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Canada Businesses United States Politics Technology

Tech Conferences Moving North as Trump Policies Turn Off Attendees (financialpost.com) 340

The Collision Conference, one of North America's most influential technology gatherings, tweeted on Tuesday: "We've got some news. It's about Toronto. But we'll let Justin Trudeau tell you about it." What followed was a video in which the prime minister announced that Collision, which typically boasts 25,000 attendees, will be coming to Canada in 2019. From a report: "I'm happy you chose Toronto to host North America's fastest growing tech conference for the next three years, but I have to say, I'm not completely surprised," Trudeau said. "Toronto is a key global tech hub and an example of the diversity that is our strength." And Collision is not alone in coming north. At least two other major technology conferences have recently made the decision to relocate to Canada, lured in part by Toronto's burgeoning tech sector, but also driven by travel restrictions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, policies that have left organizers scrambling to accommodate those who can't visit the United States.

In mid-April, Creative Commons, an international non-profit dedicated to the legal sharing of digital content, held their global summit in Toronto for the second year in a row. "The political climate in the U.S., specifically the open hostility from the current administration towards many international communities, and the anxiety from those we work with about how they might be treated was definitely a deciding factor," said Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons. "What's most unfortunate is that this approach is so inconsistent with the views of the many collaborative communities we work with every day in the U.S."

At Access Now, a non-profit that organizes the RightsCon digital rights conference, Trump's travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries hit close to home. "One of our interns at the time was an Iranian citizen with a U.S. green card, and she wasn't able to leave the country to go to Brussels to help us organize the (2017) event," RightsCon director Nick Dagostino said. For years, RightsCon has alternated between San Francisco and a series of global venues, and after last year's event in Brussels, heading back to California would have been the natural choice. But then, people started telling Access Now that if the event happened in the U.S., they wouldn't show up.

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Tech Conferences Moving North as Trump Policies Turn Off Attendees

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  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday May 03, 2018 @10:51AM (#56546620)
    Are we going to get polar bear replant in grab bags? Also should we be concerned with crazy speed limits (e.g. 60 on a side streets)? Also, I don't speak French, so would I be able to book a hotel? Also, I heard they put mayo on everything and Canadian Bacon isn't real bacon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2018 @10:54AM (#56546638)

    I lived in the US (studied, then worked); I have good friends there; I have a Swiss passport, so no problem for me at all entering the US. But I have chosen not to go there anymore, for the past two years (that includes at least one technical conference per year).

    Two reasons for me: #1) I don't feel safe anymore in a country that has such an unpredictable and authoritarian police force, and #2) I don't think it is ethical of me to condone the current US policies towards foreigners (of which I am one), even though I would personally (probably) would have not problems while visiting.

    I would love to go back, but will not do it while these conditions last.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      You're stupid if you think you're in danger from the US police.

      As for policies towards foreigners, in what way are the US less accepting of foreigners than (e.g.) Switzerland? You know, the country that explicitly voted to prevent mass immigration?

      But we've already confirmed you're stupid.

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Thursday May 03, 2018 @10:57AM (#56546668)

    The single most important reason the conference is going to Toronto is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • Bad examples (Score:5, Informative)

    by apilosov ( 1810 ) <alex@pilosoft.com> on Thursday May 03, 2018 @11:03AM (#56546716) Homepage

    These are not tech conferences. Two of those are activism conferences, and Collision is near-tech.

  • by fishwallop ( 792972 ) on Thursday May 03, 2018 @11:03AM (#56546722)

    Being that the loonie is about $0.78 to the greenback.

    • Being that the loonie is about $0.78 to the greenback.

      Oh, sure, you just had to go and ruin a good Two Minute Hate [wikipedia.org].

    • And virtue-signaling is even cheaper.

      If you do something out of self-interest, ALWAYS cloak it in the mantle of righteousness for the possible saps who are gullible enough to buy it.

  • >> Collision Conference, one of North America's most influential technology gatherings

    (gaffaws)

    If you have to tell people you're "influential", you aren't influential. Wake me up when RSA heads to Vancouver.
       
    • It's like having to tell people when you're a genius.

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      Seriously. Before they told us they were influential, they would have been better off to tell us who the fuck they are. I've never even heard of this conference.

  • One of our interns at the time was an Iranian citizen with a U.S. green card, and she wasn't able to leave the country to go to Brussels

    Well, she will not be able to go to Toronto for the same reason.

    "Influential" my behind...

  • Creative Commons summit and RightsCon sound like idealogy conferences. Collision Conference sounds like a business conference (for people who want to someday be involved in a genuine business).

    Where are they holding conferences for people who know how to do stuff?

  • Maybe they thought he was talking about them.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday May 03, 2018 @11:47AM (#56547014)

    This day in Slashdot history : US Losing its Scientific Dominance [slashdot.org] Posted by CowboyNeal on Monday May 03, 2004.
    So as much as I hate Trump, this is not something new. He is just the one that sees that the bucket is filled faster and wil be the one that causes it to overflow.

    But do not kid yourself. This is not a Trump problem, this is an American problem that is caused by both the right and right of right bi-party system.

  • by spaceyhackerlady ( 462530 ) on Thursday May 03, 2018 @06:59PM (#56550750)

    Give it a break kiddies. Trump won. Fair and square. Get the fuck over it.

    FWIW I've visited the U.S.A. twice during the Trump administration. In both cases U.S. officials confirmed my identity and citizenship through my passport, confirmed that I was legit in their computer, asked me a couple of questions about my planned activities in the U.S., "Have a good trip!", off I went.

    The Customs dude at Blaine, Washington asked "Idaho? I thought everybody was going to Oregon for that?" when I went to see the eclipse last August. Is this the sort of customs/border/immigration nightmare people are talking about?

    ...laura

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