Canadians may be watching the drama unfold in the United States presidential election, but beyond cheering for the candidate they like best, there could be far-reaching impacts on the economy, families travelling between the countries, and even our social fabric.

Among those who will be watching, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said no matter who wins, his interest is in promoting Canadian interests in trade matters. Democrat Joe Biden has said he would revisit some of the tariffs introduced by Republic President Donald Trump.

Kim Speers, a political scientist and assistant professor in the University of Victoria’s Public Administration department, said given how the pandemic has impacted the economy, it may be a tough road ahead.

“I think both Biden and Trump are going to be protectionist,” she told CTV News.

There’s also a dispute over softwood lumber that’s been going on for more than three years.

Speers points out the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will impact who can get through the border. Many people on both sides are eager to see loved ones. Yet case numbers continue to rise on both sides of the border at record-breaking rates. Right now there’s a clause that allows essential workers to skip the mandatory quarantine.

“I think with the growing COVID-19 numbers that non-essential travel clause will need to be looked at in order to protect Canadians.”

A record number of Americans cast ballots in advance and that could delay results. While it’s not unheard of to wait beyond Election Day to get results, the incumbent, Donald Trump has been turning up the rhetoric about the fairness of the process.

Businesses are boarding up, bracing for civil unrest that could turn violent. For months, the country has seen protests over the killing of black people by police and demands for change.

Speers points out this, too, could impact Canadians. She says in her classes, many students are interested in what’s happening south of the border and she thinks that interest extends beyond the university.

“I think one of the effects of the Trump government it has certainly highlighted and perhaps created more divisions in Canadian society," she said.