Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Zach Paikin

GET UPDATES FROM Zach Paikin
 

Thanks Obama, For Buying Canada Time

Posted: 11/06/2012 11:18 pm

President Barack Obama's re-election represents a moment of major importance for the Canadian economy and for its long-term foreign policy outlook. Thanks to tonight's result south of the border, Canadian leaders now have a four-year long opening in which they can begin to think strategically on both domestic and international affairs.

Without question, Canadian long-term international strategic interests are better served with a Democrat in the White House. Republican sabre-rattling with Russia and China would undermine Canadian attempts to reconcile with Moscow over the Northwest Passage in the Arctic as well as Ottawa's policy of increasing oil exports to Asia.

What is seldom considered, however, is how we think about our economy from a strategic perspective. That is to say, how do we want our economy structured in order to increase our influence in the world and, hopefully, become a major global power in the 21st century? Again, the evidence here points very strongly in favour of an Obama presidency for Canada.

The biggest question going forward -- and this is as much a long-term question as it is a short-term one -- is what rate of economic growth should we be comfortable with in Canada? American growth is expected to outpace ours this year, despite the sheer size of the United States' sovereign debt.

The following proposition is one that Canadians should embrace: The key to long-term prosperity is slower growth. This is true for two reasons.

Blog continues below slideshow...

Loading Slideshow...
  • BBC

  • CBC

  • CNN

  • FOX

  • Google

  • The Guardian

  • The Huffington Post Canada

  • The National Post

  • The New York Times

  • Politico

  • The Toronto Star

  • The Washington Post

  • Barack Obama On Twitter

  • AOL Canada

  • Bing

  • Canada.com

  • The Edmonton Sun

  • MSN Canada

  • The Vancouver Sun

  • Yahoo Canada

  • ABC News

  • Bloomberg

  • The Daily Beast

  • Drudge Report

  • The Financial Times

  • Google Politics & Elections

  • The Houston Chronicle

  • Indianapolis Star

  • The Los Angeles Times

  • Las Vegas Sun News

  • The Miami Herald

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • NBC News

  • New York Post

  • Orlando Sentinel

  • PBS

  • SFGate

  • TIME

  • USA Today

  • The Wall Street Journal

  • Al Jazeera

  • Belfast Telegraph

  • Corriere Della Sera

  • Daily Mail

  • The Economist

  • El Pais

  • Globo.com

  • Haaretz

  • The Jerusalem Post

  • Lanacion.com

  • Le Monde

The first is the most obvious: Attempts to maximize short-term growth have the potential for the greatest short-term gains but also the largest short-term losses. Certain states have already implemented a financial transaction tax -- driving out some business but eliminating it altogether in other cases -- in order to reduce short-term market volatility.

It's the long-term outlook, however, that should be of most interest to Canadians. With a Republican president in the White House, the United States' primary focus would be to win the growth race with China for strategic reasons. Barack Obama -- according to certain political commentators -- has less of a problem with unchallenged Chinese growth.

As a major supplier to the American market and a potential large supplier to the Chinese one, economic stability within Canada is a must if Ottawa wishes to maximize its geopolitical and diplomatic influence in Washington and Beijing circles in the years ahead. Such a role as an interlocutor between the two major powers of the coming decades is key to Canada becoming a major world power in the 21st century.

In addition to volatile moves to maximize growth that a Republican president would initiate and that would threaten the stability of the Canadian economy next door, a Republican president is even more likely to do something of extreme concern to the Canadian economy: maximize the develop of natural resources.

The means more fracking of natural gas and massive moves to exploit shale oil reserves in the American west and not just the American east (where they could be of benefit to Canada if imported). By consequence, that means fewer Canadian natural gas and oil exports to the United States. It also means further deflation in the price of natural gas and possible disinflation in the price of oil, further harming Canada's revenue stream.

Canada is not near the top of the international power pyramid, hence a race to the top is not worth considering. More important -- if our role as a global interlocutor and influencer is to be developed and maintained -- is to find creative ways to incentivize savings and reduce market volatility while finding creative ways to keep our finances in order. Economic stability is key, for economic might means geopolitical prowess.

This means two things. First, long-term growth will be more reliable, even though short-term economic growth might be reduced. This is a tough sell to make to the electorate, which means that politicians will have to innovate their messaging in the years ahead.

Second, news ways will have to be determined to keep our revenue stream high, due to the slower growth we should expect and want. That means legalizing and regulating cannabis, increasing consumption taxes (while lowering income taxes) and implementing a carbon tax. It also means tackling the national debt aggressively to compensate for the investment that could be lost through the implementation of a financial transfer tax.

The potential for the projection of Canadian influence and values in world is only set to increase in the years ahead. For many reasons, we are finally exiting the shadow of the United States.

Thanks to Barack Obama's re-election tonight, Canadian political leaders of any stripe have the geopolitical wiggle-room to prepare Canada's economy for the coming decades. Whether they put Canadian interests first or choose to play petty politics instead remains to be seen.

Loading Slideshow...

Loading Slideshow...
  • Barack Obama, Carla Windhorst

    President Barack Obama calls to thank volunteers in Wisconsin, at campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. Carla Windhorst is seated next to the president. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Jabrylle McClendon, center, waits at the front of the line to vote with her nephew,Terrell Ford, 7, as a woman who only identified herself as Dolores, takes a seat next to them before their polling place opened on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Voters line up to cast ballots in the general election at Barrow County's Precinct 16 at Bethlehem Christian Academy, Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, 2012, in Bethlehem, Ga. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

  • Voters line up to cast ballots in the general election at Barrow County's Precinct 16 at Bethlehem Christian Academy, Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, 2012, in Bethlehem, Ga. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

  • Voters in Precinct 39 fill out their ballots while voting on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at the First Church of the Open Bible in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama calls out to people outside a campaign office in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, after a visit with volunteers on the morning of the 2012 election. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama leaves a campaign office on the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago, after visiting with volunteers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • A woman who identified herself as Dolores, left, looks for an election worker to help her with her voting machine while casting her ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama calls Wisconsin volunteers as he visits a campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Voters cast their ballots in Delias beauty salon, which was turned into polling place, on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, on South Side of Chicago. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • A brand new tattoo showing his choice of political party is seen on the right hand of Victor "The Snake Mann" Wolder as he votes on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Montana voter

    A voter enters Springhill School to cast her Election Day ballot in Belgrade, Mont., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Springhill School is a polling station for Montana's Precinct 17, a place where ranchers, affluent professionals and retirees alike live and work. (AP Photo/Janie Osborne)

  • David Polley, right, looks over his ballot while voting on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama visits with people outside a campaign office the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • James Nash

    James Nash prepares to hand out stickers to voters who cast their ballots at a polling place inside St. Leo's Catholic Church in Baltimore on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Food is set on a table by voting instructions at a polling place in a Mexican restaurant turned polling station, on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, on the South Side of Chicago. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • A voter signs in to cast a ballot at the old Brown School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama waves to people as he leaves a campaign office the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Classical studies major Omar Dyette, from Racine, Wis., front right, mans a table outside the polls on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Dyette volunteered with the Ohio Public Interest Research Group to register college students prior to the 2012 election. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

  • A voter is handed an "I Voted" sticker after casting her ballot at the old Brown School Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in rural Wellsville, Kan. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • A line forms outside a polling place as people gather to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Steve Swanson, left, helps his father Ben Swanson, 91, right, as he fills out his ballot on Election Day 2012 at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Parish in East Pembroke, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

  • Voters wait in line to cast their ballots under a tent at a consolidated polling station for residents of the Rockaways on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters check in before casting their ballots under a tent at a consolidated polling station for residents of the Rockaways on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters wait in line to cast their ballots under a tent at a consolidated polling station for residents of the Rockaways on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters cast their ballots in a Mexican restaurant turned polling place, on election day on the South Side of Chicago Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • Voters cast their ballots in a Mexican restaurant turned polling station on Election Day on the South Side of Chicago, Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

  • Voters wait in a long line to cast their ballots at Far Rockaway High School on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in the Queens borough of New York. After a grinding presidential campaign, Americans are heading into polling places across the country.(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

  • Voters wait to cast a ballot at P.S. 33 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Voters wait for their chance to cast a ballot at P.S. 33 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. Voting in a the U.S. presidential election was the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by Superstorm Sandy, as they struggled to get to non-damaged polling places to cast their ballots in one of the tightest elections in recent history. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Voters wait to cast a ballot at P.S. 29 in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in New York. After a grinding presidential campaign President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, yield center stage to American voters Tuesday for an Election Day choice that will frame the contours of government and the nation for years to come. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Vernon Straw, Terry Petersen

    Vernon Straw emerges from behind the curtain of a voting booth at the fire hall in Dunbar, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, to a waiting Terry Petersen, left. The village fire hall was too small to place cardboard voting stations, so election officials had to bring back the old style curtained voting booths. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • Rocky Erickson

    Rocky Erickson casts a ballot at a polling place on Election Day in Billings, Mont., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Barack Obama

    President Barack Obama calls Wisconsin volunteers as he visits a campaign office call center the morning of the 2012 election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • On this election day, as they do every day, people gather for breakfast in the Nutcracker Restaurant, a 1950's-style diner, in Pataskala, Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. From left are Ken Armentrout, Lewie Hoskinson and Jack Cruikshank. Hoskinson, center, is a retired city worker who his friends claim is the only President Barack Obama supporter in the town of 14,000. "I'm sure there are others, but I'm the only one who will admit it," he said, as his buddies laughed. His friends acknowledged that they weren't exactly thrilled with Mitt Romney as an alternative but said Obama hadn't done enough to get the economy moving. (AP Photo/Michael E. Keating)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, - NOVEMBER 6: U.S. citizens vote in the presidential election at Carleton Middle School November 6, 2012 in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Recent polls show that U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are in a tight race. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION DAY

    Voters wait outside the Metropolitan AME Church polling station to cast their ballots in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 6: Voters cast their ballots at the Bishop Leo O'Neil Youth Center on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The swing state of New Hampshire is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 4 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION DAY

    An election official mounts signs outside the polling station at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 6: Voters cast their ballots at the Bishop Leo O'Neil Youth Center on November 6, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The swing state of New Hampshire is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 4 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-VOTERS

    Voters cast their ballots at the Stonewall Middle School November 6, 2012 in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia. After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open on November 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swing state of Florida is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 29 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open on November 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swing state of Florida is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 29 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    Voters wait outside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    Voters wait outside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-VOTERS

    Voters wait to vote at the Stonewall Middle School November 6, 2012 in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia. After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    Voters wait inside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • U.S. Citizens Head To The Polls To Vote In Presidential Election

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - NOVEMBER 6: Voters wait to cast their ballots on November 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The swing state of Florida is recognised to be a hotly contested battleground that offers 29 electoral votes, as recent polls predict that the race between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney remains tight. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION

    People wait in line to vote at a polling station in a senior appartment complex in Chicago, Illinois in the US presidential election November 6, 2012 . The final national polls showed an effective tie, with either US President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney favored by a single point in most surveys, reflecting the polarized politics of a deeply divided nation. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION-VOTERS

    Voters cast their ballots at the Stonewall Middle School November 6, 2012 in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia. After a long and bitter White House campaign, Americans began casting their votes on Tuesday with polls showing President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in an election that will be decided in a handful of states. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-VOTE-2012-ELECTION DAY

    Voters kiss while waiting outside the polling station to cast their ballots at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC on November 6, 2012. Americans headed to the polls Tuesday after a burst of last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in a nail-biting contest unlikely to heal a deeply polarized nation. AFP PHOTO/Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Follow Zach Paikin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@zpaikin

FOLLOW CANADA POLITICS