U.S. senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz may be letting go of his Canadian citizenship. That doesn't mean we're letting go of him.
Sure, most Canadians, myself included, find Cruz's politics abhorrent. On gun rights, abortion, the environment, and most everything else, Cruz is a caricature of an American Republican. He probably couldn’t get elected to the city council in Calgary, where he was born in 1970.
But when it comes to getting ahead in America, a not-too-secret fascination for Canadians, we're more forgiving. Despite his values, Cruz is the epitome of that particularly Canadian dream: Move to the States; learn the customs; quietly insinuate yourself into the institutions of power; and by the time people start to notice you're not from around there, it's too late -- you're part of the ruling class.
Sure, Cruz started the process when he was 4 years old. But success requires commitment. As a potential presidential nominee, Cruz has taken this further than any of his fellow Canucks could have dreamed. Bravo, Ted!
And as any transplant can tell you, sometimes blending in means adopting the local customs with more fervor than the actual locals. What else explains why Charles Krauthammer is so angry? Canadians get that. In fact, we admire it. George W. Bush remains a hated figured in Canada, but David Frum could write a book about what he ate for breakfast and Canadians would line up around the block to buy it.
But wait, you ask: What about Cruz's insistence that Canada means nothing to him? Classic Canadian move. When was the last time you heard James Cameron or Graydon Carter talk about how much their Canadian heritage matters to them? Did you ever see Peter Jennings get teary-eyed when somebody mentioned the Queen, or hear Jennifer Granholm prefer Windsor to Detroit? It's right there in the Canadian expatriate playbook: Avoid pining for the homeland.
What does all this mean for Cruz's 2016 bid? Is he some sort of sleeper agent, a (Fort) McMurrian Candidate scheming to audit every U.S. NHL team out of business, finally ensuring Canada can win back the Stanley Cup? Will he decimate Vermont maples, sealing the domination of Canada's maple syrup? Most heinous, will he actually approve the Keystone XL pipeline?
Americans probably don't have anything to worry about. The key to pulling off an infiltration on this scale is really, truly believing your new identity. And anyway, by the time Cruz moves into the White House, the conservative Stephen Harper will be entering his 11th year as prime minister, three out of four Canadians will be working in the oil sands, and liberals will be seeking political asylum in America. If Cruz were in fact a sleeper agent for Canada, odds are nobody would notice.
So, if Ted Cruz wants to renounce his citizenship, he'll get no objections from us. We know how this game works, Ted, and we're not hurt. Just remember: There's no such thing as a former Canadian.
(Christopher Flavelle is a member of Bloomberg View's editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)