‘Predictability’ under a Biden administration for Alberta: Sociology professor

A University of Lethbridge sociology professor who has been studying and writing about the Trump administration, and its impact on Canada over the past four years says there will be a level of regularity under president Joe Biden.

“Even for Alberta, I think predictability is a good thing,” said Trevor Harrison, professor of sociology at the University of Lethbridge.

“Under the Trump administration, there was a gradual change in the accepted behaviours and you see it in terms of much of the political culture of Alberta where some statements frankly that are not based in fact, people could get away with and the animosity and the anger.”

Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday as the United States' 46th President.

Documents reviewed by CTV this week, notes Biden will nix the Keystone XL pipeline, that would ship 830,000 barrels of Alberta crude per day from Hardisty, Alta. to Nebraska.

“I don’t think the sky is falling, because Biden got into office and cancelled a pipeline,” said Greg Anderson, a political scientist at the University of Alberta who focuses on USA/Canada relations.

It’s a pipeline that saw Premier Jason Kenney pump $1.5 billion of taxpayer money into last year. The province stands to lose about $1 billion (U.S.) if the project is cancelled by a presidential permit.

“It was a gamble that I guess I would say the Kenney government had to take,” said Anderson.

“It was a reasonable gamble in my view, (and) it hasn’t paid off.”

But despite the blow dealt to Alberta with the anticipated cancellation of Keystone XL, Biden's victory over the unpredictable Donald Trump has some feeling the political temperature will be lowered on both sides ides of the border, over time.

“Justin Trudeau is going to see something he recognizes in the White House that seems a little more normal,” said Anderson.

Anderson believes for Alberta to achieve anything in the way of economic certainty when it comes to the United States, the request must be made through Ottawa.

Harrison believes with the looming cancellation of KXL, it’s time for Alberta to diversify its economy.

“Alberta to some extent is a victim of having locked itself in of its own volition, to a particular kind of economy that it seems to be now in crisis,” said Harrison.

Harrison does feel that governments are currently focused on defeating the pandemic first, but as borders re-open safely, tourism and trade between Canada and the U.S. will surge.

In the last several years, Alberta has seen on average around one million tourists from the U.S. annually, before the pandemic.

In 2018- Alberta saw more than one million people visit from the US, who spent more than $890 million.