On Nov. 7, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris on their election win. On Monday, Trudeau was the first world leader to speak with Biden on the phone, further emphasizing that Biden has won the presidential election — and implying that Canada is eager to begin working with him.
Some would mistake the Trudeau government to be keen to work with anyone who is not the President of Trump. For four years, the Liberals in Canada must manage Trump’s regime as one might negotiate life with a toddler: with constant attention fatigue. Of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement on tariffs for defense for the president who failed covid-19 responses and their effect on the border, Canada has been managing the need for relations with the United States in conjunction with the unpredictable, unreasonable, unproductive and administration Trump often surprising terrible, More than once, Trudeau has called for failing to condemn Trump. The best I could muster, apparently, a long pause when asked about the police-state tactics against protesters Trump in June. After a pause, Trudeau added: “We all watched in horror and fear of what is happening in the United States.”
A Biden administration would be better for Canada and the world, but not without challenges for the Trudeau government. It’s just that the challenges will be more familiar and predictable, the kind that has characterized US-Canadian relations over the years.
For example, Biden supports the “buy American” agenda that could mean protectionist measures for Canada. Trudeau has indicated he will resist any such attempts. Perhaps he could. But the protectionist challenges will not be solved in the near future, especially if Biden decided that future elections the Democratic Party in the White House and Congress depends on the competitive success in the Rust Belt states. Softwood lumber – a perennial site of contention for the two countries – no doubt will remain controversial, too.
Biden’s climate plan closer to Trudeau than Trump is – which is not surprising because Trump, well, does not really exist. Biden intends on rejoining the Paris agreement, which Canada is a part of, and to hit zero net emissions by 2050, which is also targeted Canada. Indeed, the climate plan, Biden was, in some respects, more ambitious than the Liberal plan, with the expenditure of more aggressive, informed in part by Sunrise Movement role played in developing the environmental agenda. As far as the regulatory regime in both countries harmonize climate policy could become more stable, coherent and effective. An optimist might wonder whether the two countries may attract each other in a race to the top, towards becoming a leader in climate spending and policies. optimistic would be feasible when daydreaming.
Keystone XL pipeline would be the flashpoint for the Canada-US relationship. Forward. Biden calls these pipeline products “tarsands we do not need,” adding that it was “very, very high pollutant.” Trump supports Keystone, like Trudeau and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who bet on the fight and struggle for the provincial government. The pipeline will carry crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. But what is worse for Trudeau and Kenney was not bad for all Canadians, many of them – including myself – are opposed to Keystone.
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