Tallying a total of 306 electoral votes, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 46th U.S. presidential election. With a shift from a Republican to Democratic-led White House, the United States will adapt to the recent leadership change, which will also affect order within Canadian policy. As Canada continues to hold strong relational ties with the U.S., the presidential change could mark the beginning of a dramatic shift in both political and economic order.
The veteran Democratic politician vows to transform the American system with numerous promises, one of which is towork closely with its allies, including Canada’s government. Following four years of tense relations with Donald Trump, the Canadian government prepares for the U.S. change in administration.
Trade and the Economy
During Donald Trump’s presidential term, trade between the United States and Canada has been one of North America’s largest economic issues. Trump’s change to the North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as the levelling of tariffs and counter-tariffs, has significantly affected the U.S.’ trade with its neighbouring countries, impacting the global economy. However, Biden proposes a new approach that focuses on ensuring “the future is made in all of America.”
His initiatives aim to restore critical supply chains and avoid relying on other nations during a potential crisis by pledging to tighten domestic content rules. This may affect closely linked Canadian manufacturing sectors that are reliant on providing services to our southern neighbour.
Biden also promises to implement more “Buy American” policies and renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump withdrew from, regardless of whether it will resolve the trade war with China. These policies can inhibit Canadian companies from bidding on U.S. infrastructure projects at the state and municipal levels.
In terms of the environment, the U.S. was the only country in the world to withdraw from the Paris climate change pact, an agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that works to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
Biden plans to put the U.S. back into the agreement as soon as possible. He has also outlined some of his own domestic environmental policies that could be beneficial for Canada. This presents opportunities for the country to open markets for clean energy technology.
In the past, Trump’s decisions on environmental policies, such as limiting carbon pricing on industries and methane regulations, have forced Canada to adjust its own policies and change taxation. But as the new presidential elect, Biden promises to bring the country back into the competitive market.
However, Biden disappoints Canadians as he hinders opportunities for an expansion in the fossil fuel infrastructure. He plans to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline’s regulatory authorization, which is designed to bring Canada’s oilsands bitumen to American refineries. This will undoubtedly cause great implications for the Canadian industry.
Biden also declares that American companies will accelerate clean energy technologies and products to benefit the U.S. economy. In turn, this poses the question of whether Canada will receive adequate support for its own industries, especially since Canada’s economy is made up of large regions that are heavily dependent on the exploitation of fossil fuels. Specifically, these new clean energy regulations will be detrimental to Alberta’s economic future as its government has invested nearly $1.5 billion in the Keystone XL pipeline project.
Biden’s administration will change numerous restrictions and sanctions on immigration laws and regulations. During Trump’s four-year presidential term, the policies of immigration were altered dramatically. These alterations resulted in the construction of a 400-mile wall between the U.S. and Mexican border, a travel freeze due to the recent pandemic, and multiple visa restrictions in an initiative to maximize jobs for unemployed Americans.
Under Trump’s “Hire American” initiative, which focuses on redistributing employment opportunities to accommodate unemployed Americans better, services like acquiring a visa have been restricted and have prevented immigration.
Biden plans to take on a different approach that will allow for a greater number of high-skilled worker visas to be granted, inviting more immigrants to the country. His administration intends to modernize the infrastructure and system of immigration in a humane approach, embracing diversity.
A transformation of the American immigration system would affect Canada as the U.S. would once again be a country with prosperous job opportunities. Although Biden’s focus on diversity and his other initiatives such as removing restrictions on Muslim travel will be advantageous, Canada’s workforce may see less immigration as America will now be more receptive to immigrant workers.
Relations with China
One matter that was difficult to accomplish for Trump during his term was the nation’s peaceful coexistence with China. However, Biden aims to approach things differently and work closely with the country’s allies, especially China. This promise will lead to the enhancement of the global economy.
Trump’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization has negatively influenced China-U.S. disputes in terms of agriculture, educational exchanges, new technologies, and sanctioned goods.
Biden aims to restore these relations by hosting a summit exploring new democracies that will cover ways governments and private-sector companies, such as banks and social media platforms, will affect global authoritarianism.
As the U.S. strengthens its ties with China, the Canadian government will be equally affected, and relationships will be reinforced. Additionally, these relationships could lead to the mitigation of imprisonment laws for Canadians unable to leave China.
Following Trump’s victory back in 2016, hate-related incidents have risen in both the U.S. and Canada. Under Trump’s administration, the social construct has impacted Canadians with an increased amount of hate crimes against ethnic cultures in almost every region. Trump’s campaign has provided a powerful voice and a greater platform for xenophobic and racist individuals.
Now that Biden is in office and has pledged throughout his campaign to become more of an inviting figure, nations will undoubtedly benefit from a more inclusive influential body. He has guaranteed his economic agenda will combat the racial inequalities enabled by Trump and strives for a more robust, resilient, and more inclusive economy.
With this being said, Biden’s promises regarding discrimination and prejudice can positively impact Canada as he states, “this election is not just about voting against Donald Trump. It’s about rising to this moment of crisis, understanding people’s struggle, and building a future worthy of their courage and ambition to overcome.”
In the last four years, the world has seen obscenity, racism, and human neglect at the hands of Donald Trump. We now can look forward to a less racist, and more inclusive, administration. Nonetheless, there is still work to be done in terms of reconciliation and forging a new path forward. As for Canadian communities, there is hope for mutual growth, peace, and a stronger economy with Biden’s administration.