Tuesday, April 18, 2006



During the 19th-century, thousands of African-Americans fled the United States and made their way to Canada where they could live as free citizens. The network of sympathetic abolitionists that assisted in their escape along secret routes and stopping off points became known as the Underground Railroad. This was the first evidence that a group of Americans thought Canada to be more "the land of the free" than the United States.

Throughout the ‘60’s many young Americans fled north to avoid military service or were simply conscientious objectors to the war in Vietnam. To handle the influx of people coming into Canada, in 1976 the Immigration Act defined refugees as a class distinct from immigrants. The act states that an immigrant has chosen to move to another country; a refugee is forced to flee to another country. Americans therefore are regarded as immigrants but because of the strict criteria to be met to attain permanent residence status, many remain in Canada as illegal immigrants.

In 2003 the courts lifted legal restrictions on marijuana and laws were introduced so same-sex marriage was legalised in Canada. Once more there was an influx of Americans heading north to avail themselves of Canada’s liberal views on gay marriage and marijuana use. That same year despite pressure from her military allies, Canada chose to abstain from direct involvement in the Iraq war. As expected, a wave of immigrants entered Canada: anti-war activists, soldiers who have gone AWOL and conscientious objectors who say they were misled by their government in the justification of the war with Iraq.

The main focus of this movie is the recognition of same-sex marriages and the advance towards the legalisation of marijuana in Canada. Comparison of the political and social differences between Canada and the United States is often raised. It makes for interesting viewing.

for drug use, some profanity

Since the film was released, the proposed legislation by the Liberal government to decriminalise the possession of small amounts of marijuana died with the dissolving of parliament in December 2005.

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