Tech conferences are relocating from the USA to Canada to attract attendees and speakers who don't want to come to Trump's America

Time for a personal anecdote!

Some years ago, I and my folks visited my brother, who currently lives and teaches in Canada, specifically southern Ontario, on the Niagara isthmus. We took the opportunity to skip across the border and visit US in Buffalo, too.

All the American border people looked like surly thugs, but they were uniformly polite, helpful and even friendly; the Canadian border people, when we returned to the Canadian side after a day in Buffalo, were much less pleasant to deal with.

This is obviously a non-representative anecdote, but it has stuck to my mind, since it completely went against my expectations. :slight_smile:

Apparently, it would be financially crippling to try and do a North American version of the event that would be self-selected to only the USians that could get it together to travel outside of their country. It was sadly enlightening.

I can believe this. A friend from the US was driving up to visit me in BC and was planning on picking up and bringing along a friend who lived in Bellingham, WA. This plan was scrapped because the friend (a woman in her 30s) didn’t have a passport and didn’t want to go through the process of getting one.

You can throw a rock and hit a border guard from Bellingham. That someone could spend 30+ years there and not once get curious enough about what might exist 20 miles from their house to get a passport boggles my mind.


You must realize that Toronto (or Hogtown as it is sometimes called) is the city Canadians love to hate. I understand the incredulity and I have even made a couple of tourist trips to Toronto.

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Yes, maybe we can even find someone, somewhere in the government with experience in the tourism or hospitality industry, surely they’d understand the importance of more openness to international visitors :thinking:

Even as an American citizen, every time I travel internationally (by plane), returning home and going through American customs/border patrol is the least pleasant part.

Toronto is it’s own damn country sometimes, bruh.

My friend, who is on the recruiting committee in the Department of Computer Science at UBC told me that he has seen a significant rise in professorial applicants coming from US schools. Many of these applicants are mentioning politics as a reason for not wanting to stay in the US. One candidate was apparently mentioning not wanting to raise their kids around school shooting drills, metal detectors, and clear backpacks.

The brain drain is real.


I thought that driving across the border, you don’t need a passport?

Yeah, you do, now. Only exception is if you have an enhanced driver’s license.

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There’s apparently a passport card (US State Dept. page) you can use to cross to Canada and Mexico that’s much cheaper than a regular US passport. I would assume that people living near the border would be interested in getting that.


From what I saw in the link, the Passport Card is available if you’ve already had a passport. If you’ve never had one (like me), an Enhanced Driver’s Licence is easy to get. You bring your birth certificate to the DVM, they ask you a couple questions from it (where was your mother born, etc.), you pay an extra fee, and you’re good to go. I haven’t used mine yet to travel, so I can’t say how well it works.

(Since I was working in downtown Detroit for a while, I wanted the option of heading over to Windsor once in a while to see a show or concert. It never wound up happening, but it’s a nice thing to have, just in case.)

[Certificate, not verification. Autocorrect strikes again…]

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My reaction is like… Jesus Christ! 3-4X what you pay for DefCon tickets? They better stand on their head and spit quarters for that price.

Fair, but you can go thousands of miles east, west, and a fair few south and experience a lot of things without a passport. Most people in the USA don’t have a passport not because they are too lazy to get one to go somewhere interesting, but because there are so many interesting places to go without one that the extra bother seems like a great hurdle.

(I didn’t get a passport until I happened to need one for business travel, then again when I was a kid apparently you didn’t need a passport to travel to Canada because my family took summer vacations up there & I didn’t have a passport)

The actual cost is pretty low, I paid $35 for a passport card (which is only good for a few places, travel to Canada being one of them - but it is valid government issued photo ID, handy if you don’t want to show a driver’s license, or you don’t have one, or you need two forms of ID for some reason), and a lot less then an airplane ticket for a passport book. All the time to get the right pictures, fill out the right forms, after finding the right forms, that was a real bother. I won’t have messed with it for a vacation.

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It was $35 when I got mine (vs. around $100 for the passport book, which I also got). I have never used it for travel, but I have used it as government issued photo ID more then once.

The big problem with both is all the paperwork and such you need to do, and the wait times (unless you are close to Washington DC and pay a boat load extra for expedited processing).

The French love to hate Paris but they don’t deny it has stuff to do :slight_smile:

Yeah why leave the “best country of the world”? The rest have to be at least inferior or at worst shitholes.

I’m sure there is lots to see in the US. I’ve travelled to the US many times and I’ve only seen a small part of it.

But my point wasn’t that it was necessary to leave the US to have an enjoyable vacation. I would just expect there would be some level of curiosity. 30 minutes away from Bellingham there is a whole other country, with different money, different laws, different culture (kinda). The idea of not seeing it because getting a passport would involve too many forms is just weird to me.

I love Canada. There’s tons to see here. I’ve lived here my whole life, except for a short stint in Australia, and I still have one province and three territories that I haven’t visited. But I still leave it sometimes - not because I have to, but just to see what’s going on in a different part of the world. It’s the lack of curiosity which boggles my mind.


Forms plus money.

Mostly plane tickets cost a lot more then the price of a passport, and hotel rooms even more. However you can find the occasional cheep deal on plane tickets, and crash at a friends house. If you are doing a vacation on a budget I can totally see skipping the passport thing because it give an extra day or two of hotel fee, so you can stay out longer.

I mean I know a lot of people that pretty much only go on vacations to visit relatives…

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