"You aren't even American" is not a compelling enough reason for Canadians to stop tuning in to this year's election. This may well be the worst presidential race in history, and its conclusion (whether a Trump or Clinton victory) could bring monumental changes not only to America, but to Canada as well.
There are perhaps two main reasons why Canadians are so invested. The first one is quite obvious - it oozes entertainment value, which stems mostly from the persistent, headline-grabbing conduct of Donald Trump. He is undoubtedly the most unorthodox and polarizing presidential candidate the US has ever seen, and that makes him all the more interesting to watch.
The second reason regards the fact that Canada has always had close ties with the US. Historically, we are its greatest ally. We share a common British heritage, similar stances on foreign policy, wide-scale commercial and economic trade deals, and the largest demilitarized border in the world. In many ways, the things that affect the US (such as this year's election) consequently bleed onto our country as well, so of course Canadians are engrossed.
Several television networks that provide election coverage have seen ratings skyrocket in Canada. CNN has even outperformed a couple Canadian networks on occasion. During the final presidential debate, it garnered over 1.5 million viewers; trumping CBC's 428,000 and CTV's 125,000.
Comparatively, search queries from the US involving Canada have also soared this election season. More and more Americans seem to be developing an obsession with our country, and it likely results from the insecurity they have with their own.
At the end of the day, tomorrow's results will affect everyone, and as Canadians I think it's important to know what changes we can expect from both outcomes. Is Trump the lesser evil? Read the following predictions and decide for yourself:
Trump has made it clear throughout his campaign that he is not in favour of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP). He is adamant on discarding the two trade deals and is looking to negotiate a better deal for the US.
NAFTA was established in 1994 to allow free trade between the US, Mexico and Canada. In a gist, it eliminates tariffs held to agricultural and manufacturing industries, increases leniency for investments and protects intellectual property rights. The TTP, in comparison, is a much more ambitious free trade agreement that involves 12 countries in the Pacific Rim, including Canada. If Trump were to get Congress on board to pull the US out of NAFTA and the TPP, trade between the US and Canada would become more burdensome since the trade barriers that the agreements cancel would be put back into play. Canada is a top export destination for 35 states, which means the US would lose a substantial market and several importers and exporters would be left in a distressing position.
Moreover, Trump's strict devotion to protectionism is antithetical to Justin Trudeau's support for more free trade globally.
2. Climate Change
Trump has rather strong views on climate change. He even tweeted once that global warming was invented by the Chinese to make US manufacturing non-competitive, which indicates that he doesn't even believe climate change is a real problem.
In terms of policy, Trump wants to disassemble the Paris Agreement, which is an international action plan that aims to keep global warming temperatures well below 2 degrees C (and at a maximum cap of 1.5 degrees C). Instead of supporting clean energy initiatives, he wants to focus efforts on boosting the coal industry and improving water quality in the western states. Conversely, Trudeau wants to impose a carbon tax on industries to help cut down emissions. This could, in effect, cause Canada to lose companies to Trump's America, which promises easier and cheaper business for them.
One climate-related stance he does share with Canadian officials is his support of the Keystone XL pipeline extension. Trudeau was in favour of the initiative, but President Barack Obama was not, and it was refused last fall. If Trump were to become president, he promises to approve the project, but is also demanding a share of the profits; though, many officials believe this proposal will not be readily accepted.
Trump threatens to keep American military support from NATO if its allies do not fulfill their defence spending objectives. NATO member countries are to set aside 2% of their GDP for defence spending; however, Canada is among the few partners that do not meet that goal. While Trump's dramatic proposal is based on the reasonable call for fairness among nations, it would surely cause tensions between the US and its allies, which of course includes Canada.
Trump has also said he wouldn't build a wall on the US-Canada border; however, he has stated that he would call for increased security at the border in light of the recent influx of Syrian refugees to Canada.
With these points in mind, it seems that a Trump presidency may not work as well in Canada's favour. It appears that he is, in general, less in line with Canadian interests than Hillary Clinton is.
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