I’ve been writing a lot about U.S. politics lately, so I figured I’d give you all a taste of something different. So off we go…to Canada!
Monday, October 19th was election day in Canada. However, the electorate votes a little differently – for a prime minister rather than a president. After the votes were counted, Stephen Harper and the Canadian Conservative party were voted out after nearly a decade in power and one of the most conservative eras in Canada’s history. Instead, a liberal candidate named Justin Trudeau was voted in. As a bonus fact, his father Pierre served as PM in the 1970s-80s.
Why does this matter? Well, if you don’t live in Canada, not a whole lot. But it could do a number of things for the U.S. in terms of foreign relations. President Obama and Harper didn’t quite get along on a number of issues (e.g. halting the Keystone XL oil pipeline), so this might change relations with our friendly neighbor to the north. For example, Trudeau is for the pipeline and Obama is against it, but Trudeau has said that “he won’t make it an issue of conflict.”
For the most part, Obama and the new PM’s ideologies are very similar. Obama and Trudeau spoke on Tuesday, and said in a statement that there is an “understanding” and that both leaders are “committed to strengthening the countries’ joint efforts to promote trade, combat terrorism and mitigate climate change.” On the other hand, Trudeau has promised to return to more peaceful and multilateral actions when it comes to global affairs. Most immediately, that likely means that Canada will remove resources they have allocated towards fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. However, the defeat of the Conservative party in Canada could hurt conservative politics in the U.S., according to this CNN op-ed. Republicans would argue that Harper steadily maneuvered Canada through the most recent financial crisis, kept taxes low, and maintained a surplus. Most worrisome is the more liberal stance on foreign policy, and has some conservatives worried about a soon-to-be lack of support in the Middle East.
What we can likely expect in the future from Canada: more action on climate change, a greater presence in multilateral diplomacy (think: the United Nations), less support for Israel, raising taxes on the rich, and running deficits for the first few years, to bump up spending.
**Disclaimer: I am not from Canada, and I will be the first to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about their political process. Feel free to correct me or leave a comment if you wish!**