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In less than three months from today, the US will have a new President.
The conventions of both parties have been wrapped up. Speeches have been made. Nominations have been finalized. Both parties are now gearing up for the outcome. America is ready. However, can the same be said for Canada?
And make no mistake. The country needs several contingency plans for any potential outcome of the elections. The US is Canada’s biggest trade partner. And America’s internal political atmosphere full of frustration and divisiveness means that, no matter the outcome, there will be a fundamental shift in the US-Canada relationship.
And the government is still coming to terms with that realization. It has embarked on a set of initiatives to prepare for the potential impact of the elections on Canada. The country requires separate strategies for mainly four distinct possibilities. These are:
- A Republican presidency.
- A Democratic presidency.
- A split Congress.
- A Congress with a single-party majority.
Some of the central actors involved in creating plans include the representatives of Canada’s embassy in the US capital Washington and several consulates elsewhere in the country. The cabinet committee for Canada-US relations is coordinating all these activities.
“If I tried to show you an organizational chart it would take up an entire wall,” according to David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the US. “It’s a big enough job that there’s lots of work for everybody to do.”
An example of the widely varying potential outcomes of the elections can be seen when it comes to the Keystone Pipeline project. If elected, the democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will not pursue the Keystone Pipeline project, which can be hugely beneficial for the Canadian energy market. Trump, on the other hand, supports Keystone.
If Canada wants progress on the Keystone Pipeline, they better hope Trump is elected.