January 11, 2017 8:11 pm
Updated: August 1, 2017 9:15 pm

Saskatoon expert weighs in on the changing political scene in North America

WATCH ABOVE: The wind of political change is blowing in both the U.S. and here at home. Meaghan Craig reports.


The wheels are in motion in both Canada and United States. This week marks the beginning of restructuring in both countries’ political landscapes.

Everything from a cabinet shuffle in Canada to Barack Obama’s farewell speech and the president-elect’s opening statement.

On Wednesday, for the first time since the election, president-elect Donald Trump held a news conference, in true Trump fashion.

READ MORE: #TrumpPressConference sets worldwide social media afire

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“He has some clear enemies in the media and he’s not afraid to bully them or really shun them in front of the other media outlets,” Daniel Béland, a professor and Canada Research Chair in public policy at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, said in Saskatoon.

“I think it’s probably not good for democracy in the long run to have someone who is so negative towards specific outlets which are mainstream outlets and not known the be partisan in the strict sense of the term.”

READ MORE: Barack Obama subtly prods Donald Trump in farewell speech

This just a day after a huge shake up on this side of the border.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau undertook his first major cabinet shuffle. With less than two weeks before new U.S. administration is sworn in some say he has stacked the deck deliberately in order to advance Canadian interest while sitting across from Trump.

“We have here,  the Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion was not particularly effective and I think to deal with the United states and Russia and all the current challenges,” Béland said.

“I feel like there was a sense that Dion was not the right person.”

Chrystia Freeland will replace him and other key moves were made about 14 months after the original cabinet was sworn in.

Meanwhile on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama delivered his farewell speech.

“I think the arrival of a new president is always a source of uncertainty and in the case of Trump it’s a great source of uncertainty but the power of an American president is always limited,” Béland said.

“Senators have six-year mandates, they have their own constituencies and they are not afraid to say no to a president, even Donald Trump.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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