Here’s how CEOs North of the Border are Viewing American Politics

Canadian executives hope to benefit from Trump's tax cuts and support of the fossil fuels sector, though few actually approve of his performance.

Donald Trump may have inspired a bout of optimism from CEOs in America, but what do their counterparts north of the border think?

It turns out that Canadian CEOs also are upbeat about their companies’ prospects following Trump’s election in November—though that doesn’t necessarily mean they approve of his performance.

Some 70% of the 156 C-suite executives at top Canadian companies polled by Gandalf Group said they expect to benefit at least somewhat from the new U.S. administration’s policies and direction.

Canada is a resources-rich country and many of the executives surveyed were hopeful Trump’s moves to boost the mining and energy sectors would reverberate up north. His approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from oil fields in Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast, was cited as a potentially big win for local business.


Trump’s move to cut corporate tax rates could put pressure on other governments around the world, including Canada’s, to investigate tax cuts of their own to stay competitive.

To be sure, though, just 9% of the survey’s respondents had a favorable view of Trump, while half thought the administration was wasn’t doing very well with regard to economic policy.

Few had confidence in Trump’s handling of immigration and trade, with resources executives concerned about the possible introduction of a border-adjustment tax. Leaders in the services and manufacturing sectors, meanwhile, fretted over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“Half believe the administration’s posture on trade is reason to redouble Canada’s efforts to reach out to Asia-Pacific markets,” Gandalf said. “Conversely, half think Canada must put all efforts into maintaining if not improving trade access with the U.S.”

Some saw Trump’s crackdown on immigration as an opportunity. “The vast majority opposes Trump’s move to halt the settlement of refugees,” the researchers found. “Most believe Canada has an opportunity in light of U.S. border policies to lure skilled talent.”

On Sunday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed frustration with how long it’s taking Congress to allow the administration to push forward with a NAFTA renegotiation. “Bad trade deals shouldn’t be allowed to sit,” he told Fox News. “The longer they sit, the more they are to our disadvantage. So it’s quite unfortunate that the way Congress has been working has been to slow-walk these activities.”

You might also like:
Trade as a Dirty Word: What CEOs Must Do to Defend Global Commerce
As America Leaves the TPP, Business Holds Hope of Alternative Trade Deals
“We have to be Mexican”: BlackRock CEO Presses Trade Case, Warns on Stock Prices


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events