Canadians rejoice: Barack Obama will be the president of the United States for another four years.
A divisive, costly and and sometimes nasty yearlong presidential election campaign came an end Tuesday, with Obama re-elected as the United States’ president.
While the popular vote remained even all night, Obama was able to eke out victories in key swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wisconsin pushing him ahead of Romney in the electoral college vote.
Prime Minister Harper released a statement, early Wednesday, congratulating the president on his re-election:
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to congratulate President Barack Obama on his victory in tonight’s election and on being re-elected by the American people for a second term.
Canada and the United States enjoy one of the closest and most extensive relationships in the world.
Over the last four years, the President and I have worked on several important bilateral initiatives to generate jobs and growth in both our countries. This includes the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which will speed up trade and travel across our borders while also enhancing security.
We are also working together with other partners to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which seeks to boost trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
I look forward to working with the Obama Administration over the next four years to continue finding ways to increase trade and investment flows between our countries.”
For the vast majority of Canadians, an Obama victory is good news.
The most recent polls claim that Canadians preferred Obama to Romney by a margin of seven-to-one. Mario Canseco, vice-president of Angus Reid Public Opinion, recently told Yahoo! Canada News that we like the fact that Obama is good looking, charismatic, and that his social policies align with Canada’s.
But most importantly, we like the fact that he’s not a Republican.
“We’ve always hated Republican presidents,” Conseco said.
“Bush was disliked. Reagan was a controversial figure because of his relationship with Mulroney. And we all knew what Nixon thought about Trudeau.”
While most experts agree that the difference between an Obama White House — versus a Romney White House — would be negligible as it relates to relations with Canada, an Obama re-election does come with some concerns.
During Obama’s first four years in office, his administration has added more than $4.3 trillion to the U.S. national debt while increasing the country’s budget deficit four-fold. Most economists would agree that this is a recipe for disaster if it continues.
Obama’s first order of business — during his new term — will be to negotiate a budget deal with Congress to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff.’ The so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ — the lapse of $600 billion in government spending and tax increases unless the White House and Congress make a deal — is set to happen on January 1.
On Monday, finance minister Jim Flaherty said such a lapse would almost certainly push both the United States and Canada into recession.
Obama’s victory also puts the future of the Keystone Pipeline into question — although most analysts believe he’ll eventually approve the controversial oil pipeline, from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, that he put on hold last year.
There are also questions with regards to Obama’s pledge to cut funding to the military: where does that leave Canada and it’s NATO allies? How does that affect growing tensions in the Middle East.