In a historic move, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. World markets plummeted upon hearing the news, but some experts believe the historic change could have some benefit for Canadians.
Dr. Martin Hewson with the department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Regina weighed in on what the outcome means for Saskatchewan residents.
Q: First and foremost where you surprised by this outcome?
A: Everyone was surprised! Nobody predicted this because the opinion polls thought that ‘remain’ would win and in the end the polls were wrong.
So this was a bombshell for everyone.
Q: You’re originally from England so this must hit close to home for you?
A: I grew up in England so I’ve been watching it closely and I’m interested to see what happens next.
Q: What kind of impact could this happen on Canadians?
A: In the long term this could be good! We could end up selling our beef to the British and some of our agricultural supplies, because when they were in the EU they couldn’t import our beef so it could maybe, be a good thing for us.
Q: What about negative repercussions?
A:The big one right now is there is uncertainty in the economy. The pound is falling, it’s crashed through the floor and reached its lowest point for decades but presumably that uncertainly will go away. They’ll have to negotiate some new deal with the European Union. The other thing that could happen is other countries in the European Union could decide that they’ll follow suit. So, there is now going to be what people call a Brexit, so maybe the Dutch could leave? Or the French and it would be a ‘Frenxit’ for the French.
Q: What about people travelling over there now?
A: It won’t make a difference right now, there won’t be any change there. Remember the British never had the Euro, the single currency they always kept their own currency and they always kept slightly apart from the rest of Europe anyway.
Q: With the British Pound plummeting, could that impact the US dollar and have a ripple effect for Canada?
A: Well, if anyone has a vacation planned to Europe this is a good time because our currency is going to buy more if the British Pound stays low. So this could be a good time to go!
Q: What is the number one thing you’re going to keep an eye on moving forward?
A: The number one things is when the British announce when they’re actually going to leave. It’s probably going to be a couple of years before they actually leave so that’s the thing to watch now.