Donald Drumpf is the president-elect of the United States.
Let that post-Trumpatic stress sink in for a moment. In any other year against any other candidate, a man who called Mexicans rapists, a man who bragged about sexual assault, a man who threatened to commit war crimes, a man who called the Geneva Convention “the problem”, a man who guaranteed America that he had sufficient junk, or a man who started a fraudulent university would not, could not, and should not be elected president of the United States. This year, a man who did all those things will be the president come January 20.
Drumpf is the first president with neither political nor military experience. He allegedly offered Ohio Governor John Kasich the vice-presidency where Kasich would be in charge of both foreign and domestic policy (i.e. everything), which goes to show either that he never desired the responsibilities of the presidency or that he never thought that he could handle it. His domestic policy is “I will Make Donald Drumpf Again”, his foreign policy is “I will tell you later but right now it’s a secret”; and half of America, based on nothing, believed him.
But this is not about Drumpf’s flaws, because there are simply too many to cover in one article. He is more than America’s problem. He is the World’s problem too. He is my problem and yours.
Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once compared Canada’s relationship with the US to sleeping beside an elephant. “No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt,” said Trudeau. But this was no twitch or grunt. This was an all-out epileptic seizure on the part of the unpredictable American electorate.
Thus, Drumpf affects Canada’s relationship with the United States economically, socially, and militarily.
Economically, the elephant in the room, other than the elephant we are currently sleeping beside, is trade; Namely, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. NAFTA is a trade agreement which establishes a free trade area in North America between Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
Let us imagine the absolute worst case scenario, the unimaginable: Drumpf withdraws from NAFTA, which he called it “the worst trade deal in history.” And assume that he also repeals the US–Canada FTA, which NAFTA superseded. Since Canada exports nearly $400 million worth of goods to the United States (ten times more than trade to the entire European Union), and since trade is worth nearly two-thirds of our GDP, this puts millions of Canadian jobs relying on jobs in peril. The re-introduction of protectionism in the United States would sink Canada’s economy into a deep recession, possibly even a depression in the short term.
However, some have suggested that President Drumpf might actually be a benefit to the Canadian economy in the long term. Canadian politicians have long spoke of the need to diversify our economy from its reliance on the American economy. Jean Charest, the former premier of Quebec and leader of the Progressive Conservatives, called Drumpf a huge opportunity for countries looking to trade to North America. The US’ anti-trade attitude makes Canada a more attractive trade partner to the EU (with whom Canada recently signed a trade pact), the Middle East, and East Asia.
Socially, the greatest influence Drumpf has on Canada may be his effect on Conservative politics in Canada. Conservative leadership contender Kellie Leitch showed quite an affinity for Drumpf and Drumpf-like ideas during last week’s Conservative leadership debate, for which fellow candidates Chris Alexander and Deepak Obhrai slammed her for.
Leitch has run her campaign on “Canadian values”. Her controversial policy proposal of screening immigrants one-by-one for “anti-Canadian” values and sentiments has shot her from 1% in the polls to leading all the candidates among Tory supporters in the most recent Mainstreet Research poll. That is un-Canadian to say the least.
Militarily, and perhaps worst of all, Drumpf threatens the longstanding military alliance between Canada and the United States.
Drumpf told the New York Times that support for NATO allies would be conditional upon countries paying their suggested 2% of GDP on defense. “We have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills,” said Drumpf. When he was asked whether NATO Baltic states could count on the US coming to their aid to defend against an attack from Russia, Drumpf replied, “Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.”
23 out of 28 NATO countries do not fulfill that 2% obligation; Canada is one of them. Drumpf’s suggestion that he would not defend Canada from foreign attackers would threaten the credibility of the alliance.
Drumpf’s protectionist trade policy, his anti-immigrant rhetoric, and his suggestion that he would not come to the aid of Canada in times of war should worry every Canadian, far more than the million other stupid things that have come out of Drumpf’s mouth.
He is far more than an American phenomenon or an American problem. He is every Canadian’s problem, and every Canadian who believes in free trade, who believes in our military alliances, who believes in sheltering refugees, should be concerned about the Drumpf presidency.