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Premier Legault has economy in mind as he awaits results of American presidential election

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to a question during a news conference in Montreal, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Legault has the economy on his mind as he awaits American elections results. Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. Marco Campanozzi/Pool/The Canadian Press

Regardless of who wins the U.S. presidential election, Quebec must continue to develop good economic relations with the governors of the various states, Quebec Premier François Legault said Thursday.

Asked what lessons he drew from the presidential election in the United States, Legault indicated that the impressive support of Americans for Donald Trump revealed a kind of “economic anxiety,” which is also present in Quebec.

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It’s an anxiety which, according to the premier, translates into significant support for protectionist economic policies.

“Historically, Democrats are more protectionist than Republicans, but in the last four years we’ve had a very protectionist Republican president, so no matter who wins, Biden or Trump, we’re going to have to keep fighting,” he said, referring to Quebec companies that depend on the American market.

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Regardless of who wins, the United States will always remain a very important partner for Quebec, Legault stressed.

“For Quebec, when we look at all international trade, we have a deficit of $10 billion per year with the whole world, but when we look at the United States, Quebec has a surplus of $20 billion. That means that if Quebec had no trade with the United States, we would be talking about a trade deficit of $30 billion with the rest of the world.”

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Quebec and Ottawa must continue efforts to build relationships with the various states in a bid to stimulate trade between the two countries, Legault said..

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Legault made the comments on Thursday, as Democrat Joe Biden was approaching the 270-vote majority of the electoral college needed to succeed Donald Trump, who has began legal proceedings in key states to challenge vote counts.

— With files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier