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How Trump’s Presidency Affects Canada

23 January 2017

How Trump’s Presidency Affects Canada
Now that the inauguration is behind us and Obama has stepped out of the Oval Office, it’s finally official: Donald Trump is the new President of the United States of America for the next four years. With his protectionist policies and anti-immigration strategies, it’s no wonder he’s built up such a strong opposition—not only in the U.S.A., but around the world. So where does that leave Canada?

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, stated that he would continue to speak up for and defend immigration, Muslims, and women, when speaking with Trump. Trudeau has generally refrained from criticizing the new White House occupant, especially given the unique bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Canada. Trudeau’s advisers have been attempting to work with Trump’s new administration to reinforce the importance of trade ties between the two countries.

In a recent campaign in Ontario, Trudeau said: “Canada is a separate country from the United States and there are things we hold dear that the American’s haven’t prioritized.” He continued to say that he would never stop standing up for what he believes in, including the fact that immigration is a source of strength to Canada rather than a weakness, and that Muslim-Canadians have helped bring Canada to where it is today and will continue to be an important part of the country’s future success.

Now that Trump is in office, Trudeau said that they will have to work together in a “thoughtful and constructive way.” In addition to standing up for human rights, Trudeau is aware that he also has to focus on Canada’s economic prospects and future.  

When Trump was declared president-elect in November 2016, it was easier for Trudeau to just go along with Trump as his words had no real consequences at the time. While Obama was still in the White House, the U.S. still respected Muslims and other minorities, retained its membership with NATO and other international bodies, and recognized the need for climate-change strategies. Trump’s election suddenly became a reality, and the world is now watching to see whether his campaigning strategies will actually be implemented. Maybe Trump won’t revoke the NAFTA agreement in the end. If he does though, thousands of professional expats, Mexicans, and Canadians in the U.S. as well as Americans in the U.S. and Mexico, will be affected.

Prior to Trump’s inauguration, Prime Minister Trudeau shuffled Canada’s cabinet members. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs who will be dealing with the U.S. is Chrystia Freeland, a former financial journalist in New York with excellent American contacts. Canada’s former Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum, was repositioned as the new Ambassador to China. His replacement is Ahmed Hussen, who was himself a former refugee to Canada from war-torn Somalia.

A recent announcement concerning a proposed rule change for the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program could be good news for Canada. The proposal is to increase the minimum investment requirement for EB-5 investors from USD $500,000 to USD $1.35 million. Canada could use this increase as an ideal opportunity to attract capital investment into the country by introducing a new federal investor immigration program in Canada.

The last Canadian federal immigrant investor program, terminated in 2014, required applicants to invest CAD $800,000 in order to qualify. Now that the U.S. will be more than doubling their minimum investment, Canada should introduce a new program to compete with the EB-5. If a new program were to require an investment of CAD $1 million for instance, this would be highly attractive to international investors since it would be a lower requirement than the U.S. Such program could also benefit Canada greatly by lowering the country’s infrastructure debt through foreign investment. With Hussen as the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, however, his focus may be on bringing in more refugees into the country than attracting foreign capital.

With Trump as U.S. President, Canada’s in a tight spot. Canada has to continue to lead by example on issues concerning human rights and diplomacy without upsetting its southern neighbor to the point of cutting all trade ties. Prime Minister Trudeau has to work to keep strong economic relations between the countries for Canada’s future prosperity. For the next four years, it will be a long and winding road.

For more information on the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please click here.

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