We're less than a month away from the U.S. presidential elections and people well beyond the American borders are keeping an eye on the process. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, October 9, that Canada should brace for "disruptions" if there isn't a clear outcome from the U.S. presidential polls this November.
Trudeau also said in the press conference that no matter what goes down south of the border, Canada will be impacted.
To dig a little deeper, Narcity caught up with two political experts based in Alberta to get their thoughts on how they think the consequences will pan out in the province.
Political scientists Melanee Thomas of the University of Calgary and Duane Bratt of Mount Royal University told us why they think Albertans should be "concerned" about the outcome of the U.S. election.
Outside of the broader impacts on Canada as a whole, Alberta could be directly affected by the election due to one specific issue that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden reportedly disagree on.
How is Alberta directly linked to the U.S. presidential election?
Both Bratt and Thomas agreed that the extension of the Keystone XL pipeline is one of the major issues that could — and will — directly affect Alberta.
"I think the pipeline is the biggest one," said Thomas. "There's a great deal of risk that Alberta's been exposed to with this."
Bratt said that Alberta has made an investment of $1.5 billion in the Keystone XL pipeline and construction is ongoing.
"The Alberta government is a stakeholder of the pipeline, which means the Alberta people are a stakeholder of the pipeline."
Another reason why Alberta could apparently be affected by the election is the strategy of Premier Jason Kenney. Thomas said, "The premier uses political polarization as a strategy and this is an instance where it could become potentially problematic."
What impact would each outcome have on Albertans?
Biden has gone on the record to promise that he will rip up the permit for the pipeline if elected, stated Bratt. Trump had signed the permit upon being elected.
Thomas said that if the pipeline doesn't go ahead, Alberta will lose out on the $1.5 billion dollars at minimum.
"The best outcome for Alberta is actually a Biden victory that doesn't lead to the dismantling of the Keystone XL pipeline," said Bratt.
"If I was an Albertan, this would be a clear risk," he said.
Bratt said the Biden could have his own challenges in ripping up the permit, that is if he even follows through with his campaign promises.
"It's much tougher to rip up something once it's actually started as compared to not starting it before. There could very well be more challenges for Biden to get rid of the permit," stated Bratt.
But beyond the pipeline, both Thomas and Bratt think a Trump victory could lead to other challenges.
"The threat to American democracy is profound enough with Trump's victory that it's in Alberta's interest that whatever that is, it gets stopped," said Thomas.
Bratt said the pipeline project alone doesn't determine Alberta's fate in relation to the U.S. "I think of all the threats that Trump's made against Canada over the years..." said Bratt.
"A Biden victory is better for Canada, and is better for Alberta," he added.
Should Albertans be worried?
Bratt said that Trump's victory could bring endanger economic trade agreements, the COVID-19 pandemic, tariffs, NATO, the World Trade Organization.
So Albertan shouldn't be resting all their hopes on this one pipeline, he said. "On the other hand, if Trans Mountain and Line 3 gets completed — in that case, it's less of a hit to the sector."
At worst, if the pipeline doesn't go through, the Keystone XL pipeline would be a "multi-billion dollar gamble that failed on behalf of the Alberta government."
He added, "I think the worst-case scenario for Alberta, for Canada, for the United States, the World is a Trump victory."
Meanwhile, Thomas told us, "I want to caution people against this idea that Trump is better for Alberta because of this pipeline."
"What matters most to Alberta is a strong democracy south of the border."