Former Quebec premier Jean Charest says last week’s U.S. presidential election marks a “new opportunity” for Canada to draw international investment.
Speaking Sunday on CTV’s Question Period, Charest said Canada will stand out to foreign investors more than it did before Donald Trump was elected, suggesting the U.S. risks isolating itself if the president-elect carries out some of his campaign promises on climate and energy.
Charest predicts Canada will become a de facto “landing strip” for countries looking to invest in North America — particularly the European Union, with whom Canada recently signed a free trade deal.
He nonetheless acknowledges that some of Trump’s proposed policies — which include cutting corporate taxes, pulling out of the Paris climate accord and not putting a price on carbon emissions — could in the short term put Canada “in an awkward position in terms of competitiveness if there’s added costs on our industry.”
It’s unclear how Trump will act on these issues once he is sworn in, but his choice of climate skeptic Myron Ebell to lead the transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency sends a powerful signal.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada will move ahead with its environmental plan, which involves a national carbon price, even though Trump’s presidency will likely shift the U.S.’s climate-change priorities.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told Question Period the province would also follow through with its cap-and-trade plan regardless of potential policy changes south of the border.
“We’re going to have to wait and see what actually happens but what I know is that in order to be competitive globally … if we’ve got countries all around the world who are putting a price on carbon, and the majority of the world will have a price on carbon in the very near future, then we’ve got to be competitive with them as well,” she said Sunday.
“It’s much bigger than one nation.”