Let’s hope Trump’s fanciful thinking on science doesn’t resonate in Canada

Let’s hope Trump’s fanciful thinking on science doesn’t resonate in Canada

By Shachi Kurl, President

Donald Trump has spent much of 2020 insisting the novel coronavirus would disappear. Instead it has found a comfortable home in his lungs. The news is at once remarkable and utterly ordinary. He now joins more than seven million Americans infected with a highly contagious virus. Despite the tragedy of more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 in that country, most have recovered. I wish the same for the U.S. president.

The coming days will be a time for speculation around what this development means for the remaining month of the American election campaign. I can’t but help reflect as well on the impact of Trump – and the things he says and does – on Canadian public opinion and behaviour.

Much is often made of how people on this side of the border dislike him. Less scrutinized is the way his worldview has moved and intensified Canadian opinion. Not long after he was sworn in as president, one-quarter of the people in this country said they supported a Trump-style travel ban barring Syrian refugees. And it is ironic that while the first prime minister to seriously champion climate issues in Canada was Conservative Brian Mulroney, since Trump’s election, only about one-third of modern Conservative voters in this country believe that climate change is real and human caused.

There is little doubt in my mind that he has also had a significant impact on the way many Canadians view the seriousness of and reaction to COVID-19 in their own country. That said, on one key issue, we’ve tuned him out.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.

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