Politics on TV: Starring Mark Carney, Gary Doer and David Jacobson

In the wake of the U.S. election, talk of the impending 'fiscal cliff'

Message of the day

“The Americans need to deal with the ‘fiscal cliff.’”

Questions not answered

  • How long until we can expect a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline?

Mark Carney:

Power & Politics interviewed Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, who said that in the aftermath of the U.S. election, with a strong mandate for Obama and the Democrats holding the Senate, there is now the need to address the “fiscal cliff.” Carney said that the “cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts was set as an incentive for deals to be struck, and while each side will be looking for a political advantage, it’s in everyone’s best interests make a deal. As for our economy, Carney said that we could provide stimulus on the monetary side or have other measures, but there is no need to do so in anticipation of what may or may not happen with that deal. Carney also spoke about the new polymer $20 banknotes that went into circulation today, which Carney calls the most advanced currency in the world, and that they are cheaper, greener, and safer than old banknotes.

The US election aftermath:

Power Play spoke with Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer, who said that his to-do list includes the presidential permits on the Detroit-Windsor bridge and the Keystone XL Pipeline, plus working on Beyond the Border agreement, Great Lakes waters, and dealing with partnerships on sanctions for Syria and Iran. Doer said that there could be a convoluted way to achieving an agreement on the “fiscal cliff.” Doer added that a second term becomes about legacy, and will likely focus on areas of the public interest including improving trade, the economy, and energy security – all of which is in Canada’s interests as well.

Don Martin then spoke to U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson, who said there is a desire to get things done in America. Jacobson said the next four years will likely look like the last couple, but perhaps with a better economic picture. He listed off his files of Beyond the Border, regulatory cooperation, trade agreements around the world, increasing cross-border trade, and the maturation of the energy relationship. Jacobson said that in the first two years of Obama’s term there were attempts made to tackle climate change that were blocked when the Republicans got control of the House, and when jobs and the economy took priority.

Jacobson was later on Power & Politics, where he added that with regards to the Detroit-Windsor bridge issue, money didn’t seem to make the kind of difference in the campaign against it that people thought it would.

Evan Solomon spoke with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird about the election and what to look ahead to in the relationship between our countries. Baird said that good progress has been made on both Beyond the Border and regulatory cooperation, and that there is a great deal of optimism with regards to the future Detroit-Windsor bridge. Baird said he hopes the Americans can deal with their fiscal challenges as expeditiously and effectively as possible, and added that he will be very sorry to see Hillary Clinton step down, and he hopes not to lose Ambassador Jacobson as well.

Martin spoke with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder by phone about the results of the referendum on the new bridge. Snyder said it was a decisive vote – 60 percent against the proposal that any new bridge would need to be put to a vote. Snyder confirmed that the campaign against the bridge was misleading, and said that a new bridge will be a win-win. Snyder said he wants to thank Canada for the arrangements for this bridge, where we will pay for it and recoup the costs with tolls, and said that it may take a couple for construction to begin.

Power Play spoke with CIBC World Market’s Emanuella Enenajor about the market reaction to the election results. Enenajor said that while the market didn’t react positively, it is because the focus has shifted to the impending risks of the upcoming debt ceiling and the aforementioned “fiscal cliff.” Enenajor said that if one takes away the government fiscal drag associated with the “cliff,” there is growth in the US economy because of the recovering housing market.

P&P’s Power Panel weighed in on the “fiscal cliff” issue, where Marie Vastel said that clearly our government is concerned, are going to have to watch the US very closely from now until January, but can’t do more than watch. She also wasn’t sure if the Republicans could drag their feet as much as they might otherwise because they wouldn’t want to be blamed in four years. Rob Silver said that the metaphor of a cliff is unhelpful, and it would be interesting to see if Obama has enough post-electoral political capital to deal with the “lame duck” Congress. Stephen Carter noted that he heard a lot of hopeful language last night, which he hopes will translate into action rather than kicking the can down the road again.

Power Play’s journalists panel of Robert Fife and John Ibbitson weighed in about the Canadian lessons from the campaigns. Ibbitson noted that while politicians of all stripes in Canada have tended to go to the States to learn how to win, the Americans should probably start looking to Canada – particularly the Republicans, who have failed to win the demographic wars, while the Conservatives are bringing in the immigrant vote. Fife said that Obama’s ground game and targeted vote was significant, and that those lessons might be applied to Justin Trudeau’s leadership campaign, as he is able to command the youth vote and is putting together a skilled organization.

Harper’s trip to India:

Don Martin asked his journalists panel about reports that Harper had 500 Indian police secure a restaurant he wanted to stop in at (without the media). Ibbitson noted that the Indian police have been known to go overboard before – such as shutting down a busy road during Harper’s last visit in 2009. Fife said the tendency for Harper to use the Canadian media on trips to simply give feel-good photo ops while avoiding questions makes the cost of these trips questionable.