U.S. President-elect Joe Biden gets early start on COVID-19, aims to cancel massive Canadian infrastructure project
By Noel Harper, News Editor
With the eyes of the world watching, the U.S. underwent a presidential election unlike any other in its history. After days of speculation throughout the U.S. and beyond as votes were tabulated from coast to coast, a winner emerged — on a Saturday no less, four days after election day.
Joe Biden, former U.S. vice president and senator, will serve as the country’s 46th president beginning in 2021, defeating incumbent Donald Trump, who will only serve one term in office.
“Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time,” Biden said in a speech shortly after being confirmed as president-elect.
Those aforementioned battles are many, as Biden is presented with a wide-array of issues facing the U.S. upon taking office, including health care, systemic racism, a climate crisis and perhaps most prevalent of all, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our work begins with getting COVID under control. We cannot repair the economy … until we get this virus under control,” he said.
Biden soon named several officials with expertise in medicine and infectious diseases, among other areas, to key positions within the incoming administration — several of which are from the administration of former President Barack Obama, in which Biden served as vice president.
With Biden’s win comes the historic victory of his running mate, Kamala Harris. The vice president-elect, a long-time political figure in her native California, will be the first female elected to the position, and the first person of African-American and South Asian descent.
“No matter who you voted for, I will strive to be a vice president like Joe was to President Obama — loyal, honest and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your family,” Harris said in a speech.
Biden expressed a similar sentiment upon securing the necessary electoral college votes from across the U.S. to declare victory, reaching out to those who did not support him.
“I understand your disappointment tonight,” Biden said. “I’ve lost a couple of elections myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the first world leader to speak with the president-elect shortly after the election was called.
“We’ve worked with each other before, and we’re ready to pick up on that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries — including climate change and COVID-19,” read a message posted to Trudeau’s social channels. Biden will be the third U.S. counterpart to Trudeau during the prime minister’s tenure.
It didn’t take long for Canadian provincial leaders to welcome Biden to the presidential office, including Ontario’s Doug Ford, Quebec’s François Legault and notably, Alberta’s Jason Kenney.
“The United States is by far Alberta’s largest trading partner,” Kenney said in a statement in response to the election. “U.S. energy security is dependent on Alberta as the United States’ largest source of oil imports. Much of the American economy is fuelled by Alberta energy.”
This may be interpreted as a reference to the Keystone XL pipeline project, a long-time focal point of U.S. administrations for the last several years. Among Biden’s campaign promises was to stop the slated pipeline, which would run between Alberta and the state of Nebraska.
In May, the Biden campaign announced their candidate’s intention to cancel the project, as Obama had in 2015. The Trump administration reversed this cancellation and issued a permit for its construction once again.
Ultimately, 306 electoral college votes were called for Biden, to Trump’s 232. Several states flipped to the democratic party from 2016’s federal election, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia.