Lets face it, we may live in Canada but watching US politics has been a strange kind of trip this year. We watched with hilarity, a bit of horror and helplessness as our neighbours to the south blasted holes into all previous conventional political wisdom.
Gaffes didn’t matter, neither did facts and that thing called the news? Well, better make sure it isn’t the fake kind.
But while many Canadians are kissing the Great White North’s frozen ground with grateful lips, it may well be an act of hubris and naivety to assume the USA election is not going to have a somewhat titanic shift for the rest of the western world and Canada as well.
Let’s take a look at some areas where there is already evidence of explosive changes that may be brewing and some Canadian political souls who have seen the bright light of opportunity beckoning:
- Let’s start with the ruling party. The liberal government knew this honeymoon would eventually end, but clearly they never imagined the great big Trumpian wind that would blow across their plans for the country’s ‘Extreme Liberal Makeover’.
- NAFTA is now up for renegotiation with the new Trump government and NATO may now require a top-up of funds for our country to remain covered and in good standing by new U.S. terms.
- Climate change leadership has become a winning brand so far for Prime Minister Trudeau, but the new guy in the White House looks set to cut back the ‘red tape” of the EPA for new investment and there certainly won’t be a carbon tax.
So, things are looking very different for the Liberals from the short days of the bromance of Justin and Barack. Will this new economic climate in the US suck potential economic opportunities across the border to a more business friendly U.S.A.? And how we be set new climate goals and remain competitive with the already great economic dragon to the south.
The Conservatives though must see a path forward although not without hazards. It’s been a shock as they watch Prime MInister Trudeau charm the world as the new progressive rock star of politics. Now, they have a place to wag fingers and warn of brain drains and economic viability as we compare our investment climate to the U.S.. But there are also dangers involved with this opportunity.
This is a party who was looking to shed it’s shroud of perceived negative and nastiness, and now Kellie Leitch and other potential Conservative candidates are taking Donald Trump’s playlist and giving it a bit of a go here. We’ve learned that a populist wave can be lurking in hidden places and the possibility of that wave taking hold is a wise thing to consider. So, the party will have to re-assess who they are and where their best chances lie. There may very well be a hidden and forgotten market for a place to discuss things like immigration and Canadian values.
And a year ago it seemed an impossible idea, but perhaps it’s the NDP who see one of the biggest bright lights from this Donald Trump win.
The NDP has had an identity problem. Do they ‘modernize’ and take on the Liberals’ shoes in order to place themselves in a more politically marketable position, or do they tack back to the left and grab the essence of some of what ideas like the Leap Manifesto have to offer.?
But now it’s not just the popularity of Bernie Sanders that has this party with a spring in it’s step. It’s that good old working class. And would- be leaders like MP Charlie Angus might just dust off some of the working class salvos from the NDP’s past and give them another shot in this new Trump environment. Heck, they can even pull out the jobs lost to Nafta and promise to revitalize manufacturing. They may need a little spit and polish but clearly if a Republican can win with this message this is an outfit that is back in style.
Yet finally, there may be a very different lesson for all parties in the year to come. What if the divisions we see in the U.S. are not because of either party’s platforms.? What if this is about voters perceptions of what government really is doing for them? Maybe Canadians aren’t quite yet comfortable with it but could a revolution towards a relevant , responsible government already be underway.
There is no doubt wise political minds can already feel the rumble.
The Arlene Bynon Show airs Monday – Friday from 4 – 6 pm ET on SiriusXM Canada Talks.