What does a Trump presidency mean for Saskatchewan?
Questions are swirling around what exactly a Donald Trump presidency in the United States means. The businessman and reality TV star will be the 45th President of the United States, and his policies will have an impact here in Saskatchewan.
However, it’s a matter of waiting to see exactly what that impact will look like.
Cheryl Camillo is an assistant professor at the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy at the University of Regina campus and was one of four academics taking part in a panel discussion Wednesday morning on what the Trump victory means.
“He has said he wants to approve the Keystone Pipeline through the United States, so it wouldn’t be all bad for Canada,” she said.
“But there are concerns about his promise to renegotiate, or if he can’t, back out of [North American Free Trade Agreement] (NAFTA) as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).”
READ MORE: Ambassador to US says Canada ready to discuss NAFTA with Donald Trump
Camillo added that even with Republicans controlling the Senate and Congress, it doesn’t mean he has free reign to enact policy.
High-profile Republicans like current House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell haven’t always agreed with Trump, and will bring debate to the President-elect’s ideas. That is, assuming they retain their titles in January.
Regardless what form it takes, a change to a trade deal like NAFTA will affect export-dependent Saskatchewan.
Business analyst Paul Martin said that trade deals work in our favour. If NAFTA is changed or scrapped, it would hit Saskatchewan, but Martin says much of our agriculture and potash going across the Pacific would ease the blow.
“Of all the provinces, Saskatchewan is the least reliant on the American market,” he explained.
“Yes it’s our number one customer, but it’s the smallest share of our book compared to everyone else. So if you were to just close off the American border, it would hurt like crazy, but of all the provinces it would hurt us the least.”
READ MORE: Sask. Premier Brad Wall says Trump win means Canada should stop carbon tax, hopeful for Keystone pipeline
Like Camillo, Martin said the anticipated approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline would stand to benefit Saskatchewan, specifically the Evraz steel mill in Regina.
Regina’s Mayor, Michael Fougere, echoed that potential benefit but added a Trump presidency brings other uncertainty.
He said all the province can do right now is take relations with our southern neighbour one step at a time.
As a seasoned politician, Fougere knows that compromise plays a big role in holding public office.
“Mr. Trump will have a lot of advisors around him that will be telling him the implications of what he wants to do,” Fougere said.
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