(Washington) The outcome of the US midterm elections will also affect the Canadian economy, as Democrats and Republicans clash over international relations issues.
For example: as soon as he took office, Democratic President Joe Biden had axed the Keystone XL pipeline project.
Now, it is Embridge’s Line 5, crossing the Canada-US border, that has become a symbol of the state of relations between the two countries: economically vital, but politically sensitive.
For example, Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been fighting in court for a year to shut down the pipeline, fearing an environmental disaster in the Strait of Mackinac, the environmentally sensitive corridor where Line 5 crosses the Great Lakes.
Her Republican opponent Tudor Dixon attacked her for this during a televised debate on October 25:
“Justin Trudeau, who is the most radical environmentalist in the world, invoked a 1977 treaty to tell Gretchen Whitmer that she cannot shut down Line 5,” he said. Line 5 wasn’t shut down, but that’s not for lack of effort on Gretchen Whitmer’s part. »
The return of protectionism
But even the issue of natural resources was overshadowed last year by evidence that US protectionism is alive and well. Indeed, President Biden’s original initiative to encourage Americans to buy electric vehicles only admitted cars and trucks made in the United States.
This proposal, seen by the industry and Ottawa as an existential threat to the Canadian auto sector, was superseded in August by the Inflation Reduction Actwith incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles that now include Canada and Mexico.
Surely if a Republican-controlled Congress tried to undo the Democratic measures, Mr. Biden’s $369 billion climate and energy spending is likely safe, given that a repeal would require a presidential signature.
In an economic update released Thursday, federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland detailed some of the ways Canada plans to take advantage of U.S. measures, including plans for an investment program for electric vehicles and manufacturing of batteries, as well as tax incentives for the production of hydrogen fuels.
Democracy in peril
Political watchers in both countries have no illusions about the state of the Capitol over the next two years if Republicans take control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
The biggest worry for Canadians is the same as it should be for Americans, experts say: the dangers a majority Republican Party would likely pose to the world’s strongest and most enduring democracy.
“It’s scary,” said Matthew Lebo, a scholar of American politics and chair of the department of political science at Western University in Ontario.
He thinks of the most extreme voices on the political right — people like Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar — taking control of the most important.
“It’s not like democracy is starting to slip. Democracy has obviously already gone backwards in the United States. And the prospects of getting back on track are dim with these committee chairs. »