Trudeau's message for U.S. election: Canada must 'keep an eye on' how America changes, defending national interests

Elisabetta Bianchini
·5 min read

As the U.S. election day unfolds, Canadian neighbours are eagerly watching and waiting for the results to see who the next President of the United States will be. Will there be a second term for Donald Trump or can the Democrats take the lead with Joe Biden at the helm? Experts and analysts say a Joe Biden win could be in the best interest of Canada, but others say neither Biden or Trump are a perfect pick.

Freeland: ‘Every Canadian government needs to be a specialist in working with the United States’

At a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked to comment on the U.S. election, stressing that the Canadian government will continue to work with Americans and “defend Canadian interests” no matter the result.

“Many people will be watching this election tonight, I will certainly watch part of them, but we also know that there is a possibility that we won’t know results until tomorrow morning or even later in the week, or even longer than that,” Trudeau said. “We’re going to continue to watch and make sure we’re standing up for Canadian interests every step of the way but we will allow the American elections...to unfold as they will.”

“There are ebbs and flows of different factors, there are choices made by American presidents that are the reflection of movements and expressions of...the American people. These are all things that are important to Canada to keep an eye on, to watch for, to try to figure out how to best defend Canada’s interests.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland also wanted to “assure” Canadians that the federal government has “thoughtfully prepared” for all possible outcomes of the election.

“I think it’s a reality for Canada that every Canadian government needs to be a specialist in working with the United States and that has certainly applied to our government,” Freeland said. “We absolutely respect the choice that the American people are making today and we will be ready to work effectively with whomever they choose as their government.”

The prime minister went on to highlight that over the past four years, the Canadian government successfully negotiated a trade deal, and needed to “stand up” for steel and aluminium producers in an effective manner.

“Obviously elections matter and we will watch the results of this one, but Canada is well positioned and ready to continue to work with the American people and the American government, regardless of the outcomes of tonight,” Trudeau said.

How Canada feels about the leaders

According to a poll from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, in collaboration withe The Canadians Press, of 1,516 Canadians and 1,001 Americans between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1, a total of 77 per cent of Canadian respondents indicated they are very or somewhat interested in the U.S. presidential election. When asked if they plan to follow the results live on Nov. 3, 55 per cent of Canadian respondents said that is their plan.

In terms of concerns or anxieties around the U.S. election, 75 per cent of Canadian respondents indicated they are “worried” about the outcome, while 80 per cent are particularly concerned about “increased racial tensions leading to protests and violence.”

Of the Canadians surveyed, 80 per cent believe a Biden victory is better for Canada, with 81 per cent indicating they would vote for the Democratic candidate if they were able to.

Jagmeet Singh: ‘Vote him out’

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was very clear and transparent about his thoughts on the U.S. election, calling for Americans to vote out President Donald Trump.

“Trump makes the world a more dangerous place for all of us and I hope to see him lose,” the tweet from the federal party leader reads.

“We’re not in normal times,” Singh told reporters in Ottawa. “What president Trump has done is so far beyond what is normal that is a moral imperative that we have to speak out and make it really clear that what he has done in his presidency is wrong.”

The NDP leader sited how he “abysmally failed” American people, and people all over the world, by his mismanagement of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Singh said the responsibility lies with a president who “clearly is challenging science, who denies basic steps that would keep people safe, who has inflamed division, has inspired white supremacists.”

“In that context, yes, it is important for the wold to say very clearly, I’ve said very clearly, I think it would be better for the world if Trump loses and I hope he loses today,” the NDP leader said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also commented on the U.S. election, but did not go so far as to express his personal preference on the result.

“Canada has been and will always be a strong friend, neighbour and ally to the United States and we will all be watching with great interest the United States elect a president, practice their democracy,” O’Toole told reporters. “We are here to work with whomever the next president will be.”

“As prime minister I’ve said the priority will be trying to find common ground for the best interest of our citizen and hopefully the best interest of their...We have to keep that strong relationship.”