• Fri. May 14th, 2021

Biden time: what a Democratic presidency might mean to the Canada-U.S. relationship | CBC News


Oct 28, 2020

Joe Biden dropped in on Ottawa again in December 2016 — only a month earlier than changing into the previous U.S. vp — to salute a Canadian-American relationship that might quickly be examined by Donald Trump.

“The partnership between Canada and the United States is among the most robust, most complex and most important in the world,” Biden advised premiers and Indigenous leaders as his host, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sat by his facet. “We are deeply interconnected in every way. Our people. Our economy. Our environments.”

Those have been reassuring phrases coming from a person who is aware of Canada effectively, whose private {and professional} connections to this nation are deep — and who may very effectively be the president-elect of the United States subsequent week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrive at a state dinner in Ottawa on Dec. 8, 2016. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The household of Biden’s first spouse got here from Canada; they visited typically earlier than she was killed, together with their younger daughter, in a horrifying visitors accident in 1972.

At a cocktail party throughout that very same December go to 4 years in the past, Biden mentioned his sons needed to be Mounties once they grew up.

“We are more like family than allies,” he mentioned on the dinner. “At least, that’s the way the vast majority of Americans feel about Canada and Canadians, and I hope you feel that way about us as well.”

Even Biden’s selection for operating mate on the 2020 Democratic ticket has sturdy Canadian ties. Sen. Kamala Harris spent her highschool years in Montreal, the place her mom was a professor at McGill University.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination on August 19, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Harmony … up to some extent

So, would a Biden win be good for Canada?

Observers say concord would change a minimum of a few of the discord of the previous 4 years underneath President Trump — who deployed tariffs, insults and threats when coping with his nation’s largest buying and selling companion.

“There are a number of policy areas in which a Biden administration would be much closer to Canada,” mentioned former Trudeau international coverage advisor Roland Paris, now a professor on the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

“Climate change, standing up for allies, defending democracy and human rights at home and abroad … the list goes on.”

There’s a ‘however’, after all.

“It’s also true that Joe Biden has run on a nationalist economic agenda and that has to be a concern in Ottawa,” Paris mentioned.

Start with the slogans Trudeau and Biden selected for his or her pandemic financial restoration plans. Trudeau’s is “build back better.” Biden’s is “build back America better.”

Protectionist tendencies 

Biden’s platform would not see Canada in the identical gentle the candidate did 4 years in the past.

Biden’s restoration plan contains “Buy American” measures in its $400 billion procurement technique and commits to attracting new funding and returning manufacturing provide chains to the United States.

He additionally would rescind federal approval for the $Eight billion Keystone XL pipeline mission — nonetheless seen by many Canadians as a important assist for an power sector in bother. And regardless of his 36 years within the Senate, together with two stints as chair of the highly effective international affairs committee, Biden has by no means proven any inclination to unravel the softwood lumber downside — the largest, longest-running bilateral commerce dispute between the 2 nations.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s reliance on tariffs to appropriate what he sees as commerce imbalances has made the Canada-U.S. relationship much less sure. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

It all represents a risk to the buying and selling partnership — not the form of risk that Trump’s tariffs on metal and aluminum represented, however one that also would require vigilance on the federal authorities’s half to guard Canada’s entry to the U.S. market.

Democrats are, by custom and inclination, extra protectionist than Republicans due to their sturdy ties to the labour motion and a political base extremely concentrated in city America.

Ottawa braces for a sweep

Paris mentioned the Trudeau authorities must be nimble in defending Canada’s pursuits — particularly if the Democrats additionally achieve management of the Senate on Tuesday.

“I think there is likely to be strong support if that happens for a new Buy America approach by a Biden administration,” he mentioned. “It points to the importance of Canada redoubling its efforts to reach out to politicians at all levels of government.”

Canada has been making ready for the opportunity of a Democratic sweep. Trudeau spoke this week to his ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, and the 13 Canadian consul-generals throughout the nation.

One Canadian official, talking on background, mentioned the Biden and Harris connections to Canada have been “overblown” by the media.

But there are different ties. Biden’s marketing campaign chair, Jen O’Malley Dillon, labored with Liberal operatives prematurely of the 2015 Canadian election. Susan Rice, former nationwide safety adviser to Barack Obama, is married to a Canadian and in addition has shut ties to each Biden and the Trudeau workforce.

Canadian officers have been renewing their contacts with American coverage makers, emphasizing a shared dedication to decreasing climate-changing emissions and selling a coordinated North American response to the pandemic — together with cooperation on vaccine analysis and the manufacturing of non-public protecting gear.

“Joe Biden is a known commodity,” mentioned Peter Boehm, a long-serving Canadian diplomat earlier than his appointment to the Senate. “He knows the files. He has a long track record from his time in the Senate and vice-president, so it won’t be a steep learning curve if he becomes President Biden.”

Trudeau and his workforce should not taking sides forward of Tuesday’s outcomes. And even when Biden wins, his private connections to Trudeau and Canada assure nothing so far as the bilateral relationship is anxious.

He’ll nonetheless be paid in U.S. {dollars} to defend U.S. pursuits — irrespective of how shut his ties to this nation could be.

WATCH: How a Biden presidency would possibly have an effect on Canada

If Joe Biden wins the U.S. presidential election, Canadians may really feel the impression in areas like power, commerce and defence. 6:42


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