Why this election matters to me, a Canadian

Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that this Tuesday, November 8 is the United States’ presidential election. As a Canadian, I may not be able to vote in the election, but that does not mean that I do not have a stake in the outcome. The results of this election could change the dynamic between the United States and its greatest allies, including Canada.

Canada has seen its own political change recently, with the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But Canada’s relationship with the United States, under Obama only strengthened with this change with the internet revelling at the “bromance” that developed between the two.

Should Hilary Clinton be elected, it is fair to assume that not much would change between Canada and the United States. However, if Donald Trump is elected, the alliance could be tested and here are some reasons why.

1) NAFTA

One of the strongest aspects of the Canadian-American alliance is on the economic front. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the United States is Canada’s biggest trading partner, employing millions of people and contributing to a significant decrease in Canada’s unemployment rate.

Donald Trump has vehemently spoken out against NAFTA calling it a “disaster” that he would renegotiate or break. The three countries involved in NAFTA: Canada, the US and Mexico generated 27 percent of the world’s GDP in 2015.  The implications of this would be major for Canada, not to mention what it could mean for the United States.

2) Multiculturalism

 Canada is known as a cultural mosaic, with a mix of ethnicities, languages and cultures coexisting within the true North.

The bigotry, racism and intolerance that has been exhibited over and over by the Trump campaign directly contradicts Canada’s political values and undermines a key component of Canada’s national interest.

Compound this with a fervent xenophobia and one could claim that there is a serious security concern at hand. Trump’s Islamophobia has only served to divide America and strengthen the Islamic State’s message. Creating rifts in society and strengthening radical Islam will be a major security threat for America’s allies, including Canada. 

 3) Security Alliances

Trump has been outspoken about his disregard for international alliances. To Canada, international alliances are essential in ensuring security and maintaining peace.

Canada is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as the United Nations. Trump’s attacks on these organizations puts Canada in a sticky situation, stuck between choosing national security and international cooperation and supporting its neighbor to the South.

While it is uncertain if a Trump victory would result in any immediate action by Canada, there is no doubt that Canada would have to act, should some of Trump’s policies be implemented.

America, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I do encourage you to vote. The implications of this election are far greater than you can imagine.