TORONTO – Many Canadians plan to watch Donald Trump’s inauguration as the next U.S. president Friday on television screens, through online feeds or with friends at a local pub, but some say they will deliberately ignore the spectacle.
For Glen Pye, a Toronto business owner, it’s a historic event made even more appealing by Trump’s persona.
“You’re getting a guy who is pretty colourful and says lots of crazy things,” he said. “It certainly upsets the status quo.”
Pye, 64, plans to gather with colleagues at The Longest Yard, an eatery in the city’s west end that will be broadcasting the inauguration.
While he doesn’t call himself a Trump supporter, Pye said he’s intrigued by the president-elect.
“You can’t have someone like that forever but once every 100 years maybe it’s good to have someone come in like that,” he said. “Even though I’m not necessarily aligned with all the views he has, I’m glad he’s coming in.”
Trump enters the White House with the lowest approval rating of any new U.S. president of the modern era.
Over the course of the campaign that eventually resulted in his victory, Trump was accused of sexual assaults that he denied, railed against Muslims and immigrants, promised to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border and has threatened to scrap NAFTA, among other things.
Protesters have vowed to jeer him on the inauguration day parade route and a larger women’s march is planned for Saturday.
The landscape has Pye predicting an inauguration day that will be memorable.
“There’s lots of potential for crazy things to happen,” he said.
Daniel Erikson, a spokesman for the group Canadians for Donald Trump, said he will be monitoring multiple livestreams of the inauguration. The 38-year-old from Calgary is currently in Abu Dhabi for business but said his travels won’t stop him from taking in the event.
“It is a transitional moment. It’s something that does echo through history, especially when it’s a precedent-setting thing,” he said. “To see somebody who is a business magnate taking the reins of the most powerful economy in the world should be interesting to watch.”
While Canadians have a Liberal government, Erikson said it will be a positive thing to have a conservative leader in the U.S.
“I really feel there needs to be a more common sense voice, and obviously a more conservative and business-oriented voice south of the border that can act as a counterbalance to that ideology.”
Some Canadians, however, see Trump’s inauguration as a chance to mount a personal protest against a politician they strongly disagree with.
“I just can’t stomach it,” Linda Bawn, 60, said of Friday’s ceremonies. “I’m going to watch Netflix, I’m going to be on Twitter, but I’m just sickened. I just cannot watch it.”
Bawn, who is a dual American-Canadian citizen, said she followed the election campaign south of the border for 18 months, and is still stunned by Trump’s victory. She hopes not tuning in to the inauguration will have an impact on the event’s ratings.
Joseph Fusca shares that sentiment.
The 54-year-old Ontario business owner said he’s been trying to convince his colleagues to join him in boycotting live coverage of Trump’s inauguration.
“We shouldn’t give this man any adulation by watching his inauguration,” Fusca said. “I am taking my own personal action. I just want to see if I can influence people into not giving this man anything.”
Fusca said he knows a number of people who plan to tune in to the inauguration “out of morbid curiosity,” but he’s been urging them to skip the live event and catch the highlights later if they must.
“This is a very narcissistic guy that loves to brag about his poll numbers and ratings, so why would you give him that if you’re not supporting him.”