What a Trump or Clinton presidency could mean for Alberta and Canada

A former chief of staff at the U.S. embassy in Canada weighs in on what’s at stake for us when America chooses its next president.

Former aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton weighs in

'Trump has said he wants to buy a lot of Canadian oil. So that wouldn't be a bad thing, certainly for Alberta,' said Maryscott (Scotty) Greenwood. (Getty Images)

The U.S. election is less than two weeks away.

It's been an unprecedented campaign, and many questions remain about what a new administration will look like — including what a Trump or Clinton presidency could mean for Alberta and Canada.

Maryscott (Scotty) Greenwood is the former chief of staff at the U.S. embassy in Canada. (Linkedin)

A panel of experts will debate the possible outcomes Wednesday night at the Calgary Petroleum Club. The Calgary Eyeopener caught up with one of the speakers, Maryscott (Scotty) Greenwood, ahead of the talk.

Greenwood is an unapologetic Democrat and former aide to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. She's also the former chief of staff at the U.S. embassy in Canada.

The following is an edited transcription of her interview with CBC Calgary host David Gray:

Q: What would a Clinton administration mean for Canada?

Hillary Clinton is a globalist. She believes in engagement with the world and with our allies and she knows first-hand how important a relationship is with Canada. So I think you'll see an opening there. You also have a really interesting dance partner with the Trudeau government, right? He enacted a foreign policy agenda right when he was elected and that has been noticed by the United States and points to common ground with Hillary. So I think you're going to see a lot of really good opportunities to advance this really integrated and prosperous relationship.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responds to a question during a Q&A session during a Canada 2020 event in Ottawa in 2014. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Q: If Donald Trump wins, what will that mean for Canada?

What it means first of all, is massive immigration from the United States. Everybody's going to move to Canada first of all — so get ready for that! I think it's hard to predict what the Trump administration would mean because he doesn't have a policy track record, he doesn't have a consistent view about what he wants to do on certain big initiatives.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

He has said he would revoke NAFTA. You know, if you wanted to be incredibly charitable you could say, well, NAFTA is in need of an upgrade. That would be a very generous view of what could happen with Donald Trump, but I fear it would be more troubling than that. That he would unpredictable, erratic — you know he would be who he is, which is a difficult dance partner to say the least.

Q: Which candidate would be better for the province of Alberta?

I think that Hillary Clinton has a more coherent policy on energy and the environment. Clinton has looked at the importance of our interdependence with Canada and Mexico for U.S. energy security, and she is also very forward leaning on environmental issues. So I think she would be very well aligned with the government of Alberta and the important industries in Alberta.

That being said, if people just want to look at narrow, simple issues — Trump has said he wants to buy a lot of Canadian oil. So that wouldn't be a bad thing, certainly for Alberta. 

Q: The polls are pointing right now to Hillary Clinton. How do you see her relationship with Prime Minister Trudeau evolving?

I think there will be a natural affinity. I think they'll like each other very much. Certainly, their advisors are aligned politically, if you will, on the progressive side, on the progressive movement.

The other thing is Hillary is really smart. She understands Canada. Canada is back, as they say, on the world stage and that's important for the U.S. and that is not going unnoticed by the Clinton circle so I think it will be terrific.

It will be different than the bromance with Obama — that has kind of been a magical time by the way, Barack Obama is not president anymore but he's still going to be around and I think we'll find ways to stay involved in the public sphere and that also benefits Canada.

  With files from the  Calgary Eyeopener