The Canadian dream drives for Uber and lives underground
The partisan school year is set to resume with a country in full crisis mode. What comes next won't be pretty for the last of the Liberal true believers.
“I’m not sure what I miss most about living with my ex in Toronto: the relationship, or an apartment above ground with natural light.”
The words belonged to Theo Von’s opening act on a languid and humid August Sunday night in the city. Thousands laughed, myself included, perhaps because it was easier than to cry out in shared anger and resentment for a situation made worse by the day.
On the Uber ride home, through the modern, government-crack-sprinkled husk of another once-great Western central business district, Kanaiya, who has called Canada home for twelve years, asked your newsletter purveyor what he did for a living.
“Little bit of everything, I suppose. I move letters around for an organization or two, chip in on political campaigns, fundraise, scribble for kind strangers on the internet,” I replied sheepishly, never quite knowing how to describe my master-of-none, soft-skilled vocation.
“Do you mind if I ask for which party?”
“The causes are more generally ‘conservative,’ by the increasingly left-leaning standards of this countr-”
“Oh good! Don’t worry. I love Stephen Harper. That was my guy.”
Kanaiya proceeded to tell me why Stephen Harper was his guy.
Twelve years previous, when he first came to Canada, he was one of five students from a crop of 25 back in India who were selected for a foreign student visa.
“There used to be a standard. It felt like an accomplishment. I spent three years in Saskatchewan before moving to the GTA, where I could at least afford a small apartment in the suburbs. Now, you see these homes in Brampton… Mississauga… there are seven, eight, nine students and temporary workers sharing a single unit. They’re like cattle, man — and they all get in, even though there is nowhere to put them.”
“Every day. It’s all over my timeline. Sometimes I think of posting myself. But then I go to work, I drive people where they need to go, I make my $45,000 a year, and I hope that one day it goes back to the way it was when I first got here. But I’m not naive. I don’t expect miracles.”
How far we’ve been made to fall when slightly above substandard, and not choosing to break the hearts of millions with false promises, would qualify as some sort of “miracle.”
This problem of people and where to put them has gotten so bad, in fact, that even the Toronto Star has been forced to wake from an eight-year cat nap on the back deck of its Yorkville townhouse.
With our Liberal/NDP House threatening to resume in short order, a nation will be forced to turn its disdainful glance back towards the honk capital of the world. Anyone looking for tangible solutions from the same unserious lot that brought a nation to its knees through an economic and electoral Ponzi scheme centred around public sector growth — and only public sector growth — dirt-cheap labour, and 900,000 financially-exploited foreign students per year clearly hasn’t been paying close enough attention. That, or they’re a white woman in their sixties who already 10x’d the investment on their home — otherwise known as quite literally the last demographic to support the Canadian prime minister.
(Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s still Beijing.)