Maybe it’s an old friend on Facebook you’ve barely spoken to since high school, or it could be an uncle you usually only see at Christmas, but there’s no denying there are Canadians who are drawn to Donald Trump and support him.
How many fans or admirers the U.S. president has north of the 49 is impossible to pin down, and it may depend on the makeup of your social circle — but they are typically not shy about making their admiration known.
“I think he’s a leader we can all get behind — someone who has that ‘no B.S.’ attitude. He’s not a politician, he just says how he feels,” Vancouver entrepreneur Massimo Mandarino told CTV News. “To me, it’s refreshing to have someone that had that no-nonsense attitude. With that said, is he bombastic, is he rude? Yes, and I think that’s too much on that side and I don’t like that part of him."
An avid news consumer and frequent supporter of the president on Twitter, Mandarino says he’s impressed with Trump’s policies and what he’s accomplished for our neighbours to the south.
“(U.S. media are) not reporting him fairly, in my view, and I used to be a CNN fan but I can’t do it no more,” he said. “They’ll harp on one thing, they’ll never mention any of his successes — just last week the GDP was at 33 per cent and you didn’t hear that anywhere except for Fox.”
A number of Facebook pages and groups purport to be Canadians in support of Trump, though it’s impossible to verify where the group members actually live. But there are Canadians who are members of American political pages supporting Trump, and MAGA hats aren’t unheard of in Metro Vancouver, sometimes worn by Canucks. There’s even a website for clothing emblazoned with a logo incorporating Trump’s distinctive profile and a maple leaf reading “CanadaSupportsTrump.com."
One Facebook group, titled Canadians For Trump, has more than a 1,000 members and is full of pro-Trump, anti-Justin Trudeau posts and comments.
“I hope Trump comes and fixes this country, too,” wrote one Canadian in response to a posting about NDP leader Jagmeet Singh urging Americans to vote out Trump.
“I wish Trump was Canadian, then I would vote him to be PM. Can't stand Trudope,” wrote another.
Numerous opinion polls suggest Trump fans are in the minority in Canada, particularly in B.C. In August, Research Co. found 47 per cent of Canadians believed Trump’s presidency had been “bad” or “very bad” for Canada.
“You used to get around 30, maybe 40 per cent of Canadians who had good opinions on specific Republican candidates for president in the past,” said Research Co. president, Mario Canseco, who noted those who voted for the federal Conservatives often approved of Republican presidents. “When it comes down to Donald Trump the numbers are definitely lower, but you still have 17 per cent of Canadians who say that he has been good for Canada, so therefore they’re happy with the way things are going. In B.C. we have the lowest number in the country at 13 per cent.”
In 2017, when the Trump International Hotel and Tower opened in downtown Vancouver, a survey from Insights West found 65 per cent of British Columbians were "likely" to boycott businesses located in a Trump-branded property. The Trump hotel’s operator went bankrupt in August, as many tourism-related operators were struggling with pandemic border closures.
That being said, there’s probably someone (or multiple people) in your life, whether it’s at your workplace or in your social media network, instantly identifiable – and likely memorable – as a Trump supporter.
“There’s definitely a group (of Canadians) that’s happy with having Donald Trump in the White House,” said Canseco, pointing to The Apprentice star’s brashness and identity as a billionaire as being particularly appealing. “If somebody like that can do it, maybe somebody who’s good at business and is fairly famous in Canada could try it. It didn’t work for Kevin O’Leary but there’s definitely that feeling towards Donald Trump.”
Despite major U.S. polls to the contrary, Mandarino is among an admittedly small number of Lower Mainland supporters who believe Trump will eke out a victory.
“I predict him winning by a small margin — I want him to win just so people’s heads can explode, all those people who hate him, they don’t even know why, they just hate him, right? They can’t say anything about his policies,” said Mandarino, whose enthusiasm for the man is tempered by his dislike of his social media presence.
“I’m not happy the way he talks, I don’t like that. I don’t like his tweeting, I think he needs to get off. At least, be on it and be civil. That part bothers me, when he acts like a buffoon — and he is. I’m not going to say he’s a nice guy, I will never say that.”