The impact of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election isn’t limited to the confines of the American borders.
The aftermath of President Barrack Obama’s re-election wasn’t lost on Canadian politicians including Alex Atamanenko, the MP for Southern Interior.
“I’m happy that Obama won,” Atamanenko told the Trail Times from his office in Ottawa on Wednesday morning.
And while the pundits dissected the Democrats’ victory and the Republicans’ loss, the Canadian parties were reviewing their own game plan.
“I’m sure the strategists are looking at this and seeing how that will reflect on what’s happening here,” he said.
“The one thing that I take from this, and I’m hoping, that it will put a brake on the whole Tea Party, the extreme do-away-with-government, libertarian philosophy that is even permeating our culture.
“We cannot allow that to happen in this country and I think this election will help us put a stop to that.”
Atamanenko agreed the fallout from the U.S. election was the Republicans inability to broaden its demographic appeal, which was limited to mostly white, middle-class men.
The MP said the NDP began addressing that issue on the heels of the 2011 federal election.
“We certainly are reaching out to people of all demographics. Even after the (2011 Canadian) election we went out working with students and reaching out more to the ethnic communities to hear their concerns.
“We understand this as a party. These people are part of the total mosaic and we have to appeal and represent people from all sectors of society.”
He noted even Alberta’s demographic, long a stronghold for the Conservative Party, is changing.
Atamanenko pointed to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the upcoming by-election in Calgary.
“It’s not a given it’s going to be a Conservative walkover. There are other people who aren’t white, middle-class males that are in Alberta.
“We have to keep that in mind as we try to go out and reach out to folks across this country.”
B.C. residents were also watching the developments of initiatives in Washington state, which included the passing of a recreational marijuana proposal.
Atamanenko agreed the issue is growing and pointed to a resolution passed at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting and the support decriminalization has received from mayors, law enforcement officials and voters.
“I think we need to really talk about this and come up with a solution because the current policy we have is not really working.
“As we move forward I can see that coming up. But one has to appreciate that we are in really tough times in dealing with this current government.
“We’re trying to make sure Canada survives and a lot of things that are near and dear to us.
“But I wouldn’t say this debate is on the front burner.
“We’re battling these guys to keep the values we have and some sense of democracy.”
As for the never-ending gridlock clogging the U.S. Congress, Atamanenko can only hope Americans right their own ship.
“People will realize that Obama has four more years, he is the president and if they want to move their country forward they’re going to have to work together.
“The second thing, I think the world is a safer place as a result of his re-election. To me, I don’t think we’re going to have someone who may push the nuclear trigger.
“I think Obama understands how to work with allies.”