OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that he has faith in the American electoral process to unfold fairly and accurately, as U.S. President Donald Trump makes unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
With his path to a second term narrowing, Trump spoke from the White House on Thursday evening where he claimed without evidence that there has been widespread fraudulent voting and improperly managed counts in some key states, calling for certain counts to be halted and others to proceed.
Asked about Trump’s questioning of the electoral system’s integrity and accusations of the vote being stolen by Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his party, Trudeau didn’t address Trump’s position head-on, but said generally that the U.S. has managed its elections well over time and he has faith in American institutions to complete the vote counts properly.
“It takes time to count the results. This is something that’s foreseen in the American process,” Trudeau said in French during a press conference in Ottawa.
Republicans have waged a series of legal challenges to the vote, as the count continues in a handful of key battleground states where Biden is either leading or gradually narrowing the gap as more votes are being counted on Friday.
While Biden is on track to secure the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency, The Associated Press continues to view the election as too close to call.
Trudeau said that he knows many people on both sides of the border are eagerly awaiting the results but he is confident the process is taking place as it should.
Over the last three days, as the outstanding surge in advance and mail-in votes continue to be counted, Canadian political figures have held their tongues for the most part about the nail-biter of a race unfolding to the south.
“We are watching as everyone is, the processes in the United States unfold… We will continue to have confidence in the American institutions that have managed their own internal processes over many decades and indeed centuries, but we will continue to be alert so we can ensure we’re protecting Canadian interests and Canadian values in regards to our closest trading partner and nearest neighbor,” the prime minister said.
Other than a few Liberal MPs remarking about how thankful they were for Elections Canada and our domestic voting processes, until Friday the government has kept its commentary limited to promising to be prepared for any potential scenarios and saying it was “very carefully” following the electoral outcome as dictated by Americans’ votes. That message was also restated by the prime minister on Friday.
Asked what he will need to see before Canada congratulates a winner in the close race, Trudeau said he will be waiting until the outcome is “sufficiently clear,” emphasizing the importance of not wading into a foreign country’s election.
“I think it is extremely important in electoral processes around the world that they be able to unfold in an appropriate way without foreign interventions or interference with the elections. We always think about the concern about hostile actors interfering or intervening in electoral processes, but even friends can have an influence on public discourse around internal processes that are key to defending democratic institutions. That’s why we’re going to remain very cautious about making any pronouncements,” Trudeau said.