In today’s world of positive and progressive political leaders and activists, any mention of Donald Trump and his Republican ideologies do not resonate well with most people, especially Canadians. For the past eight years, Canadians have been envious of the change Barack Obama has induced in the United States, continuously comparing him to the Canadian Prime Minister at the time, who didn’t accomplish much during his nine years in office.
However, with the introduction of Justin Trudeau in October 2015, Canadians have set a new standard for leadership in North America, and are hoping Americans will follow suit. Trudeau is one of the most progressive politicians in the world, which has made it hard to fathom how two neighbouring and very similar countries could potentially elect such distinctly different leaders. The fact that Trudeau and Obama have been working closely together over the last couple of months has been idolized widely, but the potential election of Trump could negatively impact relations between Canada and the United States for many reasons.
the effect that Trump’s election would have on the world must be carefully considered
The American presidential campaigns draw international audiences, and for good reason. The president of the US is typically deemed one of the most powerful people in the world, and therefore presidential elections have a large impact on people outside of the United States. Thus, the effect that Trump’s election would have on the world must be carefully considered. International trade and migration could be dramatically impacted, and international relations could potentially come to a halt, depending on how drastic the changes he makes to the United States are. As it is, picturing a meeting between Trump, Merkel and Cameron is hard enough to imagine.
Something frequently overlooked amidst the chaos of the American campaigns is how Canada will be impacted if Trump becomes president. Both countries share an enormous border, and as much as Canadians don’t like to admit it, Canada and the United States are both very similar countries due to how strongly Canada is influenced by its neighbour. In fact, Canadian culture can be so similar to American culture that one likely couldn’t tell that Vancouver and Seattle are in different countries.
This is problematic considering much of Canada’s foreign policy is influenced by the United States. Canada has extremely strict border security modelled after that of the US, follows the Americans into military combat, and has had very limited immigration in the past decade. To date, Trudeau has introduced a new foreign policy and new legislations, but it is safe to say that Canada is extremely pressured and influenced by the White House, and Canadians worry that pressure to conform will continue if Trump becomes President. Canada could back away from relations with the United States, however approximately 50% of Canadian imports come from the US, so this would have a dramatic effect on Canadian trade, not to mention North American relations.
19% of Americans would consider moving to Canada if Trump were to be elected
The other overlooked effect that comes with Trump’s election is the possible migration of Americans to Canada. An Ipsos poll from early March 2016 found that 19% of Americans would consider moving to Canada if Trump were to be elected. There is definitely enough room for Americans to live in Canada, however, do Canadians really want the already important American diaspora to grow even bigger?
Canada and the United States are rivals in many aspects, and typically Canada is coined as the “little brother” or “U.S.’s hat”—not exactly terms that strengthen relations between Canadians and Americans. They would also likely stand-out in Canada and take the government’s help for granted, but Canada, like many other countries, really only wants immigrants who are genuinely going to respect and acknowledge their help and fit into the social landscape.
Most importantly, Americans are doing this to themselves. It isn’t Canada’s job to provide a safe-haven for fleeing Americans, and it’s frankly ironic that Americans would consider fleeing their country as immigrants yet cause such an uproar about immigrants entering their own country. As comedic as it is for the rest of the world, Americans need to get out, let their voices be heard, and vote in order to ensure that Trump isn’t elected. Failure to do so could result in the destruction of their own country, and in North American and international relations as a whole.