OTTAWA, On. – Nearly one percent of the U.S. population has voluntarily defected to Canada since President Donald J. Trump assumed office on January 20, according to a treasure trove of declassified Canadian intelligence documents made public on Thursday.
The documents, which were obtained by the Toronto Sun through Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, show how the Canadian Security Intelligence Service – often working in conjunction with the Canada Border Services Agency – used a number of enticing incentives including the promise of free healthcare to lure an estimated three million U.S. citizens across the border.
“Our orders came directly from the Office of the Prime Minister,” a senior Canadian intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the operation told the Toronto Sun. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, described at least a dozen instances in which “high-profile” American defectors were offered a lifetime supply of maple syrup – a right afforded only to natural-born citizens – in exchange for information pertaining to U.S. economic and national security secrets.
When it comes to convincing their neighbors in the south to defect, Canadian intelligence officials have a wide range of options at their disposal. “When you get right down to it, Americans are a simple people,” Doug McKenzie, a former Canadian counterintelligence operative, told Real News Right Now. McKenzie, who serves as an adviser to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, said the vast majority of Americans who renounced their citizenship in the weeks and months following Mr. Trump’s inauguration were persuaded with offers as simple as a signed Wayne Gretzky jersey or the opportunity to take a selfie with Justin Trudeau.
However, selfies with the prime minister and unlimited jars of fresh maple syrup aren’t the only incentives motivating Americans to embrace a more progressive way of life across the border. When asked why he chose to give up a lucrative career in weapons development and uproot his family from their home in suburban Maryland before embarking on a ten-hour drive to Canada in the dead of night, Steve Hogan summed the decision up in one word: “Poutine.”