INDEPTH: US ELECTION 2004|
Comparing the candidates: who would be better for Canada?
CBC News Online | October 28, 2004
Reporter: David Halton
It's clear who most Canadians would like to see in the White House, but it's less obvious who would actually be better for this country.
If Canada could choose, John Kerry would win by a landslide. In a recent poll, Canadians favoured Kerry over George W. Bush by an enormous 3-to-1 margin.
Certainly Kerry's worldview internationalist, in favour of consulting U.S. allies is more in line with traditional Canadian foreign policy.
"Our success is more certain when we build and lead strong alliances, not when we go it alone," Kerry says.
That's in contrast to the Bush approach: "I will never submit our national security decisions to a veto of a foreign government."
Christopher Sands of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says Bush has a clear goal: "He's very certain about what he wants. He asks you for it. You're with him, you're against him. You can help or call me later. And that bluntness, that directness, I think is harder for allies to engage on."
Susan Rice, one of Kerry's top foreign policy advisors, says Canada-U.S. relations would be better under her leader.
"There have been some points along the way in which I think the United States has not been prepared to accept Canada's differences with us, and perhaps we have punished each other in ways that are not befitting either of our nations. I think we can move past that," Rice says.
But if Kerry wins, trade-offs will be asked for on issues like Iraq, where he wants more Canadian help to pacify the country.
"I think Canada ought to be expecting to be among the partners that Senator Kerry approaches to play a more meaningful role in Iraq," Rice says.
But would Canada really be better off with John Kerry in the White House?
The two countries would be more in tune on foreign and social policies, but on trade issues, some experts say Canada would do better if Bush is re-elected.
While both leaders claim to be free traders, Kerry has adopted a more protectionist tone this year.
On Canada-U.S. trade disputes, for example, Kerry wants to:
Potentially more damaging, Kerry wants to restrict U.S. companies from outsourcing jobs abroad. The proposal could be devastating, particularly in industries like call centres and Hollywood movie productions filmed in Canada.
- Extend the ban on Canadian cattle imports.
- Maintain penalties against Canadian softwood lumber.
- Stop Toronto sending its garbage south of the border.
Former Bush speechwriter David Frum says, "On all trade matters, Kerry's taken a series of highly opportunistic positions. There's just no telling what he would do. He doesn't know himself."
In fact, there's a third and more important player driving trade policy: the U.S. Congress. So the hard reality is that neither Kerry nor Bush is likely to do Canada any favours.
Voting age population (VAP) in 2000:|
Eligible voters (VEP) in 2000:
Voter turnout (% of VEP) in 2000:
Numbers of seats up for election (2004):
House: 435 (all of them)
Senate: 34 (of 100)