In last weekend’s National Post, David Frum lays out what is at stake for Canada in this fall’s US presidential election. With characteristic clarity and economy, Frum takes the occasion of Mitt Romney’s foreign tour to speculate on why a visit to Canada was not essential, and what the Republican candidate stands to gain by attacking the Obama administration’s position on the Keystone XL pipeline. Frum posits that Canada “risks being caught in the American partisan cross-fire” as the presidential race intensifies, and the Canadian economy risks future deterioration as a result.
In this article, David Frum claims that both Democrats and Republicans are transforming what has traditionally been uncontroversial in the US — a close energy relationship with Canada — into a partisan issue in order to score political points ahead of this November’s election. With an insider’s perspective, the former speechwriter for George W. Bush warns that during this election season the Keystone debate may overshadow more pressing issues in which Canada has interests, including a potential slowdown of the global economy. A major economic crisis in Europe, and a subsequent intervention by the US Federal Reserve would provoke tremors in the Canadian economy, and Frum feels that this is where the interest of Canadians should lie. The author argues that the economic crisis in the Eurozone is the “biggest foreign policy issue of the day,” and that Canadians should be concerned about a lack of leadership on this issue from the two main candidates in this fall’s US presidential race. A Romney photo-op in the oil sands of Alberta would have been unnecessary and distracting for Canadian onlookers in light of more serious and pressing concerns this election season.
One of the more sober voices in the modern Republican party, Frum’s dual citizenship — originally from Ontario, the author now makes his home in Washington — and ample experience in American politics makes his a voice that Canadians should take note of as November draws nearer. Canada’s interests in the US presidential race have gone curiously under-discussed in the national media, and thus Frum’s intervention is both timely and, hopefully, an indication of more to come.