There has always been a special relationship between Canadians and Americans — we tease each other and call each other out, but under all the griping, we know we are deeply connected.
Perhaps that is why millions of Canadian tuned into the U.S. presidential election debates and followed the results so closely.
That most were shocked and unnerved by the outcome, with Donald Trump voted in as the new U.S. president, goes without saying. That a misogynistic, xenophobic, and intolerant person could end up leading the U.S. seems unbelievable.
And to see Americans taking to the streets in the thousands to demonstrate against his win ushered in a new paradigm when it comes to considering election results. Would Canadians have taken to the streets if Stephen Harper and his Conservatives had won the last election? Maybe. It appears we are experiencing growing pains in our democracies and not all the outcomes are positive.
Of course, everyone is hoping that a Trump presidency does not de-rail the relationship between Canada and the U.S. One must take into consideration the amount of trade between these two partners and the general flow of traffic and goods across our borders. But Trump has been clear about believing NAFTA needs an overhaul and our softwood lumber looks like it is heading for hard negotiations. And if the latest news reports are to be believed, the Trans Pacific Partnership will never happen.
But surely even someone as reprehensible as KKK-endorsed Trump can't undo decades of policy in one four-year term? That damage will be done is inescapable — and that action on climate change may be one of the casualties is most worrisome.
In B.C., people have been taking the streets over concerns about environmental issues such as the LNG plant in Squamish. On Nov. 21, a dozen B.C. communities held protests urging the federal government to reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion between Edmonton and Burnaby.
We already know that Trump has publicly stated that he wants to issue a presidential permit for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to take oil from Alberta down to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
After years of studies, the project was finally nixed by President Barack Obama a year ago, but Trump has vowed to approve the nearly 1,900-kilometre pipeline, though he says he wants a piece of the pie.
"I would absolutely approve it, 100 per cent, but I would want a better deal," Trump said in May. "I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits. That's how we're going to make our country rich again."
Here is hoping that this statement was said, like so many things in the election, simply as part of Trump's bluster-and-rant persona. There is no doubt that the environment and climate change are not on his agenda as he takes office — after all, they were absent from his campaign as well.
We hope that our American friends know that Canada will remain a tolerant country where all travellers are welcome.
In some ways, it feels like a little bit of the U.S. has got a foothold in our hometown with the announcement Oct.17 that the $1.4 billion friendly takeover bid by Vail Resorts of Whistler Blackcomb Inc. was a go.
Whistler was rocked with the news last week that Vail Resorts was eliminating 60 jobs — we are told that the positions are redundant as Vail Resorts already has workers to do them.
Job losses are a common and harsh reality when companies change hands. For the most part, the Vail Resorts cuts take effect May 2017.
But many of these jobs in marketing and IT will have no similar offering from other companies in Whistler and it is likely that our community will lose many of these people altogether.
For those losing their jobs, this could mean losing their Whistler Housing Authority homes as well.
Change is the only constant in the universe — at some level we all know that. But watching what looks like a nation moving backwards on human rights, and experiencing significant job losses in our town are changes that cut to our very core.
Facing these changes means speaking up for what is right and reaching out to those who need support whether they are people fighting for their rights in the U.S. or those right here at home who need a hand.