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Obama for PM!

November 5, 2008

By former Canada’s World blogger Lisa Wagner:

As most Canadians rejoice in the Obama victory of last night, I have to wonder what this all means for Canada’s role in the world – don’t you?

It’s interesting as a Canadian viewing this election as part of the global community. Considering that Canada had it’s own election a few weeks ago, which generated the lowest voter turnout since Confederation, and also the lowest interest, why do we show such interest in the American election?  It’s as if the US election has more impact on Canada than our own election does – and that may be quite true. The US is our only neighbor and our primary trading partner. Our economy is incredibly tied to the American economy. But we cannot vote in the US elections, a fact which almost seems untrue when looking at the number of Canadians who donated their Facebook status to Obama on Tuesday (when there was little mention of Canadian elections on October 14 among Canadians, except for the extreme political junkies), as well as the number of American election parties and results viewings across Canada with turnouts that rival hockey crowds. What does this really say about Canada’s role in the world? It tells me that we don’t believe we have a role at all – that our role is tied to that of the US. Obama received more Canadian support than Canadians turned out for our own election – what does that tell us about the importance we place on our leaders in comparison with America’s?

I am in no way suggesting that I do not support Obama, but I think this election and Canada’s interest in it tells us something about how far we still need to come if Canada is to play a role in the international realm. Americans don’t pay attention to Canadian politics, because it doesn’t affect them. In order to increase Canadian presence worldwide, but also to increase Canada’s role in Canadian-US relations, we need to pressure our government to ensure America doesn’t take Canada for granted.

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