‘Obama win to be mixed news for Canada’

October 29th, 2008 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaToronto, Oct 29 (IANS) Barack Obama’s victory in the Nov 4 US presidential election would be a mixed blessing for Canada, America’s biggest trading partner, says an Ottawa-based think tank.In its report ‘How the next US president could affect our country’ released Tuesday, the Rideau Institute said “an Obama administration would be mixed news” for Canada.

“The United States presidential election will dramatically shift the continental political dynamic, no matter who wins on November 4, 2008,” said Steven Staples, president of the Rideau Institute.

He said: “By virtue of conjoined geography, history, economies and political cultures, Canada and the US are inextricably linked, and it is only a matter of time before the shifts in US politics realign Canada’s politics as well.”

The end of the Bush administration, he said, “brings with it new opportunities to renew the Canada-US relationship on many issues - such as addressing climate change and improving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed by the US, Canada and Mexico in 1993″.

“However, deep structural forces within the US will continue to exert pressure on Canada (and the new president, for that matter) that will continue to place demands and strains on Canada - such as those in Afghanistan.”

According to Staples, if Obama wins, his decision to seek amendments to NAFTA “to ensure enforceable labour and environmental protections is good news for Canada”.

However, Canadians would have reasons to worry about Obama’s promise to increase American troops by 50,000 men in Afghanistan which Ottawa has decided to leave in 2011.

“On Afghanistan, Canadians differ with Obama, as they feel the cost of the war borne by Canada has been too high. Harper - who has promised that our 2011 withdrawal date is firm - may face pressure to extend our mission from Obama, if he were elected President,” Staples said.

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