Are you one of us? - Macleans.ca

Are you one of us?

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Michael Ignatieff reemerges with some thoughts on expatriation.

May 2 must have been the only Canadian election, and maybe one of the few elections anywhere, when expatriation became an issue that moved votes – in my case, the wrong way. I’d never say it was the decisive factor, but friends on the doorsteps kept reporting back: They all think you’re an American. To the degree that this issue mattered, the results of May 2 have a message: As far as expatriates are concerned, you can’t come home again if your destination is politics.

That’s how it is now, but pretty soon no one will remember what the fuss was about. The next generation is quietly redefining what it means to be a Canadian. They’re ignoring the attack ads and the chatter from the schoolyard of Ottawa politics. So many of the young Canadians I meet want to be global citizens. They want to be expatriates. They want a life that includes a couple of years in Mumbai or Shanghai, a summer teaching English in Tanzania, a year or longer working for some company in South Korea.