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Every four years, Facebook and Twitter are inundated with posts from people anxious to move to Canada after their given candidate for president loses an election. Generally, plans to move to the land of free health care and moose meat are little more than over-used jokes; but, when Donald Trump became our 45th President-elect, things got real.
Before you pack your bags and head to the northern border, consider how Trump’s policies regarding the environment, foreign affairs and trade might drag Canada down with us.
With their multicultural cities, feminist prime minister and adorable polar bears, Canada might seem like a cool option now. But Canada’s coolest parts, its arctic, might soon melt away as Trump’s climate policy fires on all of its gas guzzling cylinders.
Ironically, the father north you go the warmer it is getting; Nordic regions are seeing the most dramatic effects of climate change, such as a rapidly rising average temperature. Canada has seen an increase twice that of the average global increase since the era Trump’s environmental policy seems to be stuck in, the 1940s.
Canadian insurance companies have doubled payouts for climate change related natural disasters every five years since 1983. The new norm in Vancouver is heat waves, forest fires and droughts, all of which plague residents and any future “Trump-fugee” that wants to live there.
The externalities of Trump’s presidency do not stop there. It is difficult to explain the success of The Donald, but images of abandoned manufacturing plants may have helped elect one of the most anti-free trade presidents in modern history. Trump’s central issue of renegotiating and possibly withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement could leave our biggest trade partner, those maple syrup chuggers to the North, without jobs or prospects for economic growth.
In 2002, the U.S. levied an almost-30 percent tariff on Canadian soft lumber, a Trumpian move to protect American workers in the lumber industry from subsidized Canadian timber. This chainsawed tens of thousands of jobs out of the Canadian economy and resulted in the U.S. having to pay back Canada $3 billion in their unfairly-levied tax.
If Trump invoked article 2205 of NAFTA, retracting the United States from the agreement that has intertwined all trade between two of our three biggest trade partners, he would have the power to levy taxes on Canada and Mexico at will, and with no over sight from Congress — not that the Republican-led congress would likely do much to stop him.
Canada has levied tariffs of their own on U.S. imports, such as a whopping 238 percent tax on U.S. eggs, and has been the champion of NAFTA complaints, receiving 35 to date. (Mexico has only received 22 and the U.S. 20.) The infractions Canada has racked up over the years might trigger a backlash of soft-lumber style tariffs against our trade partner after NAFTA is dismantled. If Trump’s brash twitter rants are any indication of his vindictiveness, thousands of more jobs could be lost in Canada as he builds cement walls to the South and trade walls to the North.
When the headlines broke that Trump won the election, the Canadian immigration website crashed as worried Americans looked for an escape from Trump’s America. But fleeing is not an option. Instead of cowardly retreating in defeat to a land that could very well be crippled by our President-elect, we all must stay in order to protect America’s greatness.
We can no longer rely on our leaders to address climate change, help the poor or serve the people. That is now our job. America’s greatness is not in its leaders. It is not in its trade deals or in its acceptance or denial of the realities of climate change. Our greatness is in the people who have worked to create a better tomorrow. The people of color who have stood up for their rights and the allies who helped make their dream a reality. The workers in factories who built our infrastructure only to have the changing global economy undercut their livelihood. The teachers, professors and people willing to engage in conversation, and who work to educate our under-educated populous (which, based on the results of this election, needs to learn what is and is NOT OK to grab).
The people of our nation are our greatest resource, and we should not add them to our list of global exports.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Staff Writer and Photographer Jackson Barnett at email@example.com.