It’s the one year anniversary of Donald Trump’s election
U.S. presidency has impacted issues Langara students care about
One year ago today Donald Trump won a surprise victory to become the president of the United States. The Langara Voice looked into the impact then of how his presidency will change people’s lives. A year later, our journalists talked to experts and students about how they’ve been affected by the Donald Trump presidency in four key areas:
The jury is still out on whether Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, a year ago today, has heightened Canadian interest in their own political environment.
Public engagement in political discourse has been affected in a multitude of ways, from protest to participation, from turning out for the vote to tuning out all together.
“I’m a lot more interested in Trudeau and what he’s been doing,” Mike Vandervelden, a computer science student at Langara College, said, adding that it was Trump who had shown him how fallible national leaders can truly be.
The American political landscape has likely distracted many in Canada, but there’s no evidence that Canadians are paying more attention to Canadian politics, said Will Greaves, an assistant professor in the political science department at the University of Victoria.
“There’s so much happening south of the border and most Canadians only have so much time to think about politics at all,” Greaves said Wednesday. “It means they might be paying a little less attention to some of the Canadian political issues that are happening up here.”
The focus on the Trump presidency has the potential to raise public interest in Canadian politics, according to Mitchell Mohan, a first-year Langara College nursing student.
“I feel like it draws in people that normally wouldn’t pay attention to it,” Mohan said.
- Nick Valka, Eleanor Clarke, Perrin Grauer
The office door of Nancy Pollak, Langara College’s coordinator of Women’s Studies has posters stating now is not the time for silence and promoting a time to build and a time to burn bridges.
Women groups were one of the first to protest against the Trump presidency after he was elected Nov 8, 2016. On Inauguration Day Jan. 21, earlier this year, millions of people participated in Women’s Marches around the world.
In Vancouver, a day after the inauguration, a crowd of 15,000 marched at Jack Poole Plaza. Samantha Monckton, one of the organizers of the march and an organizer at the Me Too Rally last Saturday, said the Trump presidency has started a new revolution in women’s movements in North America.
“He catapulted [movements] with his disregard for women,” she said Wednesday. “His openness about his disregard for women and women’s rights has catapulted a new resistance.”
On campus Wednesday, students had conflicting views on how women have been affected by Trump’s first year of presidency.
Sarah Pyykko, a second year psychology student, told The Voice that for a lot of women, electing Trump was a step backwards.
“The fact that Trump was elected as opposed to Hillary Clinton I think is really discouraging for a lot of women who were hoping for more lenient female representation in politics,” Pyykko said.
Samantha Borake, a second-year kinesiology student, sees a silver lining in the Trump presidency.
“I think with Hillary Clinton or Obama, we would have agreed with things they’d say, we wouldn’t feel the need to be so vocal. But right now there’s no one fighting for women except for women themselves,” Borake said. “People are dealing with situations first hand.”
The president’s views on women has had a negative impact on women, but Beverley Almeida, a criminal justice student believes there may be some positive reaction, including more attention to sexual harassment from people in power, such as executive Harvey Weinstein.
“We’re able to be more vocal about what’s wrong with the current system and how we’re perceived,” she said Wednesday. “The whole wave with Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t have come out if it wasn’t for there being such a sexist president.”
- Becca Clarkson, Lindsey Lloyd, Lisa Steacy, Ana Rose Walkey
The credibility of mainstream media has been questioned throughout Donald Trump’s first year in power.. There are divisive ideologies throughout the United States, with some believing the president has a level of control over media that contradicts democracy. On the other hand, supporters of Trump believe that fake news is unfairly attacking their president.
Zenna Wong, a photography student, said that only a few media outlets are seen as neutral nowadays and credibility has been harmed.
“There is more push for fact-checking now, especially because he has been calling attention to fake news and everything is more divisive,” Wong said.
Alex Boston, the chair of Langara College’s philosophy department, said Trump’s rise to power has polarized the population and created silos where people will reflexively condemn or defend him.
“There’s one group of people that will always believe what Trump says and will always dismiss any criticism of Trump as fake news,” Boston said.
Gurlal Singh, a business management student at Langara, said there will always be critics of Trump, no matter what the president does.
“People spread rumours. Anyone can say anything to the media,” Singh said. “Whether he’s a bad politician or a good politician, he’s a very good businessman.”
According to Alyn Edwards, partner in Peak Communications and a former TV news reporter, the media has a particularly important role to play during the Trump presidency.
“The media in Canada is on alert because if, for example, the president of the United States was successful in controlling and managing the media through intimidation, it could work here,” Edwards said.
- Danica Walker, Alli Hayes, Myra Dionne, Natalia Buendia
Since Donald Trump was elected president, more than 15,000 people have crossed the U.S.-Canada border illegally to claim refugee status in Canada.
His election and his campaign preceding it spurred international interest in moving to Canada. The day after Trump was elected, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website crashed and how to move to Canada became one of the most searched keywords.
Canada’s official Twitter account on the day Trump was elected Nov 8, 2016 sent out the message that immigrants were welcome.
In Canada, immigrants are encouraged to bring their cultural traditions with them and share them with their fellow citizens. pic.twitter.com/MOuStZbSX7
— Canada (@Canada) November 9, 2016
That tweet was retweeted 72,000 times and was liked by more than 95,000 users.
Accounting student Kamal Jeet Singh said Trump was not a factor in his decision to study in Canada above other countries.
“I was planning on coming to Canada five or six years ago,” Singh said. “All we ever heard in India is that Canada is the best place to study.”
Langara College has experienced a significant rise in international applicants over the past 5 years. But it’s too early to make any correlation to the U.S. president with more foreign students coming to the college. according to Ajay Patel, vice president of external relations.
In an interview, Patel said that colleges and universities across Canada have seen increased international student enrolment, including at Langara.
Trump is probably one of those factors, Patel said Wednesday, but it’s hard to pin it down to just one cause. Canada as an attractive location for international students has already been established independent of Trump’s election.
- Trevor Nault, Lisa Tanh, Alberto Tufano
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