Skip to main content

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

tv   Washington Journal Christopher Sands  CSPAN  September 20, 2021 6:10pm-6:31pm EDT

6:10 pm
#. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the. national captioning institute,. which is responsible for. its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> the house is back at 6:30 p.m. eastern for roll call votes on some of the legislation debated today. lawmakers considered a bill to increase veterans disability benefits. another bill to make permanent a v.a. dental benefits program. later in the week the house takes up a short-term spending bill that includes emergency funding for hurricane ida recovery and money for the resettlement of afghan refugees in the united states. also this week the $768 billion defense programs bill. and legislation that would prohibit certain restrictions on abortion providers. live coverage of the u.s. house here on c-span. >> tonight election night in
6:11 pm
canada with analysis of the results from canada's c.b.c. network. live at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span. you can also watch online at c-span .org. or listen on the free c-span radio app. # continues. host: joining us this morning is christopher sands, the canada institute director for the wilson center, here to talk about the elections in canada today. first of all, explain, what is the snap election, and why is it happening? guest: thanks very much, and good morning. a snap election occurs when the prime minister decides to have an election and goes quickly to a vote. canada switched to fixed election dates back in the early 2000s under the harper government, so you normally you expect an election every four
6:12 pm
years. two ways you can have an election sooner. one we have just seen, where the prime minister thinks he has a chance to win, so he calls an election. or his government falls and he's forced into an election. this is the former, a bit of a surprise, although the prime minister had been talking about it all summer, so it may be the worst kept secret in ottawa. he is facing the leader of the conservative party, who is fairly new and not well known or had not been well-known to canadians before the campaign. other party leaders were more familiar, but his main opposition is the conservative party because that is the party that stands the best chance of getting as many or more seats than the liberal party, which is justin trudeau's. host: how close is this election? guest: it is very close. it appears many people are
6:13 pm
frustrated with trudeau for calling and without having a really good reason for interrupting peoples summer and early fall plans. canadians are in a grumpy mood, like the united states. canadians have been dealing with the covid lockdowns. they have been worried about the economy. they're concerned about what is happening in canada-china relations, u.s.-china relations, and even the pullout in afghanistan. it is not clear that the election is going to resolve any of it, so it seems to be an exercise in shuffling, almost mutable -- almost musical chairs. turnout should be pretty good. canadians are normally good voters. secondly, canada has mail-in ballots. one of the key things to note is
6:14 pm
that canada doesn't send ballots unless you request one. that lowers the risk of fraud. you have to turn in your mail-in ballot and send it back in. there's a whole process whereby couriers make sure who asked for the ballot got it and returned it. we think there's about 1.2 million mail-in ballots. it could take anything from two to five days to get them all tallied, depending on how they come in. it could be a week before we know the final result. host: and why should americans care? guest: in some ways, anxieties have been made worse by canada-u.s. relations. many canadians were hopeful that after a rocky relationship with donald trump, that the biden administration would be an opportunity to get to a
6:15 pm
traditional approach to relations, a more constructive partnership. but early on, from the cancellation of the keystone pipeline to michigan's holding up the line that connects western canadian oil to eastern canadian provinces, i know we don't have the stimulus passed yet, but that was preempted in some ways by president biden's executive order early in his presidency. there are a number of areas where canadians hope to have a closer partnership with the u.s., but in practice, they struggle to get their interests addressed. there is a roadmap between the two countries of issues, quite a long agenda, that has been very constructively work on behind-the-scenes, but for many canadians, the u.s. seems to be very distracted now and not as helpful a partner as they'd hoped. host: are they blaming president
6:16 pm
biden, or do they see it as the fault of their own prime minister? guest: that is one of the most interesting questions. as many americans do, they also take a look at congress and realize congress makes everything more difficult in washington, and the recognize that president biden have to do a lot of work's agenda through congress at the same time, and they know it is a very dangerous world. but if you think about it in this sense, we didn't need to have an election. justin trudeau thought he could go from a minority to a majority government, but it is clear that as a minority government leader, as prime minister since 2019, he has been hindered or held back in his ability to respond, whether it is to covid or restricting the border for this very long period, or even spending money on covid relief
6:17 pm
and providing some supplemental benefits for individuals to make it through covid if they are not working. so for the most part, trudeau has been able to cope with all of these dangers, so why are we having an election? maybe so that he could have a majority, but i don't know that that has convinced many americans that this was a necessary move. host: let's open up the lines. democrats, dial-in to (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independents, (202) 748-8002. a line for canadians this morning. please dial-in at (202) 748-8003 . you can also text us at that same number. please include your name, city and state. or send us a tweet, and we can read some of your comments there. you mentioned the border between the united states and canada. it was closed because of the
6:18 pm
pandemic. how did that affect canadians? guest: it is important to note that it was restricted, but not fully closed. that is an important inference because the two governments agreed to only allow essential traffic to cross the border. they had slightly different versions of essential, different definitions that they used operationally, but what it meant was that truck drivers moving goods back and forth and supply chains were allowed to continue to operate. that is really important because if that was not happening, the economic impact on canada would be quite huge. they rely heavily on trade with the united states for their economy. but what has been restricted is discretionary travel by individuals, and the u.s. has left air travel open. canadians can fly in. but for border communities like ontario or vancouver and toronto
6:19 pm
which turned relatively close to the border, so is montreal, this restriction has really broken a link that was part of the quality of life of people in those communities. maybe they have relatives, family members on the others. we had stories of couples that were planning a wedding or families that are planning a funeral, and they can't cross the border to see one another and to be together at those import moments. there are individuals who have medical treatment across the border, coming into the united states maybe for some important gadgets that we have are some of the advanced and expensive medical care we have that is not available in canada, and they are allowed into the united states, but then they have difficulty getting back off of having to quarantine. even comes down to silly things. last year, the toronto blue jays played in buffalo in an empty stadium, and canadian fans couldn't see them because the
6:20 pm
blue jays needed to be inside the united states so they could play with other teams. the couldn't do that from toronto. the nhl season, similarly, we saw a north division for the first time, keeping the canadian teams together because they were unable to go back and forth for games. all of this is part of the disruption which, as many americans know which was supposed to be two weeks to stem the spread, but quickly became 18 months, and i think we are well on our way to 24 months now. host: we are talking about the canadian elections. canadians will start voting today. christer sands -- christopher sands, our guest today. c-span plans to air the results right here on c-span, on -- right here on c-span, on, and on
6:21 pm
the free c-span radio app. when will we have the results? guest: polls are open for 12 hours in every jurisdiction, but over the years, because of the internet and whatnot, the concern has been they need to close the polls earlier on the west coast so that people don't give up, i guess, if their favorite party isn't doing well as it comes to the east coast. 85% of the seats in the house of commons, which are all of the seats that are up today, 85% of them are in just four provinces, quebec, ontario, british columbia, and alberta. any people in the smaller provinces feel like a rounding error or an afterthought. but we are dealing with a situation here where we have a minority government. this current government has 155 seats out of the 338. 170 would be a majority, and
6:22 pm
that would allow them to have a fairly good, free hand to run the country. but with 155, on every major vote, they need to bring over some of the opposition and keep all of their members in line. party discipline is very tight in canada, very different than in our congress. there's not much question about how members of the liberal party will vote, but conservatives may not want to go over and election right away. they may choose to work with the government initially, particularly on big items of national interest. but the smaller parties are also in the mix. a social democratic party, the green party which is quite small. a quebec first party that runs canada's only in quebec. and a new party pulling around 5% or 6%. their support is a bit scattered across the country, and it is not here they will win any seats, although their percentage of voters may look significant.
6:23 pm
it is a first pass the post single to strict mandate, much like the u.s. house of representatives, so if it is not a concentrated vote, you may not have anything. host: let's talk to joe, i republican. caller: i'm hoping canada and the united states would join as one nation. i am really hoping so. i think that would save a lot of money on the u.s. side, from pharmaceuticals and things like that, and it would probably save canada on food. they buy a lot of food from the united states. host: christopher sands, go through the history of u.s. and canada separation. guest: this is one of those separated at birth stories, and
6:24 pm
a way. if you go back to 1770's, there were a number of colonies north of the border, including nova scotia in 1707, new brunswick and prince edward island, quebec and ontario, and a small vancouver colony that appears a bit later in the 18th century. all of those colonies were independent -- separate from one another. but after the american revolution, the colonies that remained part of british north america state separate with a westminster pollard mentoring model of government -- mr. parliamentary model of government, unlike the united states. we thought we could persuade them to going us early on, and the war of 1812 was in some ways an attempt, we thought, to liberate canadians from british rule, that they would see the
6:25 pm
appeal of the united states and want to jump in and join our revolution. it turned out, though, that in that war, canadians decided to stay separate, and after the civil war, many canadians looked south and said america is grappling with some real problems. perhaps we should get together and form a supersized colony that can help this country to develop. so with british encouragement in 1867, canada became a dominion, a sort of super colony of the british empire, and remained that all the way through world war i. it was in the aftermath of world war ii the canada gained nominal independence, but we shouldn't forget queen elizabeth the second is also the queen of canada, the reigning monarch. there's a governor general that represents her on a day-to-day basis, now mary simon, canada's first indigenous governor
6:26 pm
general, someone who comes from the any wood people at the arctic. so that system i think is one that canadians are proud of, but the caller is right, there's a lot of ways in which being separate countries creates some added costs and hassles and can be challenging for both governments. one thing i think, if we don't come together as a single country, we can at least rely on is we have always been able to cooperate reasonably well and overcome some of the problems as they come up. maybe not as fast as our citizens would like, but we have partnered on an awful lot of things that i thing we do very well together. host: where have we had to cooperate over the years? guest: we cooperated in building the st. lawrence seaway, protecting the waters of the great lakes, in the early part of the 20th century when we were building dams along the columbia river. we created a watershed authority and began looking at how we
6:27 pm
could make sure enough water flowed from the headwaters of the columbia in canada all the way down to where the columbia meets the pacific, but between oregon and washington state. we worked together to allow that to continue. we have worked together also in big events such as the aftermath of 9/11. many of your viewers will maybe have heard about or seen musical "come from away," about how a small town in newfoundland excepted some of the people returning to the united states whose flights didn't have enough you will to go back to europe or their point of origin, and ended up landing in newfoundland and staying until they could get back to the united states. this happens ad hoc, but based on the fact that canadians are by and large warm, friendly
6:28 pm
people, and in a crisis, good to have as partners and friends. host: and how did canadians react to president biden's withdrawal from afghanistan 20 years after those attacks? did they hear from their prime minister? guest: this was a bit of surprise to many canadians because their part in the war was significant, but ended in 2016 as the last canadian troops came home. canada lost about 162 people, particularly after he took the lead on a very important nato mission. this was a tough fight for canadians. afghanistan sort of fell down the list of news items on the canadian news because there was no direct involvement, but there were many canadian citizens
6:29 pm
working with ngos who stayed after the period of canada's military deployment to participate in helping to rebuild afghanistan and work towards human rights there. i think this was where canadians were quite surprised. they didn't know that the u.s. was pulling out or would pull out so precipitously. i think like many americans, they were sad to see the disorganization, the chaos, the sense that there were individuals who were so desperate to get out of afghanistan, they were taking really harrowing risks like trying to hang onto airplanes that were taking off. i think that was a real shock for canadians. they sent their own troops to try to bring home as many canadian citizens as they could, but like most of the west, they were not pleased with how that rolled out. i think they felt what they were left a little bit on their own and perhaps without much warning to deal with the crisis that unfolded. host: we will hear from brian in michigan, an independent.
6:30 pm
caller: can you hear me? host: yes we can. caller: looking out my window right now at the lake, about 50 miles out from canada. the problem i have with the narrative earlier, you said it was kind of to mulch with under trump. i don't believe that -- kind of tumulty was under trump. -- kind of tumultuous under trump. i don't believe that. >> we'll leave this and take you live to the house floor for a couple votes. live coverage on c-span. cafornia, mr.ako,o # dif quirem relating t departntf vee


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on