By the time you’re reading this, you’ll have had a few sleeps since Donald Trump won a shocking (for Canadians, at least) victory in the U.S. presidential election.
Like those of us who’ve scratched our collective heads for months, amazed that someone with Trump’s distinct lack of presidential manner and dearth of knowledge on issues could possibly get this far, the fact he actually won has started to sink in.
While there has thankfully been no loss of life yet related to this result (that we know of), it really is kind of like a 911 scenario, where you keep thinking you’ll wake up at some point and it will all have been a bad dream, or someone’s idea of a practical joke.
Well folks, it hasn’t been. Trump won fair and square, without “rigging the election” and will in January begin his four-year term as the most powerful leader in the Western world. Scary as that may sound to the average citizen and the financial markets, let’s remember that U.S. voters put him there.
Sure, the popular vote was a virtual dead heat – Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton actually held a slight edge – but Trump won the states he needed to win. Kind of like scoring the big goal in sudden death overtime in four games out of seven.
So what will life look like for us Canadians with a Trump presidency? We’re not entirely sure, as he’s given very little real detail on how U.S. relations with their largest trading partner might change. What he has done, and what scares many Canadian business people, is voice serious opposition to free trade – with Canada, with anyone.
While any move to scrap the North American Free Trade Act would likely be debated in Congress till the cows come home, Trump, the outsider who appears to lack support in the Republican caucus, does have the luxury of having his party control both the House and the Senate.
Thinking about Canada’s role with Trump in the White House made me think about the movie Love Actually, where Hugh Grant plays the newly elected prime minister of Great Britain. In true Grant style, he understatedly does his job. But during a political tête-à-tête with the pompous, sexist American president played by Billy Bob Thornton (notice any similarities there?), Grant’s PM shows his true mettle and stands up to the jerk.
I hope Canada, led by our own Hugh Grant in the form of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, does the same if and when Trump steps out of line.
A reality TV show host, wealthy real estate developer and neophyte politician who’ll soon be starting a new job, Trump has attracted both the curiosity and incredulousness of the legitimate media and the public north of the border. Who knows what personality he’ll bring to office?
I certainly hope the gauche showmanship he used to get into the psyche of the American people will get put in a box and tucked away somewhere deep in the basement of the White House, and he’ll somehow learn to be a serious leader. His country, and ours, deserves as much.