Islanders offer observations on U.S. election from south of border

Former premier and a West Coast resident weigh in on the aftermath

Nancy MacPhee
Published on November 10, 2016

Wayne Wright, a political cartoonist for the Journal Pioneer, which is a sister newspaper of The Guardian, created this cartoon following Donald Trump’s election win this week.

©Submitted image

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.: Alex B. Campbell has seen his fair share of election campaigns.

As Prince Edward Island’s longest serving premier, as well as an avid political observer, he’s been on both sides.

But, admitted Campbell Wednesday, none he has observed or been involved in compare to the campaign that resulted in Donald Trump becoming the president-elect of the United States.

“Really, as far as the campaigns were concerned, they were unusual and they were controversial and certainly not a good example for Canadians to follow,” he observed. “Canadians attempt, and usually successfully, not to make it personal. Unfortunately, this campaign became very nasty at times.”

South of the border, from the sunny shores of his winter home near Tampa, Fla., Campbell watched as the vote came in.

He wasn’t surprised by the outcome and regaled how he foresaw a Trump win.

Campbell quipped that the results of his “very scientific survey” proved correct.

“Driving through the United States, from Maine to Florida, I saw a total of four bumper stickers. Three of them were for Trump and one was for Hillary.

“On the basis of that scientific survey I predicted Trump would win.”

The former Liberal premier, who arrived in Florida a week before election day, said few people outside partisan supporters were expressing their support publicly for one party or candidate over another.

That, he added, is why those bumper stickers were so telling.

“People were keeping their opinions very much close to the chest.”


Waiting to see

what happensOn the opposite U.S. coast, in Palo Alto, Calif., Alexander O’Neill spent Wednesday trying to sort out his feelings regarding Trump’s win.

O’Neill was born and raised in Charlottetown but has strong roots in Prince County. He’s lived and worked as a software developer in Silicon Valley for five years.

The reaction of his American friends and colleagues to Trump’s win was mixed, he said.

“There is a really noticeable divide between friends who have been following the election closely and who are now quite upset, and others, mostly co-workers, who are acting like today is no different than any other day,” he said.

“Women, minorities and LGBTQ friends are expressing that they genuinely feel unsafe now and are making concrete plans in case things like the Affordable Care Act get repealed.”

As for what the Trump win will mean for him, O’Neill is trying to figure that out.

“I still really like it here, and have a job I find rewarding and a social circle I am very close to, but I’m also having a hard time envisioning what my future here would look like.”


Impact on

P.E.I. real estate

Americans are not flocking to P.E.I. quite yet.

Wayne MacKinnon, a realtor with Royal LePage Country Estates Ltd. in Summerside, had a few inquiries prior to Tuesday’s election from U.S. residents interested in buying Island properties if Donald Trump won, but only one sale of a city home.

“That was the reason they said they were coming, that they anticipated he was probably going to win,” MacKinnon said Wednesday. “They just don’t trust him and wanted to move here. These people have applied for citizenship.”

Ron Barrett, co-broker and co-owner of Century 21 Northumberland Realty Ltd. in Summerside, received several election-related calls Wednesday morning, but not Americans seeking to buy P.E.I. properties.

“We’ve had lots of calls on that, asking ‘Do you think there will be a lot of people moving here?’ ” said Barrett, adding most were from locals with properties to sell.

He said Trump’s victory could translate into some local sales to U.S. residents but isn’t sure how much interest will be generated.

“It depends on how things play out,” added Barrett. “People are going to wait to see how things go before they make a huge investment somewhere else.”