July 19, 2018

Winnipeg
29° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Former Winnipeggers in UK uneasy with anti-migrant tone of Brexit outcome

SIMON DAWSON / BLOOMBERG </p><p>A pedestrian walks underneath rows British Union flags suspended above Regent Street in London, U.K., on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.</p>

SIMON DAWSON / BLOOMBERG

A pedestrian walks underneath rows British Union flags suspended above Regent Street in London, U.K., on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/6/2016 (755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA - Andrea Berger was at home in her London flat Thursday night to watch the early returns on the Brexit referendum.

Early results did not look good but the Winnipeg native slept for a bit, having confidence the remain side would prevail after final polls suggested it had the edge.

When she awoke in the wee hours of the morning and turned on the television, that wasn't what had happened.

"I was in complete shock," Berger, 28, told the Free Press from London Friday.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/6/2016 (755 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA - Andrea Berger was at home in her London flat Thursday night to watch the early returns on the Brexit referendum.

Early results did not look good but the Winnipeg native slept for a bit, having confidence the remain side would prevail after final polls suggested it had the edge.

When she awoke in the wee hours of the morning and turned on the television, that wasn't what had happened.

"I was in complete shock," Berger, 28, told the Free Press from London Friday.

When she went into her office, the reaction was the same across the board.

"People came in and they were hugging," she said. "There were tears in the office. I can't even express the level of paralysis this has caused. By midafternoon most of my colleagues decided they couldn't even function at work anymore."

Berger grew up in River Heights and Charleswood but moved to London six years ago to pursue a master's degree. She now works at a London think tank. Her parents were born in Austria and she has both Canadian and EU passports, but was working in England on her Austrian passport thanks to the EU labour ties. She voted in the referendum however because she is a Canadian, and while other EU citizens weren't eligible, Commonwealth citizens living in the UK were.

Like most other residents of London, Berger cast her ballot to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union. Now she isn't certain she wants to stay somewhere she may not be wanted. Anti-immigrant rhetoric lay beneath much of the leave sides' campaign.

"I love living in the UK," she said, noting the multiculturalism in London reminded her of Canada. "That was turned on its head today. There were deep divisions created and at the moment it is a difficult place for someone who is fundamentally an immigrant to the UK."

David Michon moved to the UK from Winnipeg eight years ago to pursue a career in journalism. Now an editorial consultant, he too awoke around 4 a.m. in London and found overnight his new country had made a stunning decision.

"There has been a lot of confusion and shock," he said.

Everywhere he went Friday people were talking about it. He said he's living in the UK on an ancestry visa, because his grandparents are British, and he isn't concerned about his own status. But his boyfriend is Italian and although he has been in Britain for a decade, the anti-migrant emotion in the leave campaign has left them feeling uneasy.

"All of a sudden it doesn't feel like home like it used to," said Michon.

He said he's not sure what happens next for either him or his adopted country.

"It's going to be years before this is finalized," he said.

In Winnipeg, British citizens were also absorbing the news. Susan Prentice, a professor at the University of Manitoba who has a dual Canadian-British passport, went to the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival last night and didn't stay up late to watch the results because she didn't think she had to worry.

"This was a most unexpected outcome," she said. "i was calm. I was pretty sure it was going to be a non issue."

She too awoke to find out she had been wrong.

"I was very saddened," she said. "I'm distressed. I think it will introduce a lot of political and economic dysfunction. It's a loss for the UK."

She said on a personal level she's not sure what will happen to her British EU passport, and what impact it may have on her ability to do another sabbatical on continental Europe, as she did in France previously.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.