Students react to Trump victory, implications for Canadians

Stephen Wilfeard, an international student from upstate New York attending the University of P.E.I (UPEI), said he was always planning to apply for permanent residency in Canada—but the results of the 2016 American election now make him want to speed the process up.

“I think I’ve realized after [Donald Trump’s] victory, I’m more appreciative of Canada now. Someone like Trump wouldn’t come to power in Canada,” Wilfeard said.

Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States on Nov. 8. Some of his proposed policies include the deportation of illegal immigrants, a hard stance on terrorism, and protectionist policies over the American economy, including renegotiation of previously existing trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Melissa Haussman, a political science professor at Carleton University, said despite the speculation that protectionist trade policies will hurt the Canadian economy, there is no reason to worry just yet.

“I don’t think it’s going to matter a whole lot to students,” she said.

But Haussman said if Trump follows through on his protectionist policies and economic contracts, then students—just like the rest of Canadians—will be hurt financially.

“On the other hand, we’re not sure how much [Trump] will actually be able to accomplish on these lines. So my advice is: stay tuned,” she said.

Adam Bradley, president of the Carleton Conservatives, said Trump’s victory will likely have an impact on Canadian university students, but that was to be expected no matter who won the election.

A survey from the Angus Reid Institute revealed Canadian Conservative Party supporters are divided, with 39 per cent of Conservatives supportive of Trump’s victory and 36 per cent disappointed.

Bradley said he also sees this divide among members of the Carleton Conservatives.

“Within the club, there are a number of Trump supporters and there are a number of people who hate him,” he said.

Bradley said despite the disagreements on these subjects, the club, just like the party, always manages to work together.

Adam Kouri, a member of the Carleton University New Democrats, said he believes the results of the American election have already had a negative impact on Canadian universities.

“I think a lot of university students felt disappointed, especially on our campuses,” Kouri said. “I know a lot of students are scared right now.”

With hate crimes being reported across Canada and the US directly after the election, Souza said he knows Muslim students and minority groups who are frightened.

The Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) sent a notice to students after the election results were announced, reminding them of the variety of support services on campus, according to the Montreal Gazette. The SSMU said Trump’s victory could make LGBTQ, Hispanic, black, and international students feel “less safe or mentally shaken.”

Charlotte Zronic, a member of the Carleton Liberals, said she traveled to Ohio to campaign for Hillary Clinton on election day. She said she went door-to-door asking people to vote for Clinton, but was yelled at by some people and had the police called on her.

Zronic said she believes Canadian students have already felt the impact of the election results.

“I think it is inevitable for some people to take on the [Trump] mindset,” she said.

She also said a large number of Canadian students come from a wealthy, Caucasian background, which allows them the privilege of avoiding being directly affected by the election.

Wilfeard said now that the election is over, most of his American friends who were either for or against Trump are waiting to see what happens next.

Despite whether the next four years are good or bad, Wilfeard said he is happy to call Canada home.

“The divisions are settling down now and they just want to see what he does,” he said. “I want to thank Canada and I want to live here.”