For anyone like myself who is super engaged in the world of politics, whenever there is an election, whether it’s for President, Prime Minister, or even a municipal election, you’re always keeping up to date. This year the United States’ Presidential election has gained worldwide attention. Arguably the most significant US election of our time, critics are framing this election as a serious point in time with grave repercussions for America and the world. But, once you get down to it, is this election really so different from previous elections? In short, the answer is no. While this may be the most controversial election in years, or perhaps ever, the fact of the matter is that whoever wins will be the United States’ Commander in Chief for the next 4 years there’s not much to change that. So, the real question lies in whether or not the result will have any implications for Canada. The answer: absolutely. This election’s outcome will affect Canadians in several ways, which is why it’s important to pay attention to what happens. This is why I am here to detail the reasons, in simple terms, as to why Canadians should care about the result of the 2016 US Presidential Election.
The United States has steadily been Canada’s largest trading partner. Statistics Canada reports that 397,061.7 exports and 363,054.4 imports are completed yearly between the USA and Canada. When this election comes to a close, whichever Candidate wins will ultimately have the final say in regards to trade with Canada. Many fear that Trump will jeopardize trade because of his distaste for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump has argued that NAFTA has destroyed the US middle class and vows to retract American involvement.
The Canadian Dollar
The CAD is currently 0.75 of the USD and has not been at par since 2008. Prior to that, the last time this occurred was in 1976. With our dollar in a state of uncertainty, the election is capable of furthering its volatility and hurting the Canadian economy. As well, both candidates have the potential to adversely affect the stock market. Trump could have a sweeping negative effect on the markets and push the American dollar’s value down. Similarly, the pharmaceuticals sector could see losses in the event of a Clinton presidency. This is due to her favourability for imposing cost restrictions on pharma companies. At this point, it seems as though the markets will be negatively affected regardless of the election’s outcome. This is important to pay attention to because of what this means for Canadians. With a lower dollar, Canadians can expect higher import and travel costs. Adversely, if the Canadian dollar rises we can expect an end to the recent influx of American tourists to Canada. Overall, it is fair to assume that the international markets will feel the effects of the election regardless of who wins – the long-term impact is the less predictable factor but stability will be most important in the future.
Canada and America have been close allies for much of recent history. Canada usually stands by the United States regarding foreign policy. That being said, the next President holds the power to negotiate and either strengthen or weaken ties with other nation. This could ultimately affect Canada’s international relations if they support the United States. Canada’s support for the United States’ decisions is taken for granted but, depending on the nature of the situation, Canada has, and will refuse support for some American initiatives – most notably the Iraq War. This causes concern for Canadians because both candidates have been unclear on how they would approach current international tensions. Trump has promised war with ISIS, which could cause chaos. Although, Clinton also has a cloudy reputation regarding war due to her enthusiasm and vote for the United States to enter Iraq back in 2002, which proved to be one of the most brutal wars we have seen with thousands upon thousands of innocent casualties.
Keystone XL Pipeline
The Keystone Pipeline is a system for transporting oil from Alberta to Texas and Illinois, which creates an immense amount of revenue for Canada. Keystone XL is a proposed system that would connect the existing pipeline to Nebraska and would carry 830,000 barrels of oil south per day. Trump has shown support for this and the intent to continue the project. In contrast, Clinton has pledged opposition to the project, which would be detrimental to the Canadian economy.
International relations is a complicated game of pushing and pulling. Countries must work together to accomplish initiatives and when they clash – destruction ensues. Cooperation is the main pillar of twentieth century and so far it’s still working. International tensions are debilitating for the world and cannot be looked upon lightly. It is important that our governments recognize the seriousness of their actions, anticipate the reactions, and plan for the worst. Historically, America has been an isolationist nation – staying out of the spotlight for as long as possible. This all changed following the Second World War when America emerged as the leader of the Western world and a champion of democracy. Now more than ever America needs to be the composed and relied upon leader that the world has looked for.
Internationally, both candidates have garnered attention due to their own controversies. It is evident that Donald Trump does not shy away from causing this as he speaks his mind – a quality that can work for, and against him. Some interpret his brashness as beneficial – you know exactly what you’re getting without the establishment’s puppeteer controlling him. However, this has also caused him to get in hot water with the media, as his offensive nature and the surmounting sexual assault allegations are inexcusable and intolerable for a head of state. But, Clinton has managed to offend and anger many in her years of public service. This is as a result of the scandals – whether they are true or not – that she has been involved with. Clinton’s integrity has been called into question regarding where her trust lies. This stems from her use of a private email server to discuss classified government information as well as the events that took place in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the deaths of American citizens while she was Secretary of State. Clinton’s track record is stained with controversy and unaccountability.
It is also important to note that there are some immensely powerful and tactical leaders across the globe presently. Russian President Vladimir Putin is just one to name – many believe him to be the most powerful leader in the modern world. Putin controls one of the most powerful nuclear arsenals, he has an immensely high reported approval rating of 80%(whether this may be true or rigged), he is a multi-billionaire, and he has an extremely strong personality and is not afraid to abuse his power. As we know, the world runs as a global network with outcomes and decisions made by countries that affect the network. So, we must critically assess whether we trust either of these candidates to negotiate with leaders such as Putin. Can we trust a politician who many fear is a time bomb with an explosive personality, or can we trust a politician who has proven to be immensely dishonest and secretive?
These are some, but not all of the reasons why Canadians should tune into the 2016 election.