Alice Gammill is now looking for any opportunity to stay in Canada
The United States presidential election was simultaneously visceral and distant for many. Such is the benefit and unease of being on this side of the 49th parallel.
Speaking with Alice Gammill and Bryan DePuy, two Americans studying screenwriting and narrative design at George Brown College, one senses the same dichotomy, only more intensely felt.
“It was one of the most dramatic nights; dramatic and traumatic,” said Gammill. An aspiring comedy writer and Hillary Clinton supporter from the start, she went to bed at 2:30 a.m., feeling sick and in disbelief.
“I was scared that I was going to miss any sort of announcement or speech from her,” said Gammill. “I remember thinking, ‘If she’s talking tonight, I can’t watch it, but I have to watch it,’ because if she has to get up there and speak, I should be there to watch it.”
In the aftermath of Trump’s win, the idea of moving to Canada has been a popular refrain. It wasn’t just household name celebrities who crashed the Canadian immigration site on election night. But being Americans in Canada has given Gammill and DePuy intimate knowledge of the immigration process. It’s the kind of insider information which brings about a sober, clear-minded response.
“I love the jokes about people moving to Canada,” said Gammill. “I know firsthand that you can’t just up and move.”
Both DePuy and Gammill recognize that, far from being an option for many folks, the ability to move is a luxury.
“I think the reality is that most of the people who would have had the level of privilege and material security required to just leave the US are also people who are ultimately not going to see a huge change in their daily lives as a result of Trump’s presidency,” said DePuy.
But for more marginalized communities, DePuy sees Trump’s presidency having a bigger impact.
“I certainly could imagine over the next four years the United States becoming a more overtly violent landscape for racialized people, immigrants, visibly queer people, trans people, who are all easy targets for angry Trump supporters,” said DePuy, who worries that folks will feel empowered by the president-elect’s rhetoric.
Looking to stay in Canada regardless of the election results, DePuy expressed feeling for the first time both a palpable sense of being on the outside of this event politically, and relief at not being in the thick of it. For Gammill, who was first intending on sizing up her options at program’s end, the situation has gone from laissez-faire to laser focus.
“Now the plan is figure out how to do it now, figure out how I can stay here for four years,” said Gammill. “I’m looking for internships, I’m looking for anything I can do to stay here”.