Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator –Tuesday November 11, 2016
The Issues Facing Canada If Trump Or Clinton Win
Canada’s neighbour elects a new president Tuesday with either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to take up residence in the White House. Each are proposing different agendas for the U.S. that pose questions, opportunities and challenges to cross-border relations.
Hillary Clinton is a known quantity to Canadian officials from her time as a U.S. senator and secretary of state, which has also given her an understanding of Canada’s role in the world, says Gordon Giffin, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada: “Sometimes there’s too much focus on what we sell back and forth across the 49th parallel and not enough attention to the fact that Canada is quite engaged with the United States all over the world on issues and principles and values that we share. And she knows all of that, so she starts from a pretty strong foundation of engagement with Canada.’’
As a self-described outsider of American politics, Donald Trump would have few connections to the Liberal government in the Great White North. Trudeau would have to build a relationship with a man who he has suggested holds different values than himself. And Trump has bashed Canada at various points during the campaign, specifically on health care. Political relationships would be built from scratch. But Trump does have economic advisers familiar with Canada who could guide Trump in cross-border issues, Brock says.
Despite Canada’s best efforts, Canadian interests could be sidelined while Clinton deals with more pressing domestic issues like resistance to her supreme court nominees and congressional Republicans who will work to thwart her agenda at every turn. Coupled with her international obligations like involvement in the Middle East and Asia, Clinton may be hard-pressed to find a lot of time for major new issues in the Canada-U.S. Relationship.
Given Canadian public opinion polls that show respondents favour Clinton over Trump, it’s not farfetched to say the Liberals are hoping the Republican candidate doesn’t win on Tuesday. Giffin says a Trump presidency wouldn’t be a fatal blow to Canada-U.S. relations: The relationship may be a little rough at the outset based on Trump’s tough stances on trade and immigration, but would smooth out over time. Giffin says the relationship itself is bigger than any one president: “It has a momentum and a centre of gravity that sort of drags an administration towards engagement with Canada, which is good.’’ (Huffington Post)