Many experts have had their say in the last few days on how the election of Donald Trump as new President of our neighboured country will likely affect various sectors of economy and trade, notably, but it is undeniable there will also be repercussions on our Canadian Armed Forces.
An expert on United States politics and law, Associate Professor & Academic Director at the Department of Political Science of Concordia University, in Montreal, Graham Dodds, explains, “Trump wants NATO members to contribute much more to their defense than they now do, ideally at least two per cent of their GDP.” A percentage Canada is nowhere near achieving at the moment – nor does it has any intention of reaching in the near future.
“Trump also says he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS and has endorsed the use of enhanced interrogation or torture for suspected terrorists,” adds the Professor. “Moreover, it is believed he could well seek to renegotiate the Iranian nuclear agreement.”
Those three statements, would they be applied to the new U.S. policies, would have an immediate impact on U.S.-Canada relations with regards to our Armed Forces.
However, Professor Dodds is not all pessimistic.
“More optimistically, I think that much of the Canada-U.S. relationship is institutional: it depends less on the individuals in charge, or on their political leanings than on long-term shared national interests,” he explains.
“Presidents and Prime Ministers come and go, but the strong Canada-U.S. relationship largely persists. So, even though Trump might well greatly strain the relationship, the relationship is strong enough that it will endure, hopefully.”
Lastly, Professor Dodds insists on the importance of understanding how U.S. policies work with regards to the Congress.
“Canadians often forget that the U.S. President generally (though not always) needs Congress to go along in order to get things done. And even though the new Congress will be dominated by Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans, and early on Congress will be under pressure to accommodate Mr. Trump’s wishes, Congress will inevitably have differences of opinion with the President.”