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If Trump wins in 2020 Here’s what Canadians can expect



This November, Americans will cast their ballots in what will undoubtedly be the most watched election of the year.

Whether or not U.S. President Donald Trump can pull off a second win is far from certain. The Democratic race for president remains unusually crowded, and while it’s unlikely that the Republican-held Senate will vote to remove Trump from office, the results of the impeachment proceedings are still technically undecided.

What is clear is that a second term for Trump would give the billionaire president another four years in the Oval Office – a time when many presidents focus on crafting their political legacies.

But what would that look like? And what would it mean for Canada? spoke with several political scientists, economists and Canada-U.S. relations experts to get a sense of what our country could expect if Trump wins re-election.


For certain businesses that rely on cross-border trade, a second term for Trump could lead to more volatility.

Canada’s auto industry directly employs 125,000 workers and indirectly affects another 400,000 workers. Some of those jobs could be at risk thanks to Trump’s war with California over fuel efficiency standards, according to Werner Antweiler, a business professor at the University of British Columbia and an expert in international trade.

In hopes of making cars more energy efficient and cutting back on gas emissions, former U.S. president Barack Obama introduced measures that would have nearly doubled fuel efficiency for all vehicles by 2025. Trump campaigned on a plan to freeze those standards. But California — the country’s most populous state — opted to follow through on Obama’s goals, a move that prompted Trump to tweet that Henry Ford was “rolling over” in his grave.

This uncertainty leaves Canadian auto makers in the lurch, Antweiler said, because they will be forced to choose which group to side with.

“Where will Canada be? Will Canada follow California, or will it revert to the lower federal standards in the U.S.?” he said. “We have a very important auto industry in Canada that is historically always aligned with the U.S., and I see a battle shaping up.”

Then there is the Canadian lumber industry, which was hit by steep tariffs during Trump’s first year in office. The U.S. has accused Ottawa of unfairly subsidizing lumber and then selling it to the U.S.

Canada has filed complaints under the World Trade Organization and NAFTA, but the issue remains unresolved, even under the newly agreed upon Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA.

“This file is still one that’s dangling,” Antweiler said.

“Ultimately, we need something that provides predictability to the lumber sector in Canada so that we’re not going to get short-changed again from arbitrary rules from the U.S.”


Fears of a recession have been on economists’ lips since August, when markets reported a yield curve inversion. Every recession since 1957 has followed a yield curve inversion, which happens when the payout for 10-year bonds suddenly slips below the payout for two-year bonds — a scenario that is essentially the opposite of what happens in a well-functioning, healthy economy.

Trump’s ongoing trade war with China — pitting the world’s two biggest economies against each other — has only worsened those fears.

“There are danger signs on the horizon,” Antweiler said.

“If Mr. Trump undermines the confidence of the world economy and we end up in a recession, that would be a particularly bad outcome for the United States, but also for Canada as well.”


Pollsters didn’t forecast a win for Trump in 2016, and so his victory came as a surprise to many political pundits.

If Trump were to win in 2020, the narrative would be different, according to Fan Lu, assistant professor of political studies at Queen’s University.

“When Trump won the first time, we thought it was a fluke. But if he wins a second time, it’s a pattern and something that is symptomatic,” she said.

“If that’s the case, then Canada as a country has to decide if it wants to serve as a counterpoint to Trump’s America or follow in its footsteps.”

As close neighbours, Canada and the U.S. share many similar problems, but Lu expects conversations around immigration will be especially heated if Trump wins again.

“I think the conversation already started when Trump imposed the Muslim ban and Trudeau tweeted out in 2017 … ‘to those fleeing persecution, Canadians will welcome you,’” Lu said. “And (Trudeau) has been somewhat blamed by some Canadians for increasing the illegal entries into Canada at these border crossings.”

Since the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada started tracking irregular border crossers in February 2017, Canada has received 45,517 refugee claims as of June 2019. Of those, 9,069 have been accepted. Another 27,173 claims are pending, while 7,786 claims have been rejected.

If Trump is re-elected, Lu expects debate around illegal border crossings will “ramp up and become even more salient.”

Lu’s research closely follows race in America. Trump has called Mexicans “rapists,” told four Congresswomen of colour to “go back home” and described a majority-black district in Baltimore as a “rat and rodent infested mess.”

Those sorts of comments only embolden people who hold racist views, Lu said, including “certain wings of Canada that would welcome” such behaviour.

“So if he gets re-elected, it legitimizes this sect of the electorate even more.”


Trump isn’t afraid to call out political leaders or foreign policies he doesn’t agree with. Recently, he threatened to use Britain’s National Health Service as a bartering tool in Brexit trade negotiations.

Wayne Petrozzi, a professor emeritus of politics from Ryerson University, suspects that Trump wouldn’t be afraid to similarly meddle in Canada.

“I have no doubt. Look at his willingness to use tariffs against Canada in discussions around the (CUSMA) trade agreement. All of the sudden there was this idea that Canada was a national security risk, so all of the sudden (Trump was) putting tariffs on Canadian steel,” he said.

On the chopping block, Petrozzi suggests, could be the Canadian health-care system or the pharmaceutical industry, which sells drugs like insulin at a fraction of American prices thanks to the government’s involvement in controlling prices.

“This has been an issue that has risen to the surface and slid back under the waves in the past,” Petrozzi said.

“There’s a longstanding complaint from the pharmaceutical sector in the United States about the way Canadian governments use bulk buying in order to reduce prescription drug costs. There has been criticism coming out of (the U.S.) about what they call the uneven playing field in Canada and the United States, and they’re concerned about that … I could easily see pharmaceuticals and more broadly the Canadian health sector becoming a flash point.”

However, on access to low-cost drugs, it appears Trump is open to working with Canada. In mid-December, the Trump administration said it intended to move ahead with a plan to allow Americans to import certain brand name drugs from Canada at cheaper prices.

The move was criticized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokesperson, who pointed out that Trump has offered no deadline to implement the plan.


If a Democrat pulls off a win in November, don’t expect Canada-U.S. relations to immediately get warmer.

In fact, depending on the Democrat, Canada could face entirely new challenges, according to Craig Geoffrey, an assistant professor who teaches classes on corporate finance at the University of Toronto.

Some candidates, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have campaigned on plans to rein in big banks. Many Canadian jobs — especially in Toronto — are closely tied to the financial service industry, and if Sanders or Warren followed through on those promises, “that’s going to have a negative impact for employment in Canada,” Geoffrey said.

“They have a lot of exposure to the U.S.,” he said. “If there are real legislative changes in the U.S. that make financial services less profitable, that’s going to hurt them.”

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Canada ends contract with Malaysia’s Supermax over labour allegations



Canada has terminated its sourcing contract with Malaysian glove maker Supermax Corp following allegations about forced labour, the country’s public services and procurement department said on Tuesday.

“Based on the seriousness of the allegations and expected timelines for the final audit results, the Government of Canada has decided, and Supermax Healthcare Canada has agreed, to terminate by mutual consent the two existing contracts for the supply of nitrile gloves,” the department told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Supermax did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Ed Davies)

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Russia fines Google for not deleting banned content



A Moscow court on Monday said it had ordered Alphabet’s Google to pay 4 million roubles ($52,526) for not removing access to content banned in Russia, the latest in a string of fines for the U.S. tech giant.

Russia upped the ante late last year in its efforts to increase pressure on Big Tech, handing massive, revenue-based fines to Google and Meta Platforms for repeatedly failing to remove content Moscow deems illegal.

Google declined to comment.

The TASS news agency reported that Google had been fined for providing access to links of banned websites.

($1 = 76.1530 roubles)


(Reporting by Alexander Marrow, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Jan. 17 –



Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks at Dubai Airport after the Australian Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 17, 2022. REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi (REUTERS)

Health Canada approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 therapeutic

The good news for Canadian health practitioners and burned-out hospital staff is that Health Canada has just approved Pfizer’s antiviral pill Paxlovid for treatment in COVID-19 patients.

The downside is, as explained in Friday’s newsletter, demand far exceeds supply even in the United States, where the drug is manufactured.

The approval came Monday, weeks after positive results in a clinical trial were published in which Pfizer said the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 89 per cent compared to a placebo in non-hospitalized high-risk adults with COVID-19. While the trial involved unvaccinated individuals, further studies have shown desired effects for vaccinated people.

Experts say an effective pill that’s easy to self-administer at home for those infected could relieve some of the pressure on the health-care system and change the trajectory of the pandemic, although it’s unlikely to be of major impact for this Omicron wave.

“This is welcome news — we have one more tool in our toolbox,” said federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos. “But no drug, including Paxlovid, can replace vaccination and public health measures.”

Canada has placed an order for an initial quantity of one million treatment courses but at a Monday briefing, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the federal government is expecting “supply at the beginning will not be great anywhere.”

Health Canada is authorizing it to treat adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to serious disease, including hospitalization or death.

The drug is intended for use as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of the start of symptoms. The treatment consists of two tablets of nirmatrelvir and one tablet of ritonavir taken together by mouth twice per day for five days.

Paxlovid could be useful for people who have underlying conditions that increase the risk of hospitalization and death related to the coronavirus, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Health Canada has warned, however, that the product shouldn’t be used while a patient is on any of a long list of other drugs, including common medications used to treat erectile dysfunction, high cholesterol and seasonal allergies, among others.

Pfizer is promising to churn out 120 million courses of the treatment by year’s end. That means in the absence of new, vaccine-evading coronavirus variants — a big if — next fall and winter could look a lot different in Canada in terms of the impact of COVID-19.

From The National

Parents weigh risks, benefits ahead of return to in-class learning

23 hours ago

Duration 2:26

Parents in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia are weighing the risks and benefits of sending their children back to the classroom as in-person learning resumes despite the Omicron surge. 2:26

Hundreds of air passengers broke in-flight mask rules in 2021

The issue of passengers flouting COVID-19 rules on airplanes has been in the spotlight in recent days after passengers on a Sunwing chartered flight from Montreal to Mexico were seen partying and vaping while not wearing masks.

Between January and December 2021, Transport Canada received 1,710 reports of passengers refusing to wear masks. In the vast majority of those cases — 1,594 — passengers refused to wear masks or to resume wearing them after they had finished eating or drinking.

In seven cases, passengers were not allowed to board the plane; in 108 cases, passengers who had boarded were ordered to leave the plane.

Figures collected by Transport Canada show that 959 of those cases resulted in enforcement action, ranging from warning letters to fines.

Wesley Lesosky, head of the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ airline division, which represents 14,000 flight attendants with nine Canadian airlines, said staff are in the uncomfortable spot of being the “mask police” in addition to their other duties.

“We have had incidents that have escalated to a physical nature,” he said. “We have had issues of obviously being sworn at, we have had issues of being spit at. We have had issues of just disgruntled people. We have had people [who] are just ticked off with the mask policy.”

Unruly behaviour has been a frequent problem in the U.S. Last week, three people were charged in connection with an incident in September at New York’s JFK Airport, where a security guard was allegedly assaulted as a pandemic-related exchange escalated.

The wearing of a mask to mitigate COVID-19 has been politicized in the U.S., with several Republican governors overruling mask mandates imposed by local authorities in their states. Travellers from all 50 states, however, have to abide by the mask mandate imposed in the pandemic if they enter an American airport or board a plane.

According to a CNN report last week, citing Federal Aviation Administration data, there were 5,981 reports of unruly passengers logged in 2021. Of those, 4,290 — nearly 72 per cent — were for mask-related incidents.

From 1995 to when the pandemic began in 2020, the FAA averaged 182 such incidents a year, per the report.

In contrast to Canadian data, which indicate there were more incidents as 2021 progressed, the first six months of the year in the U.S. had far more reports of adverse behaviour than the second half of 2021. That could partially be explained by the fact that, in general, the U.S. has had more business activity open and fewer societal disruptions than Canada, including airline travel.

Another wrinkle in the U.S. concerns Southwest Airlines, whose CEO has been the most vocal among the big airlines in criticizing the mask mandate. Unionized flight attendants at Southwest have just filed a grievance, indicating some pilots are not masking up in accordance with the FAA guidelines.

How the flouting of COVID-19 restrictions by leaders damages credibility and trust

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government have been on apology blitz after a woeful week of revelations concerning hypocritical behaviour in regards to the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

First, Johnson acknowledged public “rage” after it was learned he attended a May 2020 garden party involving dozens of Downing Street staff, held in contravention of COVID-19 restrictions that Britons were supposed to be following at the time. Then just two days later, Johnson’s office offered a separate apology to Queen Elizabeth over a pair of parties held by Downing Street staff on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021 — a time when pandemic restrictions prompted the Queen to sit alone in her grief in St. George’s Chapel the following day.

It will be up to the British people and the Conservative Party to see if Johnson can ride out the firestorm, but experts say the contradictory, rule-defying behaviour by rule-makers undermines key pandemic messaging and does little to build trust with the people paying attention to what their leaders say and do.

Maya Goldenberg, an associate professor of philosophy at Ontario’s University of Guelph who studies vaccine hesitancy, said such erosion of trust is a problem for people trying to lead the way out of a pandemic.

“The leadership in this pandemic, both politicians and scientists, needs a lot of public buy-in to successfully implement pandemic containment measures,” she said in an email to CBC News.

“When the leadership act as if the rules don’t apply to them, they damage public trust in the leadership — and by doing that, they undermine their own ability to lead effectively.”

Monica Schoch-Spana, who has worked in public health emergency management for more than two decades, said she fears that the repeated coverage of such stories may potentially be “reinforcing people’s lack of trust in government.”

Schoch-Spana, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said the stories about leaders who aren’t abiding by the rules are becoming fodder “for a proxy war for people in how they feel about politicians and governments more generally.”

They can also lead to distortion, as for every story about California Gov. Gavin Newsom or the Dutch king, dozens of political leaders have seemingly been modelling the correct behaviour for their constituents.

Closer to home, Canada has seen some of its own political leaders doing what they wanted, not as they urged others to do in the name of public health.

The list includes premiers going places they told others not to visit or holding gatherings that were questionable under the rules in place, as well as politicians taking verboten trips outside of Canada in the middle of the ongoing global health emergency. As recently as last month, a Liberal MP was removed from parliamentary committee duties after taking a non-essential trip outside the country.

Today’s graphic:

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