Harper says Obama election 'truly inspiring'
Well that's nice to know. Honestly, on a lot of issues, the two aren't that far apart. Obama pledges to withdraw from Iraq in two years. Harper pledges to withdraw from Afghanistan in two years. Obama supports continued private sector involvement in the health insurance industry and limited expansion of government health insurance. Harper supports more private sector involvement in our government health insurance industry. Obama supports a cap and trade system to address climate change. Harper supports cap and trade but doesn't like to talk about it much and has a much lower emissions reduction target.
I really don't forsee much friction in this relationship. Some might put forward Obama's remarks on NAFTA, but those were made during a tough primary battle in Ohio, where sentiment against NAFTA runs strong. And Obama's objections seem mainly to do with what the treaty is lacking, specifically environmental standards, and not what it includes. He is not anti-free trade. And let's not forget the battles over soft-wood lumber that occurred during Bush's presidency; a conservative in the White House is no guarantee against protectionism.
And I see that there is already some talk over a possible bilateral climate change agreement between the US and Canada. If anything, this might push Harper's position more to the Left, since Obama will certainly have much more influence in any arrangement between our two countries. Alberta is probably safe no matter what, since the US needs a secure oil supply outside of hostile OPEC states.
UPDATE: Calgary Grit makes pretty much the same point here, and also links to an interesting post comparing Harper and Hillary Clinton's positions.