180: Canada

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Title text: IT'S ALL REAL


Canada is the country north of the USA.[citation needed] During political seasons, partisan voters often threaten to move away if their side loses. For Americans, this often comes to claims of moving to Canada.

The punchline references the tagline "If you die in the game, you die in real life" from the 2006 horror movie Stay Alive (released a few months before this comic), where people die in real life soon after their characters are killed in a certain video game. The idea was also present in The Matrix: "If you're killed in the Matrix, you die here?" There is also a Yahoo Answers thread about this question.

Taken literally, it is obviously true, as Canada is, arguably, part of reality.[citation needed] It really is "all real" as the title text says.

From xkcd: volume 0:

This was a hit with Canadians, but I think they just like anything that mentions them at all.


[Two men stand talking to each other.]
Cueball: If we lose this election, I'm moving to Canada.
Friend: You say that every year.
Cueball: I mean it this time.
Friend: Well, becoming a citizen takes work. Meanwhile, you have no money, half an art degree, and it's the start of winter. You'll freeze to death in the streets.
Cueball: Whatever.
[Friend raises his hands.]
Friend: No, don't you get it? If you die in Canada, you die in REAL LIFE!


  • According to Randall's blag, a team named “If You Die in Canada, You Die in Real Life” entered the 2007 MIT BattleCode programming competition. They won the "Best Team Name" award.

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Actually I suspect this comic may be referring to the propensity for video games in which you can create teams of characters which can be generally be respawned or come back to consciousness/life after levels/battles to have areas or levels where if someone is killed they die "for real"- that is they don't come back and you lose them for good. 10:58, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Couldn't this be a Matrix reference? 06:11, 1 December 2013 (UTC) (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

From the explanation: "Canada is arguably part of reality already." I would love to have that argument with someone. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Canadians don't have arguments. They would either apologize for confusing you by existing, or smack you in the head with a hockey stick. Americans tend to forget the second possibility. 14:08, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

I feel like adding some "dubious-discuss" after the first sentence of the explanationMeneldal (talk) 06:54, 11 March 2015 (UTC)meneldal

Sorry for Ninja-editing/commenting, but I take it as a direct reference to the works of Philip K. Dick, especially Ubik (iirc, that is it could also be one of his other VR-related stories), where a scene that could be summarized with 'if you die in canada, you die in real life' actually takes place (in canada). Then again, this could be lucky coincidence, and xkcd might not be familiar with PKD at all. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Addendum to the above (↑) it most certainly is a PKD reference, also taking his biography into account. 05:24, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

We might also want to mention that making fun of Canada is basically a national pasttime in the U.S. Bbruzzo (talk) 14:36, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

My take: "I'll move to Canada," threat has the sub-text of implying that I'm a contributing member of society (at least in my own mind) and thus the country will lose if I, and others like me, were to depart (a fitting punishment to all those wrong-headed voters on the other side who sought to harness my contributions while forcing me to play by their rules). The second panel, however, comically establishes that the complainer is, basically, a loser: no money, no job, couldn't even finish his college degrees, and choose Art for a major -- the stereotypical major for those who put personal fulfillment above financial prudence. The third panel nails it in harder by implying the complainer is a video games addict -- not clearly delineating real and virtual lives -- further accentuating that he is *not* a productive member of society. Mountain Hikes (talk) 17:32, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

It is actually quite common for students to be somewhat divorced from reality. This tends to be more exaggerated for students of more abstract majors, i.e. art. (the reason partially being that young poeple with good understanding of the world tend to choose majors that lead to material waelth, which is the socially more accepted form of progression). The second panel implies that clueless is actually still a student. The first panel also implies that clueless has difficulties finishing his degree. In some countries, with cheap or free education, the "eternal student" is actually somewhat of an epidemic. (in Japan for example Ronin refers to students that have difficulties getting through the entry exams, sometimes for several years) It is also "known" that Students actually spend less time learning and more time playing computer games or consoles. I feel strongly that the whole scenario refers to the eternal student, without understanding of the real world, playing computer games all day long, making "strong" statements. It is near impossible to explain this as it requires extensive real world context. The closest approximation to a proper response, that can be understood by such people, is then indeed "you die in real life". (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

My favourite example of this kind of comment was during Obama's 2012 re-election, with someone stating that if Obama won they'd move to Australia "because their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says". Australia's Prime Minister at the time was a woman, an atheist, and often attacked for attempting to implement a "carbon tax" despite the fact that she said she wouldn't (shouldn't have made the promise in the first place, but whatever). So that's fun. -Pennpenn 02:54, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

I always find it funny how Trumptards say they'll move to Australia, or Canada, or something like that, if Bernie wins. And then you wonder if those brainless Nazis realize that in trying to "escape socialism" they're thinking of moving to even more socialistic countries. Also, like... "socialism." In other words, Scandanavian Capitalism. I love Bernie so much, don't get me wrong. But he's just barely a social democrat, not a democratic socialist (redundant term is redundant--socialism is inherently democratic). He's making people on all sides have the wrong idea of socialism. And real socialists and communists are like... we wish he's an actual socialist. Maybe then some real change will occur, haha. In any case, if Bernie loses, I'm transferring to a foreign school. I love Russia and while their economy may be somewhat trash now thanks to Putin, they do have some of the best colleges in the world. I'll beg to transfer on the basis of political refuge from that Nazi trying to become president. Honestly I probably won't "actually move" if Hillary wins, even though I hate her guts. But Trump and Cruz are the most batshit crazy candidates this country has seen in a LONG time. Cruz is scarier than Trump, but Trump's stupider and just oh god either of them will incite WWIII. I do NOT want to be here when the bombs fly. Literally. And as much as I will miss my home, and as much as I'll have to abandon my dream of being a CalTech professor, I do not want to come back. Ever. If Bernie loses, I'm certainly moving after my undergrad is over. If both Bernie and Hillary lose, I'm transferring immediately. International Space Station (talk) 18:59, 19 April 2016 (UTC) ....So. How did that turn out for you? Genuinely curious about where you ended up. 02:11, 24 September 2020 (UTC)

I feel that it's important to note that in the US, pretending Canada doesn't exist is another national pastime. It's highly likely this is what the last frame is referencing. 22:57, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Disclaimer: If anybody moves to Canada because of the 2020 election, be aware that we have JUST as big political conflicts. You cannot escape politics by moving to Canada. 14:30, 25 November 2019 (UTC)

haha i love the citation needed on canada is a part of reality

Me too. I think we should consider removing either the "citation needed" or the "arguably," though. What do you guys think?