system in place in the United States at the time, which did not allow them to join their relatives in the States). They married and settled in New York, where my mom was from. We visited Montreal regularly during my childhood and I have always felt quite comfortable and welcome there. Today two of my cousins, who live in Toronto, visited New York and we met them in Manhattan for brunch.
After catching up on the family, our talk turned to politics as it often does these days. My cousins apologized for their own political nightmare (Rob Ford), and then expressed their horror and dismay (in a very polite manner) at the current state of our presidential campaign and the dearth of viable candidates, especially within the Republican Party. While they were relieved that Ted Cruz had renounced his Canadian citizenship, they said they felt sorry that we are now stuck with him. They were even more disturbed and perplexed by the Donald Trump spectacle. They kindly reiterated the fact that they had renovated their basement and would welcome us with open arms, although they weren’t sure they could accommodate the hundred million other people who might wish to join us if one of the crazy candidates gets elected. If you think the rest of the world isn’t watching in abject terror, think again.
NOW comes the pandering. In the remaining months before the election takes place I am planning on learning a lot about ice hockey. When we were in Toronto a few years ago for my cousins’ wedding, we walked by the Hockey Hall of Fame and it looked like a pretty interesting place. I might work on my fear of heights and try the Edge Walk at the CN Tower. I already own a Canada Goose jacket and am also considering buying Blundstone boots to wear with it. I am a fan of that adorable Trudeau and have started working heavy doses of the words “sorry” and “ay” into my daily vocabulary. I can almost hear Drake playing on my iPhone while I drink my Tim Horton’s coffee, all cozy in my Roots sweatshirt and sweatpants. Although I admit I am not a fan of cold weather, my cousin pointed out that they don’t have to worry about the Zika virus because mosquitos do not thrive in their climate, which is another positive. The city is chock full of museums and art galleries and shopping at The Bay is always fun. I feel I could blend in quite well. Just yesterday I received a lovely message from a woman in Toronto who said she and her friends have been reading my blog. I am making inroads and developing friends and a community in The Six already!
In all seriousness, even though it was so long ago, I am grateful to Canada for welcoming my father and other relatives when they had no where else to go and applaud their continuing efforts to help refugees. I feel this would be a good time for my own country to take a lesson or two from Canada in kindness, compassion and civility. I would like my relatives to know that while I appreciate their invitation and, despite all the great things I mentioned about Canada, I don’t really want to move. I can only hope that the political mess here will have a positive and satisfactory resolution and I won’t have to.