Nothing is ever quite democratically won, warns Minister Chrystia Freeland, seen here during a visit to Washington in 2019. (Archives)
Although Canada and the United States are going through a period of #x27;uncertainty on fundamental social issues, veteran politicians believe that the two countries must put aside their differences of opinion for the sake of democracy.
This is the observation made by the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland, the United States Ambassador to Canada, David Cohen, the Canadian Senator Peter Boehm and the Governor of New Jersey. , Phil Murphy, in an interview with CBC.
The United States faces a cocktail of concerns about its own democracy, said Mr. Murphy.
< p class="e-p">The storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump demonstrators on January 6, 2021, is a stark image of the discontent of part of the population, he argued.
Protests following recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings also vividly illustrate social divisions, according to the Democratic governor. America's highest court is out of step with the people, he says.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have inflamed already polarized debates, including those over gun-carrying and abortion. Like wildfire, the questions crossed the Canadian border and revived reflections on the possession of firearms and the difficult access to abortion, particularly in New Brunswick.< /p>
David Cohen, U.S. Ambassador to Canada
Canada-U.S. relations face many hurdles, said agreed Ambassador David Cohen.
He said he believed in the fundamental friendship that binds the two countries, rooted in the family ties between many inhabitants of the two countries, travel, trade and several common values. However, over the past four or five years, he added, Canadians felt betrayed and felt that Americans might not be returning their affection.
< p class="e-p">According to Canadian Senator Peter Boehm, the pandemic has contributed greatly to discontent.
On the one hand, the slowing economy has caused instability . On the other hand, the sanitary restrictions have caused a lot of anger. The pandemic has led the population into a vicious circle of frustration, explained this former ambassador to Germany and the G7, among others.
Protests against health measures that paralyzed downtown Ottawa for several weeks last winter – and again in recent days, on Canada Day, but in a much extent – demonstrated the extent of ideological divides among Canadians.
Mobilization continues near the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.
Last February, the blocking of the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Canada to the United States, in a sign of protest against health restrictions, seriously tarnished the image of Canada, says the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister for Finance, Chrystia Freeland.
Every minute I could see our reputation as a trusted trade and investment partner eroding. she lamented. And we absolutely cannot afford to shoot ourselves in the foot like this. Our country is neither big enough nor rich enough for that.
Canada, as an ally of the United States, must demonstrate stability and act responsibly, argued the Minister, adding that it must protect its image to achieve this.
Peter Boehm, Canadian Senator
While the United States and Canada must overcome many differences of opinion, Ms. Freeland and Messrs. Cohn, Boehm and Murphy called for stronger civic engagement, which would strengthen both relations between the two countries and the health of their democracy.
This engagement requires countering misinformation, noted Senator Boehm, and by vote, added Governor Murphy.
Canada-US relations and democratic values are valuable assets we should not be taken lightly, insisted Senator Cohen.
Minister Freeland agrees: given the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court of the United States, the minister says she believes there is a danger of complacency about democracy.
“There can always be a swing of the pendulum. All rights can be eroded. There are no guarantees when it comes to democracy. There are no guarantees when it comes to women's rights.
—Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey
I'm hopeful that we can find common ground, said Phil Murphy in reference to these debates which deeply divide American society.
He reigns a certain anger, which I believe will lead more people to the polls, which will prove – I pray the Lord – that democracy is alive and well, he said.
< p class="e-p">With information from Christian Paas-Lang, CBC