The imminent accession of Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States and de facto leadership of the free world, judging from online chatter, has several Democrat-leaning Canadians in an ornery (read terrified) mood. The President-elect’s daily tweetblasts, it is fair to say, have contributed to this unease.
But there are, just maybe, ways in which Canadians may benefit from Trump’s presidency. Since this is happening regardless, and we Canucks didn’t get a vote in any case, it behooves us to pragmatically keep an eye out for potential opportunities, from the standpoint of this country’s national interest. Below are five possibilities.
The Keystone XL pipeline project. Throughout Stephen Harper’s majority term from 2011 to 2015, this proposal of TransCanada’s was his Holy Grail. But success eluded him. Republican Mitt Romney, who lost to President Barack Obama in 2012, had promised a green light. But Obama was lukewarm. Eventually “maybe” became “no.” This left the landlocked discount on much Canadian crude production – about 25 per cent – unaddressed, with the cost to the Alberta and federal treasuries in the billions.
Attention thus turned to other projects including Kinder Morgan’s twinning of its Transmountain line to the Pacific. That proposal now has a conditional go-ahead from Ottawa and, as of last week, British Columbia. But such is the projected increase in global demand for oil over the next two decades, especially from Asia, that Keystone would still be a major boon to the Alberta and Canadian economies, even assuming Transmountain goes ahead. Pipelines are safer and cleaner than rail as a means of transporting crude. Trump and his chosen Secretary of State, oilman Rex Tillerson, are on record as strongly pro-Keystone. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has supported the project since the first days of his run for the leadership of the Liberal party in 2012.