Editorial: Trump’s triumph

Published on November 10, 2016

KT cartoon, originally published Nov. 3, 2016

©Kevin Tobin

The sun came up on the morning after the U.S. presidential election. Darkness did not descend over the land. Despite Donald Trump’s upset victory, there were no great calamities — natural or otherwise. It seemed like business as usual.

As Atlantic Canadians awoke to the news about President-elect Trump, our immediate reaction was to ask what does this all mean?

Will we change plans to spend the winter in Florida? Doubtful. Is that golf excursion to the southern U.S. still a go next spring? Probably, as long as the dollar doesn’t tank under 70 cents. Will our pension plans evaporate in a stock market collapse? Maybe, but we hope not.

For Atlantic businesses, what does it mean for our hundreds of millions of dollars in seafood exports, potatoes and oil? Will a flood of Americans flee to Cape Breton to escape a Trump presidency?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quick to offer his congratulations to Trump and express a desire to work closely with him. Clearly the PM expected to be dealing with Hillary Clinton on bilateral issues like climate change and strengthening NAFTA.

For Clinton, and all women, the presidential glass ceiling remains intact.

Trump said repeatedly he would tear up NAFTA; that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese; that he will withdraw from the Paris climate accord even as P.E.I. sinks below the waves; and that oil pipelines should be built over environmental concerns.

But Trump has rarely mentioned Canada — with either praise or criticism. He has reserved much of his venom for Mexico, China, Muslims and NATO. To him, we are like another Alaska — cold, barren and forgotten.

It’s unlikely there will be any developing bromance between Trudeau and Trump although they actually agree on building the Keystone XL pipeline and Trump is said to like the PM’s celebrity status.

As Trudeau said, as the U.S.’s largest trading partner, we will remain close friends, partners and allies. It’s essential we co-operate closely on defence and international peace and security issues.

How will Trump behave once he’s sworn in? We can only hope he won’t follow through on much of his brazen, threatening and exclusionary election rhetoric.

His acceptance speech Wednesday was conciliatory towards his opponent. She was back to being Secretary Clinton and was thanked for her service to her country. There was no talk of Crooked Hillary or imminent jail.

The system is no longer rigged, the press is not corrupt, democratic institutions did their job and he will accept the voters’ mandate. It’s time for all Americans to work together for the good of the country.

What a different one night makes — either he mellowed instantly, or this was just a case of playing nice on election night.

But time will tell.