U.S. election affects Canada, ex-diplomat says

by | Nov 5, 2012 | News

By Shaleni McBain

Obama and Romney caricatures COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Although Canadians cannot vote in tomorrow’s U.S. election, the outcome may still affect us north of the border.

Raymond Chrétien, former Canadian ambassador to France, the United States, Belgium, Mexico and the Congo, and acting partner and strategic advisor at Fasken Martineau, noted we are neighbours,  share a very long border, and that he believed we share many of the same values, and therefore whatever happens in the U.S. ultimately affects Canadians.

“This election is one more example of the need for young people to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world, whatever happens in the U.S. is bound to affect Canada and the rest of the world,” Chrétien told Humber News. “Ultimately your personal decisions may be influenced by what else is going on in the world.”

Chrétien said Canadians should pay attention to the election due to the fact that “the trade relationship is perhaps the most important of any two relationships in the world and therefore we have to pay attention to the powers to be in the U.S.”

He emphasized there are three major issues that have been addressed in this election that will affect Canadians directly.

The first issue will be the approval of the pipeline linking Alberta to Texas. Canadian oil cannot lay stagnant in Northern Alberta, it has to go somewhere, says Chrétien.

“It has usually gone to the U.S. market and if that market were to be blocked for us, obviously other avenues would have to be found,” said Chrétien.

Secondly, in a few weeks, the U.S. and Canada will announce a number of recommendations to improve movement over the border, including a number of practical recommendations to facilitate trade and keep the border thin.

“The fluidity of the border remains for us Canadians one of the key objectives in the years to come and we will have to watch this very carefully no matter who is elected tomorrow,” said Chrétien.

Lastly, Chrétien noted that on Wednesday morning the new president will have to start working on the fiscal cliff. As of Dec. 31, the U.S. administration will cease to inject billions of dollars into the American economy. Also, the tax cuts of President Bush will come to an end, leaving less revenue in the pockets of some Americans.

“If there is a threat to a very fragile recovery in the U.S., this is dangerous for us as well,” said Chrétien.

The National Post highlighted areas that could see changes after Tuesday’s election.

The Conservative government’s free-trade agenda has a strong focus on obtaining competitive advantages in the European Union or India where the U.S. does not currently have a deal, said the Post.

Romney has voiced his commitment to fast-tracking talks and concluding international agreements, which could create more competition for Canada.

The polls have suggested Canadians are heavily leaning towards Obama being re-elected, said an article in the Globe and Mail.

The Globe says “Canadian annual GDP growth has averaged 3.1 per cent per year during Democratic presidencies since 1972, compared to growth of 2.7 per cent during Republican administrations. But annual growth in GDP has been lowest, on average, when different parties control the House of Representatives and the Senate – a likely outcome of Tuesday’s vote.”