Planning to flee to Canada? Try accessing the immigration website first

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The election night twists and turns in under 2 minutes
01:42 - Source: CNN

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Canadian immigration website crashes on US election night

Suspected uptick in citizenship inquiries comes with strong Donald Trump showing

CNN  — 

It seems it’s not only celebs who are making plans to flee a Donald Trump presidency.

As Trump surged ahead in Tuesday night’s election, Canada’s immigration website crashed, posting a “500 - Internal server error” message.

Lisa Filipps, spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said that the website had become “temporarily inaccessible to users as a result of a significant increase in the volume of traffic.”

Teams were working to resolve the issue, she said, and by Wednesday morning the site appeared to be up and running again – albeit very slow to load.

There’s no guarantee the two things were related, but given the loud insistence of many Americans, every election cycle, to move north in the event of an unfavorable outcome, it’s not a huge leap to assume that some despondent voters were exploring options.

Twitter reacts

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,” Scott Warner tweeted.

Others pointed to the website’s crashing as part of a wider theme of signs a Trump victory was inevitable.

“Where we stand right now: DOW futures are down 750. The dollar is plummeting. And Canada’s immigration website just crashed,” Nick Bilton wrote.

We’re not sure where Trump supporters planned to go if Clinton had won. 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 she would have to learn Russian were decreasing.

Looking northward

Jittery Democrats – and maybe some Republicans – have eyed the northern border throughout the election cycle.

In August, CNN reported on a radio DJ who created a website called Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins, welcoming Americans to the sleepy Maritime island in Nova Scotia.

cape breton
Serene Canadian island courts 'Trump refugees'
04:16 - Source: CNN

As the story spread on CNN and other international networks, American interest grew.

The phenomenon goes right back to the primaries. Searches for “how can I move to Canada” spiked 350% as Trump swept Super Tuesday in March, 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 under a Trump 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 followed through with their threat.

That few actually migrate 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.