Momentum is still on our sidePembina Institute Executive Director Ed Whittingham on the implications of a Trump presidency

Blog - Nov. 10, 2016 - By Ed Whittingham

Photo: CC0 / Public Domain

Dear friends,

So many thoughts and emotions continue to swirl in my mind following the U.S. election. Clarity on the future impacts for Canada will likely remain elusive for some time. Nevertheless, I wanted to share some of my thoughts while this unexpected result is still fresh.

The natural starting point for the Pembina Institute would be climate and energy, but that’s not what this election was about. It was about resistance to change and economic anxiety. It was also about xenophobia and misogyny. When you consider this result, Brexit and the popularity of anti-immigration parties in Western Europe, it feels like a blowback moment in the world’s march toward greater peace and compassion for others.

All of these should be wake up calls for Canada.

Donald Trump’s victory was a defeat for so many of the values that we, as Canadians, hold dear. His campaign was a heartbreaking blow to the collective efforts to build a more inclusive and tolerant society. Millions of already marginalized people face increased fears as a result.

We must do what we can to ensure that similar ideas are not normalized and allowed to take root in Canada. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Trump phenomenon could happen here. If not an anti-immigrant movement, it could have the same seed: too many people feeling excluded from the benefits enjoyed by the middle class. That’s why we work hard to ensure that Canadian climate and energy policies do not disproportionately penalize low-income Canadians.

The election was not about climate change — in fact, it was rarely discussed as a policy issue on the campaign trail. But Trump did threaten to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, and his presidency is a threat to the post-Paris momentum that the world has worked so hard to maintain. Fortunately, pulling out of the Agreement would not be easy for the U.S. legally, and any such move would provoke swift reaction from global leaders and the industry that drives much of the economy.

Make no mistake, there will be setbacks on some issues where we have seen progress in recent years. But, as we have seen here in Canada, much progress can still be made at the subnational level. We have momentum on our side at all levels of government. Let’s use this election outcome as an opportunity to raise our level of our ambition, and secure more of the North American clean energy investment market as a result.

While the future will remain unclear for some time, I invite you to join our post-election webcast next Tuesday, November 15th as we work through key questions and possible impacts. One thing I can be sure about is that my team and I are more committed than ever to working with Canada’s federal, provincial, and municipal governments to advance climate action and build a clean energy future.



Tags:  USA, Federal Policy

Ed Whittingham
Ed Whittingham

Ed Whittingham was the Executive Director of the Pembina Institute until 2017.


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