“Did you hear what Trump said?” has now become a sure way to start a conversation. Regardless of what he said, we have our own government to listen to.
With November’s elections approaching fast, everybody seems to be talking about how the United States will have to choose between arguably the two most unpopular candidates in American history.
From Trump’s immigration comments to Clinton’s email server, this election has the intellectual appeal of a Kardashians episode. But we, Canadians, need to remember that we didn’t elect them. Canadians invested in the American election: remember that it was Americans who democratically and legitimately elected Trump and Clinton in the primaries.
It’s a typical tendency of university-aged groupthink to excitedly antagonize the right-wing figure of the day and Trump is almost irresistible. In fact, Trump is so irresistible that I’ve heard no mention about Kellie Leitch’s recent proposal of Canada’s own value test for immigrants around on campus.
As Canadians, we don’t have democratic influence over other countries’ elections, nor should we.
It’s naïve to think that geographic proximity means that we have similar political climates when the reality is that the United States and Canada have vastly different political interests and ideas of what’s dangerous.
In the United States, depending what state you’re in, imprisonment could mean disfranchisement and the death penalty whereas in Canada, you can still vote from your life sentence.
A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Canada will make the news for halting a Pride Parade — a celebration of diverse values and sexualities — whereas protests in the States often make the news for beginning or ending with a shootout. While many of the same issues exist in both countries, their realities are fundamentally different as soon as you cross the border.
Instead of bemoaning Trump and Clinton on social media, the circus of the American election can act as a bouncing off point to reflect on our values as a country and most importantly, how we want Canadian governments to react to either outcome of the election.
We had our own federal election already last year, but the lack of sensationalized stories about Canadian politicians right now doesn’t mean we should forget that we have our own government to be active in.
Canadian politics is benign and boring next to the American system — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mikayla is The Journal’s Features Editor. She’s a third-year Applied Economics student.
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