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Inauguration Day in the United States

What does this mean for us here in Canada?

Inauguration Day in the United States-us-mileniosatdium
Biden reacts as he delivers his inaugural address that lasted about 22 minutes and included a moment of silence to honour the lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic. ( Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On January 20 every four years a new president is sworn into office in the United States and this swearing in or inauguration as the Americans call it is usually a fun transition of power from one president to the other. However, on January 20, 2021 the transition of power from Donald trump to Joe Biden will make for an interesting 100 days to come and it affects globally and in particularly here at home in Canada.

In setting up for this transition of power it has not come without bloodshed and the disruption of a nation that seems to be split down the middle. Even though Trump lost the general election, he still managed to garner over 75 million votes to Biden’s 80 million electors that put him over the top. This close election has erupted the United States into a brink of civil unrest, where they have placed more armed national guard on duty on the capital in Washington then they have in Iraq for the inauguration swearing in of Joe Biden.

As of noon, on Wednesday January 20, 2021 Joe Biden will be know as President Biden and will serve at least for the next four years. This transition of power from Trump to Biden has many people wondering what’s to come. There is all sorts of rumours and speculation as to what’s to come or what the changes will be and its effects on our country and its economy.

Donald Trump did not have a good relationship with our Prime Minister and in many cases kept degrading Trudeau and calling him very weak and challenged him on many issues including free trade and all the tariffs that were implemented on Canadian goods and services. Trudeau and Trump did not have a good working relationship which filtered down to our economy and we have had our challenges under the Trump/Trudeau era. This relationship seemed to hit the lows, with Trump calling Trudeau nasty names and, with a slap of aluminum tariffs, declared Canada a national security threat to the United States.

Is President Joe Biden, Better for Canada?

Keystone Pipeline

It sounds like President Biden in his first days as president will with the stroke of a pen in an executive order will cancel many policies that may directly or indirectly affect us here in Canada. Joe Biden has indicated plans to cancel the keystone XL pipeline permit via executive action on his first day in office according to sources. The cancellation of the keystone XL pipeline a $9 billion dollar project seems to be on the brink of no longer. The expression for the cancellation that seems to be making its rounds is…rescind the Keystone XL pipeline permit appears to be a done deal. Biden has months ago indicated that he planned on cancelling the pipeline, though supporters of the project had been hoping he would change his mind. The project crosses over the U.S. – Canada border and has the support of the Canadian government.

What’s interesting when it comes to the keystone pipeline project, Joe Biden campaigned on cancelling this deal which is really no surprise, but the Trudeau government has not pushed back on this file. So far, the Trudeau Liberals have gone silence for now, and it will be interesting to see if Trudeau will pick up the phone and do some lobbying on this file.

Border and Immigration

When it comes to boarder and immigration between the two countries, it seems that a Biden presidency will be much more lenient when it comes to cross boarder movement of both people and goods. A Biden/Trudeau relationship will flourish when it comes to immigration due to the fact that he is a Democrat which really means a Liberal here in Canada. Immigration will be much more open and flexible to moving folks between both countries. President Biden has come on the record that he and his party want to open up immigration and even have new citizens vote without being a U.S. citizen…this is where they continue to strengthen their base as have the Liberals under the Trudeau eras of both father and son. The trafficking of economic goods will flow quicker and without bloated regulations that have been implemented by the Trump administration.

Immigration under President Biden will see plans to send Congress a large – scale immigration plan within his first 100 days in office. The plan would offer a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrations currently in the United States. This measure will push new immigrants to find opportunity north of the borders into Canada.

Trade and the Economy

Under the Trump administration, trade disruptions have included threatening to rip up the North American trade deal, insulting Canada during the renegotiation of a new agreement and imposing what were viewed as degrading national security metals tariffs.

President Biden will likely mean an end to the persistent threat of the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump imposed on Canada in 2018, using executive powers under U.S. trade law that gave the president the right to impose them on national-security grounds. Donald Trump was, officially, targeting cheap Chinese steel flooding into the U.S. through Canada, imperilling domestic production of an important military commodity. However, Trump’s commerce secretary made clear at the time the tariffs were being imposed to pressure Canada and speed up the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Climate and Energy Sector

Canada is totally in favour of the Paris climate accord pack of which the Trump government killed and stopped providing funding to this organization. Joe Biden has demonstrated that he is prepared to deliver on his promise to pursue a more ambitious environmental agenda than any president before – one that aspires to rapidly shrink the nation’s carbon emissions, give voice to the vulnerable communities hit hardest by pollution and create new jobs in industries helping to create a greener future.

Biden’s new government is planning to pursue a costly package of climate change policies aimed at transforming the country’s economy, including the way farmers plant crops and the way automakers design engines. Biden will seek to merge the need for stimulus spending with the need for climate action – without taxing crude oil, carbon or gasoline, as previous presidents tried in vain to do. President Biden intends to insert or earmark money for climate plans in every department budget. But marshaling political support will pose obstacles.

China and Foreign Policy

When it comes to China and foreign policy, it looks like the Biden administration will ease past tensions with China and try to erase all the bad blood and animosity around COVID-19 and past issues with trade and commerce. The Biden administration will try and include Canada and its foreign policy initiatives and try and roll it into one power. The Trudeau Liberals will go along with the United States lead, especially with the Obama influence that will be put on by the former Obama team.

The past issues that Hunter Biden encountered with China, may turn out to be an issue for the new administration, but l highly think that it will go nowhere. The Canadian government is presently pro-China and we have worked with them in the past very well and there is no reason why it won’t continue.

Aside from the keystone pipeline deal possibly going south, it looks like a Biden administration could be better for Canada. Our country should benefit with much less drama that has come from Trump over the past four years and hopefully we can conquer the COVID-19 pandemic together and move forward in a humanitarian and orderly way.

Vincent Black/MS

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