Canadian, US officials optimistic on democracy despite ‘cocktail’ of threats Nation World News

Despite a series of challenges in both Canada and the United States, politicians on both sides of the border say they believe the two countries can overcome a difficult political climate and secure their respective democracies.

In interview on Nation World News House Broadcast Saturday, US Ambassador David Cohen, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Senator Peter Boehm and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy all offered their take on the state of Canada-US relations and the strength of democracy in their countries.

Murphy, a Democrat who has served as New Jersey’s governor since 2018, told host Chris Hall that the United States faces a “cocktail of concerns” when it comes to its own democracy. .

He pointed to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, which Congress is currently hearing, but also talked about what he believes the Supreme Court in America is divisive such as abortion and gun-keeping. was out of public opinion on the issues. ,

17:12Democratic sadness?

US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen speaks to the House about Canada-US relations, Phil Murphy, then Governor of New Jersey, and Senator Peter Boehm of Canada sit down to discuss the state of democracy in Canada and the United States.

“If you look at where America is on hidden weapons, where America is on Roe v. Wade … the will of the people is dramatically on the Supreme Court with this radical right-wing bloc,” he said.

Despite those challenges, Murphy said, he expressed optimism.

“I believe we will overcome it,” he said.

Boehm, who has served as ambassador to Germany, deputy minister for international development and other civil service roles for the G7 summit in 2018, similarly said he was an optimist but also faced significant challenges to Canada on social and political terms. faced. issues.

“We are in a vicious circle of popular despair,” he told Hall. “I think people’s frustration with the effects of the pandemic is a big factor. We have a degree of economic stagnation. And of course, in all of this, politics has become very polarised.”

Canadian, US officials optimistic on democracy despite 'cocktail' of threats Nation World News
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the United States Supreme Court is out of public opinion on divisive issues like abortion and gun possession. (Eduard Munoz/Reuters)

sunny day and blizzard

Ambassador David Cohen also identified challenges in Canada-US relations and for the countries’ two democracies.

He said he believed in a fundamental friendship between the two countries formed by family ties, travel and commerce as well as shared values, but, he said, over the past four or five years, Canadians felt “betrayed”. Is. Mutual affection from the United States.

Meanwhile, Freeland said that Canada is the country that should be most concerned about the development of the United States, but also that Canadians should be reassured “we can deal with sunny days and we can deal with snow storms.” can deal with.”

But Freeland also highlighted the responsibility of Canadians when it comes to ensuring a stable, lasting relationship with this country’s most important partner. It noted that Canada should be seen as a credible and responsible ally, which was not, she said, the image that surfaced during the convoy protests in winter that blocked traffic and trade along the border.

“I could see our reputation as a reliable trading partner and investment destination eroding in a way every minute. And we can’t do that. We’re not a big, prosperous country enough to hurt ourselves. to cut out some parts,” she told Hall.

Canadian, US officials optimistic on democracy despite 'cocktail' of threats Nation World News
Protesters block a roadway at the Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ontario in February. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the convoy protests in Ottawa and at border points with the US challenge Canada’s image as a credible and responsible ally. (Geoff Robbins/AFP/Getty Images)

take nothing

In their different ways, Canadian and US officials each pointed to renewed, re-active engagement – ​​with both domestic citizens and cross-border partners – as a way to revitalize both ties and the two countries’ respective democracies. in the form of.

Cohen said that past challenges have shown that “perhaps we shouldn’t take this incredible relationship and mutual commitment to democratic values ​​so carelessly and lightly; it doesn’t come automatically.”

Boehm said it is up to politicians to act in a clear, unambiguous way and to back down against cynicism and misinformation in the public sphere.

11:42Freeland on Freeland’s Land

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland sits down with Chris Hall to talk about what this country can do to keep its most important bilateral relationship – with the United States – on track.

Freeland said moments like the Rowe v. Wade show’s reversal of rights in a democracy were not to be taken lightly and there was a danger of complacency.

“There can always be a backlash, all rights can be violated. All institutions can be attacked and uprooted. There is no imperative about democracy. There is no imperative about women’s rights, ” He said.

When it comes to Canada-US relations, Murphy said that a close relationship can always be close. And when it comes to American democracy, he said, there was no more important time than now to show up and vote — to support democracy through action.

“Vote, and vote in favor of democracy,” he said. “I’m a proud Democrat, but I’m speaking less of partisan politics than to stand up for the essence of America, the constitution that underlies our country, which, to me, needs to rally around.”

Reflecting once again on the recent SCOTUS decisions and the revelations surrounding the January 6 attack, Murphy said he hopes it will foster positive democratic participation.

“I think there is a sense of anger right now that will drive people to the polls and prove, please God, that democracy is alive and well.”

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