The ‘Wil’ of the People: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won, now what?

In this week's "The 'Wil' of the People," columnist Wil Robertson discusses how Canada-U.S. relations could change after a Biden-Harris win. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Four days after the United States of America’s federal election, the Associated Press and other major television networks called the race for the presidency. The entire world seemingly sighed in relief.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be the 46th president of the U.S. and Kamala Harris will be the next vice-president.

History has been made. Biden, when sworn into office in January, will become the oldest president in history after turning 78 later this month. Harris will become the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice-president.

As of the evening of Nov. 8, roughly 89,000 votes separated the world from four more years of the current administration. Note that this is despite Biden winning the popular vote by 4.2 million.

The Biden-Harris administration received the most votes of any presidential candidate with more than 75 million votes as of the late hours of Nov. 7.

The real work now lies ahead, which will determine how a Biden presidency is remembered.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement on Nov. 7 that Canada will work with the president and vice-president elect to “continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world.”

Canadians will no longer need to worry about illegally imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and softwood lumber.

The most recent softwood lumber tariffs were imposed by the U.S. in 2017. The World Trade Organization deemed the tariffs illegal in August 2020. Canada’s softwood lumber industry accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s forest product exports, $3.2 billion.

The U.S. also imposed a 10 per cent tariff on Canadian aluminum, which was removed on Sept. 15. Around 81 per cent of Canada’s primary aluminum production is exported to the U.S.

Ottawa met the removal of the tariffs with uncertainty, weary of the U.S. re-imposing them on a whim.

Additionally, we won’t have to wince every time we say the name of the leader of the free world, we will see the U.S. re-enter the Paris Climate Accord and remain in the World Health Organization. Canadians will once again see competent leadership south of the border as opposed to a rambling pariah and we will see a U.S. President who believes in science and strives to invest in clean energy and wants to save our planet.

While Nov. 7, 2020, will go on as a momentous day in history, we must remain vigilant.

Seventy million Americans voted for the Republican president, the most votes that party has ever received, and the second most for any presidential candidate. The Republicans may well maintain a majority in the United States Senate. They also gained seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This will allow Republicans in Congress to better check the Biden-Harris administration come January. Many current Republicans have stood by the president’s absurd statements and have been complicit in his administration’s actions.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris described this election as the battle for the soul of America. They have won the first round. Whether they will win the battle, or merely be a band-aid over the schisms of an unbelievably fractured nation, is to be seen. One winner is clear, that is that of Democracy, the Democratic process has worked. The beginnings of totalitarianism were nigh and let us not forget it.

As Biden has emphasized in the past few days, be calm, be patient, and keep the faith, for the battle is not over my friends.