The Liberal Party of Canada won yesterday’s election, giving them an outright majority in the Canadian Parliament.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister designate and son of former Liberal Party Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, led his party to victory with just under 40 percent of the vote. (Since there is a significant third party, the New Democratic Party [NDP], as well as other minor parties, it is common for the ruling party to win with less than 50 percent of the vote, unlike in the U.S.)
What does this mean for the U.S.?
With the ruling Conservative Party of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the way out, it is important that the U.S. and Canada maintain their uniquely strong bond.
The United States and Canada have a long history of cooperation on trade, homeland security, and defense issues. With the longest shared land border in the world, the U.S.-Canada trade relationship was the largest in the world as of 2011, exceeding U.S.-China and U.S.-Mexico trade.
This vibrant trade relationship has been boosted by the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that allows goods to easily move between our two nations, bringing significant benefits to consumers.
More recent measures, such as the Beyond the Border partnership, have worked remove the additional barriers and delays to trade.
Through the Beyond the Border Program, Canada and the U.S. have also worked to expand their security and law enforcement cooperation. Ranging from the Shiprider program that allows jointly manned patrol vessels to operate in both nations’ waters to connecting our entry and exit systems at our borders, the U.S. and Canada have continued and should continue to deepen our cooperation in these areas to keep both nations safe. Similarly, the U.S. and Canada have worked together in North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to secure the North American airspace. Through these and many other initiatives, the U.S. and Canada have what many consider the closest bilateral relationship in the world.
On energy policy, the Obama administration’s continual delay of the Keystone XL pipeline approval has undoubtedly damaged America’s energy trading relationship with Canada. Trudeau supports the pipeline, which enjoys broad bipartisan support in U.S. Congress because construction of the pipeline is a jobs creator and would increase supplies from an important and reliable ally.
Another policy battle that will soon test Trudeau is the international climate negotiations in Paris this November and December, which could impose costly emissions cuts with minimal climate benefits.
How active Canada is in the Paris Protocol negotiations remains to be seen, as the “Canadian Liberals have vowed to be stronger on the environment than Harper has been, they also promise to give individual provinces greater power to decide on their own carbon-cutting strategies.”
Any international agreement could take much of that power away.
Trudeau and the Liberal Party in their party platform agree that the U.S.-Canadian relationship is an important one.
The U.S. should continue to embrace our northern friend and ally and seek to work with the new Liberal government to further reduce trade barriers, enhance homeland security and defense cooperation, expand our energy markets, and look for new ways to strengthen both nations.