Anti-Clinton chants echoed during a protest at the Alberta legislature this December, which pegged as the first incident of the ‘Trump Effect’ in Canada. It is without a doubt that Trump surprised everyone in the US and Canada, and probably himself after he picked up an unexpected win during the US presidential elections. The election results was quickly dubbed as a populist effect by many, but with the changing political landscape which we are witnessing, it is also true that populism is not bound to geographic location.
Another example can be given of the small town of Smith Falls in Ontario, where a month ago, local residents called for a provincial project which would result to all the town folk receiving a guaranteed income. The Canadian Press is now exploring the various factors that led to the sentiments which fuelled the Trump campaign and then eventually resulted to Trump winning the elections. The program is being called the Populism Project, and is going to test the factors that led to the unbelievable win for Trump, against the current political and economical climate in Canada to find out if such a scenario could be possible in the Great North.
Support for Trump is running high in Canada. In fact, according to a recent poll that was carried out by Ekos, 57% of around 2,000 Canadians who identified themselves as Conservatives said that they approved how Trump was conducting his duties as President of the United States so far. Support for Trump is said to be highest in Alberta, who are extremely vocal Trump fans. It also comes as no surprise that both Alberta and Ottawa are Conservative strongholds. But, what’s even more interesting is the similarities in the demographics which was behind Trump’s win in the US and his supports in Canada. The best example of how municipal politics can foster populism can be given of the late Rob Ford, who was mayor of Toronto whose political success hinged on an anti-establishment campaign, which was carefully crafted to position him as someone who was for the people. If the current state of affairs continues of the Liberals, we might see Canada’s version of the nativist sentiment which Trump used during his campaign.