'I'll be glad when it's over': northeastern Ontario residents paying close attention to U.S. election
SAULT STE. MARIE -- It seems all eyes are on the U.S. election, including in northeastern Ontario.
As Americans choose between four more years of Donald Trump or a new administration led by Joe Biden, Canadians in the north and around the country are feeling anxious, according to a new Leger poll.
"I'll be glad when it's over," said Sault Ste. Marie resident Linda Lundhild. "There's so much of it, you know, and people protesting, killing each other over this."
The poll found 75 per cent of Canadians are worried about the U.S. election, while 68 per cent say they're concerned that there will be a "complete breakdown of the political system in the U.S., leading to a period of social chaos."
That anxiety was echoed by many in the Sault, particularly at the mention of a potential Trump victory.
"Trump is a little bit more dangerous in beliefs," said Barbara Harrison. "He's very egotistical and it's not really about what's right or wrong, it's about what's right for him."
"As a Canadian, I hope that Mr. Biden will win and I hope he comes in strong," said Suzanne Kearns. "I'm worried that it'll be a little close."
A political scientist at Nipissing University said much of that anxiety boils down to the polarization between the two candidates.
"It's been a rather stark difference, the two men and their personalities are already quite different," said David Tabachnick. "I guess the COVID-19 crisis makes that all the more obvious."
Tabachnick said Canadians may also worry about how a result on either side could affect the country.
While Donald Trump has imposed tariffs, particularly on Canadian steel, he said Biden's campaign is also riding on an 'America first' approach.
"I think in either case, both aren't necessarily going to care about Canadian workers," said Cody Alexander, president of the United Steelworkers Union Local 9548 in the Sault. "I guess from a humanitarian standpoint, I'd personally want Joe Biden to win over Trump."
The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce said the election has the potential to impact the north's resource market in a massive way.
"Not only that, but the tourism sector is very large," said Debbi Nicholson, president and CEO of the chamber. "Many of our tourists to northeastern Ontario come from the U.S., so that's another huge market for us."
Despite all the fears and concerns from Canadians, one thing is for certain: Canadians overwhelmingly support Joe Biden as a potential victor, with 80 per cent of those surveyed voting in his favour.