I was heading to Northern Ontario earlier today via Michigan. After crossing the Sarnia-Port Huron border, I stopped off at Subway for lunch and had one of the most inspiring fast food experiences of my life. Actually, it was the only inspiring fast food experience of my life.
The “Sandwich Artist” making my footlong was a 22-year old by the name of Darren. He graduated last year from the University of Windsor in Canada and just moved to Michigan a few months ago. He is a Canadian citizen. His family lives in Sarnia, a little over 10 miles from where he now calls his home, separated by the United States-Canada border.
What fascinated me about Darren is not that he relocated to another country for a full-time job at Subway, but rather why he did so. Simply put, he felt that Canada would hold him back from his dream of starting a tech company.
With a general B.A., the job market in Canada–or anywhere, for that matter–isn’t in his favor. So Darren decided he would take his development skills and put them to use working for himself. The problem is, he knew from entrepreneur friends and family members that the United States simply breeds growth and opportunity in a way that Canada doesn’t.
When it comes to corporate taxes, Canada and the United States are not too far apart. Under President Obama, business hasn’t exactly been booming in the U.S. In fact, several C.E.O.s of major American corporations have said that they would not be able to recreate their companies’ successes if started today, because of the country’s economy.
However, it is an incredibly powerful statement that someone would leave their country–even if only by traveling 10 miles–to pursue a dream. And that status as the land of opportunity is one that every American needs to ensure the country keeps.
Darren is one person with a dream, and the Bluewater Bridge may not stand in the way of everyone’s dreams. After all, I’ve managed to create a pretty good thing from my pulpit here in Canada.
But what a lot of Americans may not realize is not much of an inspiration they are to non-Americans. Even to their neighbors to the north. Erm…neighbours.