If Donald Trump wins U.S. presidency, Cape Breton pitched as refuge for Americans
Sydney man started website for fun, but says he has been getting serious inquiries
For Americans contemplating fleeing to Canada if Donald Trump wins the presidency, Rob Calabrese has a message for you.
The Sydney, N.S., radio host launched a website on Monday — Presidents Day in the U.S., fittingly — called Cape Breton if Donald Trump wins.
"Every American election, you have a group of people — usually Democrats — who say, 'That's it, I'm moving to Canada' if a Republican wins.
"Hey, if you're going to move to Canada, why not move to Cape Breton?"
On the tongue-in-cheek website, Calabrese urges Americans: "Don't wait until Donald Trump is elected president to find somewhere else to live!"
He takes aim at Trump's plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, joking that in Cape Breton "the only 'walls' are holding up the roofs of our extremely affordable houses."
Calabrese said he's no fan of Trump, calling him "a scary possibility."
"How he is able to inflame people and move people … I definitely wouldn't want him as the leader of my country."
Calabrese put the website together in just a few hours, and has been pleasantly surprised by the reaction.
"Since we launched yesterday at noon, it's really taken off. I've been contacted a lot by people who appear to be earnestly asking about moving here."
He said he's heard from a professor at Cornell University, among others.
"They're asking genuine questions about things like the immigration process, the economics. It's been taken seriously by some people, which is great and not intended, but I'm going to help them out as best I can."
Calabrese, a DJ at Cape Breton radio station The Giant 101.9, spelled out a few of the selling points of Canada and Cape Breton on his website. He wants Americans to know the weather in Nova Scotia isn't that different from much of the northeast U.S. — no igloos here, folks.
"If you have a baby, you get paid leave for almost a year," he adds. "If you cut your hand, you can go to the doctor and get stitched up for free."
Calabrese is a proud Cape Bretoner, and said he would be happy if his homegrown campaign brought even one person to the island. The population of Cape Breton, like much of rural Nova Scotia, has shrunk as traditional industries like mining and fishing have declined.
"I'm hoping to get Cape Breton out in front of as many people as possible," Calabrese said. "It is a good place to live, a beautiful place. The people are great — we just need more people."