Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday joked that he is not expecting an influx of unhappy Americans across the border if firebrand Republican Donald Trump becomes president.
As Trump's popularity builds in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Internet search providers have noted a spike in queries from Americans about moving to Canada.
Trudeau told students on the third day of an official visit to the United States, however, that the idea of emigration by voters who feared ending up on the losing side was common during U.S. election campaigns.
"If over the past decades that had been the case, we'd have more people in Canada than in the United States ... It becomes an easy thing to cry out," he said during a discussion at Washington's American University. Canada's population is just over a tenth the size of that of the United States.
Trudeau said Canadians and Americans continually crossed the border to live in the other country.
"That's just the nature of our friendship and relationship and to link it too much to politics is humorous ... There will always be flows back and forth and one must never fret or be disappointed with that," he said.
Migration data from after Republican George W. Bush's 2000 election and 2004 re-election - other times when some liberal Americans pledged to move to Canada in protest - suggests few followed up on their promise.
Trudeau, whose Liberals took power in Canada last November, had previously largely avoided questions about the consequences of a Trump victory, saying he will work with whomever wins.