'I’m very nervous': Maritimers engaging more ahead of U.S. election
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden talks at the same time during the final presidential debate at Belmont University, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (Jim Bourg/Pool via AP)
HALIFAX -- In just seven days, Americans will elect their next president.
Christina Schettino-Irish says the country is very divided right now.
"We have people that love Biden, people that love Trump, and the hardest thing for me is to see the stress of relationships and friendships breaking up over whose voting for who,” said Schettino-Irish, who calls North Carolina home.
Schettino-Irish has lived in the U.S. for the last 21 years but can’t vote because she is a Canadian citizen.
"I have a permanent green card so I've never had a chance or an opportunity to vote because I'm not an American," she said.
Her husband decided not to vote this year because he didn't want it to interfere with his job or his friendships.
Elizabeth Hebert, an American citizen living in New Brunswick, has already cast her ballot for the upcoming election.
"I'm very nervous about the election," Hebert said. "We're cautiously optimistic that the president will lose, we hope."
Hebert has been volunteering with Democrats Abroad to help other Americans living in Canada to vote.
"America plays a really big role in the world," Hebert said. "I don't know that Americans in America always realize the repercussions outside their borders, but we've lived here for three and a half years, we've lived in Australia for seven years prior to being here, so we sort of see how policy impacts the world. I think the instability and sort of division in the U.S. creates instability beyond the American borders."
Lori Turnbull, the director of the school of public administration and an associate professor of political science at Dalhousie University, says we're often focused on American politics in Canada, but she says this election is an interesting one.
"This is a high-stakes election. This is potentially a change election,” said Turnbull.
"The choice is Trump and Biden. We've seen what the Trump presidency has looked like over the past four years and people are wondering whether people are going to give Trump a second term or whether Joe Biden is going to be able to offer a ticket that is compelling enough to be able to eliminate that possibility of a second term for Trump."
Social media expert Giles Crouch says he's been seeing a lot more Canadians engage online in this election than the last one.
"I think that Canadians are starting to question American democracy as a whole and we're participating more in our democracies as a result," he said.
"There’s been a big shift, Canadians were very active with the discussions with Americans, almost behaving in the same way that the Americans were in a sense of divisiveness. The last six to eight weeks, the biggest shift I've seen is that Canadians are now feeling a sense of sadness. There's almost this pity for Americans and what they're going through and that's a big shift. The other one is a growing fear by Canadians of potential violence falling out of the election as well."
Turnbull says this is an interesting time in American politics with a lot of important issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's hard to rely on polls at this point to measure what's going to happen," Turnbull said. "It's always hard to do that and, this is I think a harder time because the vote is less predictable because of the pandemic issue. Some people that vote all the time may make a decision not to vote this time and, some who don't usually vote may engage the mail in ballots and participate."