btn_subscribe-top
btn_give-a-gift
btn_login
btn_signup
btn_rss

Blog

Canadians’ View of Obama’s Inaugural Speech

February 4, 2013

by John Parisella

As Canadians, we tend to watch the Inaugural activities with interest. Sometimes, as in 1961 or in 2009, we marvel at the significance and the majesty of the event. Many times, we are indifferent and see it merely as a news story in the heart of winter every four years.

We do not pretend to understand the subtleties of the words of a U.S. President, but we cannot deny their scope in terms of the years to come. John F. Kennedy asked his fellow citizens to become engaged: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This time around, Barack Obama said that “America was made for this moment.” He outlined the vision of the Founding Fathers, and laid out a progressive vision of where America must go, which he linked with the basic values of the U.S. constitution.

Comment on this post

Many on this side of the border are familiar with the call for an activist government, and an effort to reduce inequalities in society. Much of our social fabric is based on this approach. What was attractive in the speech had to do with the JFK-like call for greater citizen engagement on issues like gun control , and the presentation of a vision of a changing country largely defined by new demographics. It was clear Obama understood his victory coalition, and addressed its inherent and emerging values and hopes. Republicans, take note! Obama2.0 seems more determined to press his agenda this time around.

Others in Canada, being more practical and short term in assessment, spoke of Obama’s rekindled interest in climate change, and whether this spelled a doomsday scenario for the Keystone project pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. The selection of John Kerry as secretary of state and his sensitivity to climate change issues raises some legitimate concerns. Clearly, with emerging energy options that point to greater energy independence for the U.S., Obama’s reference to leading the climate change revolution made an impact with some Canadian authorities. We shall soon see whether Canada’s energy exports hopes will suffer a severe setback.

Since Canada is usually depicted as a progressive—based nation, open to government activism in the course of its history, it is certain that Obama’s words were highly appreciated by Canadians. Recent surveys in Canada indicate that Canadians from all political spectrums were delighted with Obama’s re-election .The President has since laid out a vision that will not only mark his second term, but could be one for the next generation. My sense is that Canadians are comfortable with this.

*John Parisella is the former Québec delegate general in New York and currently a visiting professor at the University of Montréal’s International Relations Center.

Tags:

To speak with an expert on this topic, please contact the communications office at: communications@as-coa.org or (212) 277-8384.
blog comments powered by Disqus

 
 

Connect with AQ


Twitter YouTube Itunes App Store

 

Most Popular

MOST POPULAR ON AQ ONLINE

  • Most Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 day
  • 1 week
  • 1 month
  • 1 year

AQ and Efecto Naím: NTN24 Partnership

June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.

 

AQ BLOGGERS REPORT FROM

Atlanta, GA
   Sabrina Karim
 
Bogotá, Colombia
   Jenny Manrique
 
Caracas, Venezuela
   Paula Ramón
 
Guatemala City, Guatemala
   Nic Wirtz
 
Mexico City, Mexico
   Juan Manuel Henao
 
Monterrey, Mexico
   Arjan Shahani
 
Montreal, Canada
   John Parisella
 
New York, NY
   Adam Frankel
   Christopher Sabatini
 
Ottawa, Canada
   Huguette Young
 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
   Stephen Kurczy
 
Salvador, Brazil
   Paulo Rogério
  
San Salvador, El Salvador
   Julio Rank Wright
  Carlos Ponce
 
Santiago, Chile
   Joseph Hinchliffe
 
Washington, DC
  Eric Farnsworth
  Liz Harper
  Christian Gómez, Jr.
  Christine Gomes
  Kezia McKeague