For starters, we don't need a wall. Just more drones patrolling the border.
As Canadians watch the quadrennial shitshow that is the US presidential election play out, many are having a tough time wrapping their heads around the appeal of Donald Trump, a head of hair who has been caught lying to "pants on fire" proportions throughout his campaign, proposing both impractical and outright racist policies, and just generally acting like a clown.
While it's tempting to chalk the Republican candidate's popularity up to a brand of conservatism and staunch partisanship that wouldn't flourish here, that might not be entirely true.
Torontonian Jay White, 37, is part of a (small) subset of Canadians who are rabid Trump fans. White started the Facebook group Canadians For Donald Trump in February, as an outlet for himself and likeminded people who "felt too intimidated to voice their opinion publicly."
"Trump supporters are generally branded as racist, and many people reluctantly keep quiet or respond with something to the idea of 'Well it's the lesser of two evils' as a way to 'soft' favor a politician," White told VICE.
While the online community of 3,100 people isn't particularly mobilized—they mostly post angry memes about Hillary Clinton—their passion for a political figure who will have very little to do with them is oddly fascinating.
VICE asked White what it is about Trump he finds so appealing, and how he thinks a Trump presidency might benefit Canada.
VICE: Why do you support Trump?
Jay White: All my life I believe that I have been at the very least misled and probably lied to by politicians and media and told to think a certain way. This is the first time in my lifetime I can comfortably say that I agree with almost everything the candidate appears to stand for. The fact that most politicians and media outlets have banded together to voice their displeasure shows me that he is on the right track.
How do you think a Trump presidency would impact Canada?
Trump has two key issues that would impact Canadians. NAFTA, if he could abolish this, Canada would be far far better off. NAFTA destroyed the Canadian lumber trade among other things. Our lumber industry used to be booming, I grew up in a resource-based area in Canada and I remember communities in the 80s with six to ten paper mills, now they are lucky if they have one mill running. NAFTA cost Canada a lot of jobs, and good paying jobs at that. It also ruined a lot of communities.
Two. The Keystone pipeline. This would be great for Canada short term, and great for America long term (environmental issues aside). The problem I have with this is that Canada needs a prime minister that looks long term, and we actually should not want this pipeline. We should be building our own pipelines to our own refineries and keeping all oil related jobs within our own country.
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But isn't saying "environmental issues aside" dismissing a pretty huge concern?
Environmental issues are always a concern, especially when you are talking about oil disasters as we have all seen too many of these in our lifetime. The simple fact though is that Canada has nearly a trillion barrels of oil in the ground, and that oil is going to come to market somehow. It could be by railway, to a refinery, or by transport or by pipelines. All have been proven to not be 100 percent safe environmentally. I am not concerned with which medium we use to transport the oil, but I would like to see refineries built in Canada so that those jobs and royalties stay in Canada.
How do you feel about Trump's immigration policies?
I am particularly fond of his immigration policies, in fact I would like them to be even stronger in Canada. If you look at the wealthiest countries in the world, there is one thing they all have in common, and it isn't oil, although that is part of it. It is that they have a very strict immigration policy. They let people come and earn a good wage on a work visa, but eventually when their job is finished they have to leave.
What about his proposal of banning Muslims from entering the US?
I believe he misspoke a little bit here or was taken out of context. I believe what he really meant here was a ban on citizens from conflict zones, which happen to be mostly Muslim regions. With regards to Canada, I do not know many people that are happy about Syrian refugees being brought to Canada. There is a reason why Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar do not take in these refugees. These are countries that share the same religion and language and they refuse to take one refugee. Ask yourself why? It is because they have already purged the educated citizens from those countries and it simply isn't worth the risk. These countries donate money to refugee camps that are held in other countries such as Jordan and Lebanon I would prefer Canada to go down this route.
Trump has said he wants to build a wall across the US-Mexico border—how would you feel if he decided to do the same for Canada?
Our border is already very heavily patrolled by personnel and drones and a wall would add very little to this. But for the sake of argument I think you are asking me: Are others are right to be offended by his desires to build a wall at Mexico? To be honest I think the wall is more figurative, and more of a saying. What he really desires is the enforcement of immigration. It truly is shocking how easy it is for illegals to enter the USA.
I'm not sure why you think it's figurative. I saw him speak recently and he said, "We're going to build a wall, it's going to be a great wall." That's something he's said repeatedly.
I have no doubts that he will actually build a wall. But Donald is not an idiot and he knows that a wall doesn't keep people out. The wall is something for people to marvel at and it would act as a symbol of immigration reform. Much the way that people look at the Statue of Liberty and think of freedom.
Why do you care about American politics to this extent?
I believe everyone in the world has a right to and should care about American politics since America appears to dictate policies all over the world. The fact that Donald has said that there is enough room at the top of the mountain for both Russia and the USA should be a welcoming sign to everyone.
Would you want to move to the US if Trump were president
America is a mess right now, and let's face it, this election has exposed a very ugly side to America. There are numerous divisions in America both racially, politically, financially and there seems to be a lot of people that do not want to live with each other anymore, I do not see how this is going to be solved no matter who is in charge but for the sake of Trump and what he can actually control. So no, I would not want to live in the USA.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.