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Trudeau election not just a win for Canada, but huge for U.S. too, says UB Canadian studies experts

Release Date: October 22, 2015

“The people of Canada grew exhausted with the Conservative party and there was a growing sense that the old administration was a divisive one. The old administration were not good stewards of the U.S.-Canada relationship and as a result, the Obama administration largely ignored Canada.”
Munroe Eagles, director of Canadian studies
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The election of Justin Trudeau not only ended a nine-year Conservative reign, but also brought back the ‘old Canada’ – and that bodes well for the United States, according to Munroe Eagles, professor of political science and director of Canadian studies at the University at Buffalo.

“The people of Canada grew exhausted with the Conservative party and there was a growing sense that the old administration was a divisive one,” says Eagles, who was born in Nova Scotia and was founding director of UB’s Canadian studies department. “The old administration were not good stewards of the U.S.-Canada relationship and as a result, the Obama administration largely ignored Canada.”

Under Trudeau, Eagles says, things will be different.

Trudeau brings with him a respect for diplomats and is eager to patch up those relationships, he says. He lacks the hubris Stephen Harper and the old administration had and Trudeau understands how important the relationship with America is, Eagles says.

The ‘old Canada,’ or the one that Trudeau’s father, Pierre, helped to create, is one that is tolerant and one in which Canada serves as more of a peace broker, says Cecil Foster, UB professor of transnational studies and director of Canadian studies.

“That is why there is such optimism on the international scene,” says Foster, who emigrated to Canada in 1978. “Trudeau welcomes Obama’s notion of peace keeping. He is accepting of Syrian refugees. When it comes to environmental issues, for example, Trudeau will work to bring the world powers together. He will work to re-position Canada to the Canada it used to be.”

Foster says it was no secret that Obama and Harper did not get along.

“Trudeau is fully aware the U.S. and Canada are the two largest trade partners in the world and they must have a strong working relationship,” he says. “In terms of Ottawa and Washington, things will get much better. The first foreign leader Trudeau said he would call was going to be Obama.”

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