As the impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins today in the U.S. Senate, a new public opinion poll suggests that the majority of Canadians are ready to turn the page on the Trump era, which saw relations between Ottawa and Washington fray after Trump took power in 2017.
The online Léger poll was conducted last month for the Association for Canadian Studies.
It found that 61 per cent of the 1,559 Canadian respondents said they expect Canada-U.S. relations to improve under President Joe Biden--a view echoed by Canada’s ambassador to Washington, Kirsten Hillman, last month in an interview with the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.
“I think that the Biden administration and our government have an enormous amount of policy alignment,” Hillman said.
“And I think also that we are going to find a more predictable government to deal with and a bit more traditional relations in terms of how we deal with them.”
The 61 per cent who said things would get better compared with 15 per cent of respondents who said they anticipated more tension.
Another 13 per cent said they expected no change and 11 per cent said they didn’t know.
Of those respondents who anticipated worsening relations, 38 per cent were in Alberta and 25 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The survey found 43 per cent of 1,000 U.S. respondents polled said they expected relations with Canada to improve–compared to 28 per cent who said they expect a downturn.
The poll was conducted from January 29 to January 31 after Biden had signed an executive order on his first day in the White House cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.
Two days later, Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke for 30 minutes by phone–Biden’s first call with a foreign leader while president.
Canadian officials said Biden pledged to work with Canada on Biden’s “Buy American” plan, something candidate Biden made much of in last fall’s U.S. election.
According to the Léger survey released today, 47 per cent of Canadians believed that Biden promoting “Buy American” policies would negatively impact the Canadian economy, 40 per cent believed it would have no real impact, and 13 per cent believed it would have a positive impact.
The latest poll also found that 56 per cent of Canadians think Biden should prioritize addressing climate change while Americans were more divided: 37 per cent thought he should prioritize addressing climate change, and 40 per cent thought he should prioritize the economy.
Online polls cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
With files from The Canadian Press, CBC News