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A look at what U.S. election results could mean for Canada

Last Updated Nov 3, 2020 at 10:45 pm EST

A ballot box location in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle on Election Day. (Peter Wagner, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Expert says there likely won't be any significant repercussions for Canada no matter the outcome of the U.S. election


Political scientist says a Biden win will likely bring stability and predictability to relations between Canada, U.S.


U.S. election has already seen record advance voter turnout


Ballots are being cast and counted south of the border on Tuesday, as the U.S. election and the battle between Joe Biden and Donald Trump winds down.

Even if there are some big bumps on the way, David Moscrop with the University of Ottawa says Canada will be OK.

Communities across the United States have been preparing for potential unrest to come from election day. The possibility of instability is a real concern, Moscrop says, however, he points out that is a secondary issue should Trump lose.

If Trump loses, he will still be U.S. President until January. Moscrop believes the damage Trump could do in the months before a new administration is sworn in is of greater worry.

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“I don’t think there’s going to be any significant long-term effects, unless there’s some catastrophe that comes out of Trump trying to rig it last minute, or to hang on despite the fact that the Park Police are trying to drag him out of the Oval Office,” he says.

Moscrop points out, however, that there are protections in place.

“If (Trump) clearly loses tonight, I think Republicans will abandon him and I think the police and the military, who have sworn an allegiance to the constitution, not the the president, will do what they’ve got to do to make sure that things are orderly,” he explains.

Biden win wouldn’t come without challenges

Moscrop is in the camp that believes the Democrats will win the election.

However, he says a Biden win likely won’t come without its own challenges. Moscrop says Canada will still have to deal with U.S. protectionism and some differing interests if the former vice president is elected.

But, he adds we’ll have stability and predictability we don’t have now.

“I can’t imagine it’s going to get worse, and because Biden is more reasonable and predictable, it’s probably going to be a lot easier for Canada to manage that relationship than it was with Trump,” Moscrop tells NEWS 1130.

“Ditto the defence relationship — the one thing that a Biden administration would provide, that a Trump administration never would, is some predictability and stability. You might not always agree, you might have differing interests here and there but at least you can get inside the head of the other side and get a sense of what they’re after.”

Record advance votes

Nearly 100 million Americans had already cast their ballots ahead of election day, taking advantage of advance polling in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3.

Moscrop says it’ll be interesting to see how Americans vote on Tuesday, with advance polls heavily favouring the vice president. One expert says the expectation is that election day votes would lean more toward Trump, boiling it down to each party’s messaging to voters.

“The Democrats, in most places, were recommending early voting and Republicans were not,” UBC Professor Paul Quirk says.

Canada will work with whoever is president: Trudeau

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he, along with many Canadians, would be watching the results closely.

“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,” he said, referring to potential delays caused by a high number of votes cast through advance polling.

Trudeau noted that his government has had to push back against some policies from the Trump administration. However, both countries have still been able to work together on other matters.

“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,” he said.