Canada’s future depends on America’s present

Op-eds Opinions Uncategorized

Why Canadians are doing the right thing by following American politics

Image via Pixabay

At the mere mention of United States politics, many Canadians begin to tune out. Media exhaustion is real, and thanks to the current political climate and ubiquity of social media, Canadians experience this phenomenon acutely. The daily inundation of new horrific details about the current American President is taxing. However, Canadian and American cultures and media are innately linked, and as a result, so too are our ideologies. This means that it is more important than ever for Canadians to pay attention and think critically about American politics.

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s condemnation of immigrants, obstructions of justice, and denial of climate change, some Canadian citizens support Trump as a leader of the free world. Trump’s ideology is funnelled through his supporters and into the Canadian socioeconomic sphere. Though there are, of course, racists, corruption-apologists, and climate change deniers in Canada already, many people who might otherwise have kept their problematic or hateful beliefs to themselves are now no longer afraid to show their pride. When world leaders promote a particular set of beliefs, many follow suit.

Even before the current influx of migration brought about by the political situation in the U.S., Americans and Canadians cross-migrated at a high rate. We share a language, a border, and much of our media, so it’s easy for people to cross back and forth and adapt to the other’s culture. Partially because of this heavy cross-migration, our lifestyles have blended. Migration has created combinations of beliefs and ideologies that affect politics in both countries. To ignore American politics would be to ignore some of the integral building blocks that help create Canadian political ideology. Issues that matter in Canadian households have blended with what is essential in American ones, such as international trade deals, immigration policy, and the environment. The way we vote and the things that we want from our leadership are becoming increasingly similar.

Politics are directly linked to media, and Canadians consume a high percentage of American media. It takes effort to find people who mention Canadian filmmakers, authors, and pop culture icons at the top of their list of favourites. Who among us can say that Canadian media is the type we consume most often? For the most part, through services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, Canadians consume media produced in the United States and filmed through an American lens. Because of our consumption of American media and idolization of famous American personalities, Canada has been experiencing an “Americanization” process over a long period of time. Consideration of this fact is essential when deciding whom to vote for and what values are crucial to our society’s health. We need to be asking more questions such as “who are the people deciding what the standards of society are going to be?” “Do these standards feel right?” “Are they a long shot from the values we want in our homes?”

Not only does our culture change due to our interaction with American media, but Canada is highly economically dependent on the United States. Almost 25 per cent of our GDP comes from the U.S. The decisions the U.S makes regarding its economy and international relationships affect its ability to continue to support our economy. More importantly, our relationship with their government directly affects us. Tariffs and difficulty reaching agreements mean our economy suffers. If we’re not paying attention to what is happening in American politics, we may be blindsided by the fallout of a trade war which could escalate to unprecedented levels.

We must evaluate the ideas that are making their way into our cities and schools. It is imperative to put a name to the ideologies America helps impart to our culture so that we may analyze them and question if they are a productive part of the future we see for Canada. If the current president is creating a socioeconomic environment that encourages racism, political corruption, and climate emergencies to grow into even more substantial issues than they already are, how will this affect the society our children will inherit? If Canadians continue to look critically at America’s politics and remain educated, we may stand a chance at protecting our communities from values that will damage Canada’s future.