OTTAWA — It seems it’s not only celebrities who are making plans to flee a Donald Trump presidency.
As Election Night in the U.S. wore on, with Trump posting big gains in key battleground states, Canada’s immigration website crashed for some people, posting a “500 – Internal server error” message.
There’s no guarantee the two things are related, but given the loud insistence of many Americans, every election cycle, to move north in the event of an unfavorable election outcome, it’s not a huge leap to assume that many despondent voters are exploring options.
The Citizenship and Immigration Canada Twitter page had not acknowledged the outage, though it has since been restored.
Many were tempted to file this under “you couldn’t make it up.” Actor and comedian Ben Schwartz couldn’t believe he’d been beaten to the punch, tweeting:
“I was gonna write this as a joke but found out it was real. “The Canada Citizenship and Immigration site crashed around 8 PM” #electionnight,” he wrote.
Another user couldn’t see the funny side of it.
“Canada’s Citizenship & Immigration site just crashed. This isn’t a joke. #ElectionNight,” user Scott Warner tweeted.
Others pointed to the website’s crashing as part of a wider theme of signs that Trump’s victory was inevitable.
“Where we stand right now: DOW futures are down 750. The dollar is plummeting. And Canada’s immigration website just crashed,” he wrote.
We’re not sure where Trump supporters plan to flee if Clinton wins. But one fan tweeted — in all-caps — “I’M MOVING TO RUSSIA IF TRUMP LOSES.”
As Election Night wore on, results seemed to show that the odds that she would have to learn Russian were decreasing.
Jittery Democrats — and maybe some Republicans — have been eying the northern border throughout the election cycle.
In August, a radio DJ who created a website, called “Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins,” welcoming Americans to the sleepy Maritime island of Cape Breton.
As the story spread, American interest grew.
The phenomenon goes right back to the primaries. Searches for “how can I move to Canada” spiked 350 percent as Trump swept Super Tuesday on March 2, according to Simon Rogers, a data editor at Google, at the time.
Celebrities including Bryan Cranston, Amy Schumer, Cher and Barbra Streisand have all declared their plans to flee if — or when — Trump ascends to the presidency.
Indeed, the famed Canadian niceness would certainly provide a welcome respite to the relentless nastiness of the 2016 Presidential election.
As the Cape Breton website assures would-be American refugees: “The truth is, we welcome all, no matter who you support, be it Democrat, Republican or Donald Trump.”
The same thing happened when George W. Bush won his second term in 2004. But there’s little evidence that many Americans actually followed through.
That few follow through on their declared interest in migrating north is probably at least in part because it’s not easy to make the move.
It is possible, though. A job offer, a winning ticket in a citizenship lottery or hyper-wealth helps.
But for most, the first step is logging on to a functional Canadian immigration website.
Good luck getting through.