'We Moved To Canada in 2016 After Trump Won, We Won't Be Returning'

My family actually first moved to Canada from Hood River, Oregon in 2003. Our daughter was about to start kindergarten and we were disappointed with what was going on with President George W. Bush and America's involvement in the Iraq War. We could see commercialism was becoming more powerful and the way that greed, hate and ignorance appeared to be rising.

We had originally considered moving to Canada in 1998 when I was pregnant, after visiting Nelson and Vancouver and Vancouver Island, but it's a huge decision to emigrate to another country.

Alongside our other concerns about America, by 2003 our daughter was about to enter kindergarten. There were so many cutbacks happening within the public school system that we simply didn't have a school we wanted to send her to. We wanted a better place to raise her. At that same time, we were seeing more and more people around us who supported the Iraq War. After decades of community-based activism—HIV/AIDS support groups, food banks, the anti-war movement—it felt like we couldn't really fight the tide any longer.

We considered Sweden or Canada and eventually settled on Canada. It wasn't easy, because after looking at Canada's immigration website and completing their residency checklist, we just missed the mark to qualify for permanent residency. But we weren't ready to give up on it, so we contacted an immigration attorney in Vancouver and found out that we more than qualified in a category that wasn't listed on the website.

The application process took a while as, amongst other documents, you have to compile evidence of every address you've lived in as an adult and go through criminal record checks in every U.S. state you've resided in. In the end, we sent off a pile of documents about two inches thick in August of 2003.

We moved to Nelson, British Columbia on September 1, 2003; the day before our daughter started kindergarten. Nelson, we soon discovered, is a reasonably progressive region of Canada and we found a lot of like-minded people there. It felt like we were at home, but it felt to us like a kinder and more rational place to be.

To me, Canada is a country that puts people first much more than the U.S. There is a really great healthcare system, for example. Communities have a social safety net here and I feel that contributes to a much better lifestyle for many people.

Canada, emigraton, Trump, Presidential election
Lucinda Taylor and her husband, Mark. The couple will be staying in Canada despite President-elect Joe Biden taking office in January 2021. Lucinda Taylor

However, in 2015 we made the decision to move back to the U.S. The main reason was the offer of a job for me in the healthcare sector in Oregon. It wasn't an easy decision, but we concluded that financially we needed to make the move back to the U.S.

Very quickly, we discovered that we had not made the right choice. The job I took was not what it was advertised to be, so I left the position.

Then, on November 8, 2016, it began to look like Donald Trump was going to win the presidential election. I was so disgusted I had to go to bed.

My husband Mark and I were standing in our kitchen the next morning when it was clear that Trump had won. We looked at each other and agreed that we had to go back to Canada. We had been thinking about it, but our daughter was in college in Oregon. So we called her and asked her how she felt about us moving back to Canada. She said we should do it. So we did.

It took us until August 2017 to sell our house and complete the move to Victoria on Canada's Vancouver Island. My family—my mother and father in particular—were disappointed because we had considered moving closer to them. But they were supportive. And our friends could totally understand; I think many of them would have liked to be in the same position.

Canada, Emigration, 2020 Presidential Election
Stock photo of Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site near Victoria, Canada. Getty/iStock

There have been no doubts about the choice to move back over the past four years. Although emigrating is a privilege that is unavailable to most Americans, we consider ourselves very lucky to have been able to get out. I think we've experienced a little bit of guilt about leaving and giving up on what had been our country for our whole lives, and we do miss our friends and family. But we can still visit—we aren't that far away from Oregon—which made it a little more palatable.

But I have experienced a lot of pain hearing the news from the U.S. I would regularly break down in tears over the violence and injustices and racism that have been going on. There's a lot of sadness about that, but also an overarching feeling of relief that we're not there anymore.

I was horrified to see the death of George Floyd and I found it very hard to listen to the news because I was grieving and shocked, even knowing that the killing of Black people has been going on for hundreds of years. It's just more widely publicized and visible because of social media and the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement.

We participated in the movement from Canada by donating money to different causes in the U.S. and signing petitions, and our daughter participated in a lot of protests. We have also been protesting here against the plans to build natural gas pipelines through Indigenous people's land and donating money to different causes in Canada.

So I was relieved that President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, but I was horrified that so many people were still voting for Trump. Watching the election was a real rollercoaster.

Despite Biden's win, it is unlikely that we will ever move back to America. The only reason we have held onto our citizenship so far is our daughter. We don't know where she will ultimately settle and if she ended up in the U.S. we want to have the option to be near her. But for now, she's graduated college in Oregon and decided to move back to Canada.

If there are Americans who are still thinking about moving to Canada, we'd encourage them to contact an immigration attorney.

Because of the pandemic, there has been a decrease in immigration into Canada and I believe the government is now making it somewhat easier for more people to emigrate here. But if you're of my generation—I am now 60—it can be a little more difficult because you often lose points for being older.

However, friends of mine who contacted a Canadian immigration attorney were surprised to find they were very good candidates even though they are nearing retirement age. Even if it doesn't look good for you, you could find out a lot by contacting an immigration attorney. We know several couples who are looking at the move, and we would encourage people to come here. We love it here in Canada and we have a great community— we just can't really see any reason to leave.

Lucinda Taylor, MSW RCSW has more than 24 years of experience in child, youth, family and relationship counselling. She is currently based in Victoria, British Colombia with her husband, Mark. The couple have one daughter. Find out more at lucindataylor.com.

All views expressed in this piece are the writer's own.

As told to Jenny Haward.

Correction: 12/11 04.22: A picture caption in this piece has been updated to correctly state that President-elect Joe Biden will take office in January 2021.