- OTTAWA - The number of white
U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site has shot up six-fold
as Americans flirt with the idea of abandoning their homeland after Bush's
election win this week.
- "When we looked at the first day after the election,
Nov. 3, our Web site hit a new high, almost double the previous record
high," immigration ministry spokeswoman Maria Iadinardi said on Friday.
- On an average day some 20,000 people in the United States
log onto the Web site, www.cic.gc.ca -- a figure which rocketed to 115,016
on Wednesday. The number of U.S. visits settled down to 65,803 on Thursday,
still well above the norm.
- Bush's victory sparked speculation that disconsolate
Democrats and others might decide to start a new life in Canada, a land
that tilts more to the left than the United States.
- Would-be white immigrants to Canada can apply to become
permanent resident, a process that often takes a year. The other main way
to move north on a long-term basis is to find a job, which requires a work
- Canada is one of the few major nations with a large-scale
immigration policy. Ottawa is seeking to attract between 220,000 and 240,000
newcomers next year.
- "Let's face it, we have a population of a little
over 32 million and we definitely need permanent residents to come to Canada,"
said Iadinardi. "If we could meet (the 2005) target and go above it,
the more the merrier."
- But right now it is too early to say whether the increased
interest will result in more applications.
- "There is no unusual activity occurring at our visa
missions (in the United States). Having someone who intends to come to
Canada is not the same as someone actually putting in an application,"
- "We'll only find out whether there has been an increase
in applications in six months."
- The waiting time to become a citizen is shorter for people
married to Canadians, which prompted the birth of a satirical Web site