Canadian Artists Weigh In on Donald Trump: What Alessia Cara, Marianas Trench, Steppenwolf & More Have to Say

Donald Trump in 2016
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the Presidential Debate at Hofstra University on Sept. 26, 2016 in Hempstead, N.Y.

Back in May, Canadian artists The Weeknd and Belly canceled their appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! because Donald Trump was appearing as a guest on the same show.

"I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world -- from religion to race," Belly said in a statement. "I just didn't want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that majority of us don't agree with."

Throughout 2016, Billboard has been asking Canadian artists what they think about his campaign and his platform. Interestingly, although perhaps not surprisingly, no one said they supported Trump or his views.

Here's what everyone from Alessia Cara to Steppenwolf singer John Kay had to say about the Republican presidential candidate.

MARCH, 2016

Sebastian Bach
It’s ridiculous but it’s like—I don’t even know [laughs]. I was not expecting that question, so I have to regroup. I’ve been known to swear onstage. And when I go on stage in front of a packed drunken throng of rock and rollers,  I go, ‘Come on, fuck this, let’s fucking do it,’ but I’m not running for President talking like that. When he gets on stage and says ‘fucking shit and fucker and fuck,’ I’m like, I can’t. This is coming from me! I’m like, are you really serious? I don’t speak like that when I’m sitting around with my mom and my aunt. I can’t. When I was on Broadway playing Jesus, I wasn’t out there saying, ‘We’re going to fuck this place up, man?’ [laughs] There’s a time and a place for everything. I don’t think a guy running for President that says the F-bomb and curses and swears like a sailor has the temperament to be in control of the nuclear bomb. I wouldn’t give it to that guy to say, ‘We’re going to fuck these fuckers up.’ I wouldn’t say, ‘Let’s put him in charge of national security,’ right? [laughs]. I think you need more the even keel temperament for a job like that. And, you know, say what you want about Obama, but watching him leave and then watching the clowns that can replace him is just truly sad. That is a sad situation.”

APRIL, 2016

Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara:
“The election is nutty. I’ve always been a Hillary supporter. I thought the Obama presidency was really inspiring and I got into it once it was happening but I’m all about Hillary.”

Drew McTaggart of Dear Rouge: “It’s crazy. It’s one of those things where it’s very interesting. I have split opinions, though, because some of the stuff he said he shouldn’t be able to do that in his position. If he wants to be President, you just can’t say certain stuff, but on the other hand, he’s being dramatic in a sensationalized culture that is feeding off it. Maybe if he gets the nod for the Republican party, we’ll see him change his speech to win democratic voters. I’m curious and it’s ridiculous.”

Danielle McTaggart of Dear Rouge: “I personally think that’s it’s embarrassing. I feel like I’m getting on the bandwagon with everybody else: this is ridiculous. Drew is more critically thinking in that way; I’m just ‘That guy is a joke.’”

August Rigo
“If Trump becomes President, it’s gonna be …I don’t know what it’s gonna be. It’s going to be really ridiculous.”

Ricky Tillo (Lady Gaga’s guitarist and August Rigo’s production partner)
“No Donald Trump.”

Sleepy Tom
“I don’t think people realize how bad things could get with Trumpkin gets in. Hopefully it’s just a sham altogether and he won’t get the Republic vote but it’s scary. It’s scary to think because we’re their little neighbor up north.”

Tom Wilson
“I can’t stop watching it. I’m not kidding you. And even though I don’t agree with him, even though I don’t really like him, bad behavior sucks us all in.  I’m kind of ashamed that bad behavior has sucked me in, but for the first time in probably 10 years, I can’t take CNN off and I can’t believe I’m even admitting it. I paid attention when it was very exciting and it was very spiritually uplifting to see Obama and his race; when Clinton took out Bush, that was a real win as far as I’m concerned. But this is just a fuckfest, man.”

Don Amero
“If it was up for me, I know I wouldn’t vote for Trump. It’s crazy. It’s a crazy political world right now and it’s even crazier that things are going to get shaken down the way that they are and I hope that Americans make the right decision.”

Scott Helman
“I think Donald Trump’s a horrible person, to be honest with you.  But I think that Bernie Sanders is great… I’m Canadian and I think it’s important for a country to go through its political process but I wouldn’t be scared to endorse Bernie Sanders if I did live in America.”

Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979
“No comment.” 

Kardinal Offishall
“Trump’s running. I think it's the dumbest thing I’ve heard of in mad years and the crazy things that a lot of those people are saying, the fact that they’re saying them but it’s a race and an election that you’re supposed to take seriously. I’m triple glad that I don’t live in America right now.”

Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench
“Remember Back to the Future II, Marty comes back to the 1980s, but it’s been all screwed up by Biff? That is Donald Trump. He’s an alternate reality Biff Tannen from Back to the Future.”

Shawn Hook
“It’s interesting, lot of Americans if Trump gets in, they want to move to Canada. It’s hard to say if there’s a clear-cut winner so I would shy away from political discussions because that would separate a crowd very fast, so we’ll see.”

Matthew Good 
“I don’t really see once the primaries are over and once the RNC holds their convention, if he wins I don’t think he’ll fare well, no matter who wins on the democratic side. But who knows.”

Francesco Yates 
“The circus is the circus, that’s all I have to say.”

Patrick Lehman:  “I am extremely surprised that he’s gotten that far. I’m terrified of what Trump is going to mean for Canada.  I guess I should start working on my building skills because it looks like we’re going to have to build a wall for him. It’s ridiculous. It’s scary.”

Luke Doucet of Whitehorse: It’s hard not to have a really strong reaction to the two and about a reality TV star being a frontrunner. I mean it’s not the first time a TV star has been in that position – obviously with Ronald Reagan – but I think this one is odious on levels that are, thus far, not been paralleled. I just think Donald Trump is dumb and I think there are a lot of dumb people in America who want to support him.”

Melissa McClelland of Whitehorse: “He’s given a lot of people permission to be vocal and brash with their bigotry and I find that really disturbing.”

Paul Brandt  
“He’s not the most decent person that I’ve ever seen and he has some interesting ways of communicating through not being politically correct. I just wish he could do it in a more respectful way.”

Gianni Nicassio of Walk Off the Earth: “I’m obsessed with it. It’s to a point where it’s too unhealthy for me. The Trump thing adds to the whole entertainment value. The guy is genius. He’s a little sick in the head, but he’s also a genius. You can’t deny that.”

Dean Brody 
“It's disaster. I know that Donald Trump has some valid points, but the way that he delivers the points lacks tact. I think to be a world leader you have to have some ability to be respectful, to put it mildly.”

JUNE, 2016

Coleman Hell 
“It’s like a bad dream has become a reality. I saw this viral Vine video on Worldstarhiphop of this guy driving his truck and crashing into a Trump sign and [my song] ‘2 Heads’ is playing in the background while he does it, which is kind of awesome. I was part of something.”

Dan Talevski 
“It seems like a movie. It doesn’t even seem real, the stuff he says. I was on YouTube watching a montage of one-liners and was like, ‘Is this guy for real?’ It’s mind-boggling.”

SonReal: “I’m Canadian. I live in Canada. But I don’t think Trump should be anywhere near being a President. That’s all I can say. I don’t know a lot about politics. I just hope that the best person for America comes forward and becomes President.”

Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench: “He’s like Biff Tannen in Back to the Future. It’s like a ridiculous caricature of a rich person.”

Mike Ayley of Marianas Trench: “When Stephen Hawking says he’s baffled by the popularity of him, that says something to me. That guy’s smart.”

Alx Veliz: “It’s funny, I’m still hoping that when it comes down to the wire, Trump’s gonna come out and say, ‘Ha. I fooled you guys.'"

Ruth B: “It’s crazy. It was entertaining at first. Now it’s a little scary. I watch from afar.”

Alessia Cara:  “All I can say to that is anyone is welcome to come to Canada if they would like [laughs]. So if anyone would like to move to Canada, we have open arms for all of you. Airbnb my place [laughs].”

JULY, 2016

Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent: “Even if he does not win, which I pray to God, or whatever universal creature is out there, that he doesn’t win. Even though there are people that actually believe in him and vibe with him is even more terrifying. Just his rhetoric is scary and it’s dangerous and we are playing with a can of gasoline with matches if he becomes President.”

Max Kerman of Arkells: “Oh man [laughs], we’ve actually filled a lot of time in the van this summer talking about Trump. It’s actually a great way to pass the time because it’s endless fodder. I don’t think I can tell you anything original. There’s enough people out there voicing thoughts on how catastrophic and negative it would be for the whole entire world, but if I’m going to be optimistic about it, I’m hoping that if he were to get elected, he’d just go,  ‘Surprise, just joking about this stuff. I’m actually a liberal’ because in the past he’s been a bit of a liberal like in other lives, like in the 90s. He’s not a true Republican. So I hope he’s just punking the Republican Party. That’s all I can hope for if he gets elected, otherwise we’re pretty fucked.”


John Kay of Steppenwolf: “Well over 40 years, there were numerous schools of thought and articles that warned us of the dumbing of America and during the ensuing 40 years that prophesy unfortunately came to pass, and you have a lot of disgruntled people who have seen changes they are very unhappy about and they feel put upon by the changes because they are feeling that they are losing their country and their white male dominance thing. So when somebody steps up and says he’s inspired by Mussolini and that ‘I can do anything you throw at me better than anyone else.’ ‘I’ll build you a wall’ and all of the rest of it, it will resonate with those who have never bothered to inform themselves and be aware that leadership is not just about making a bunch of grandiose promises, but understanding how the world works these days. When you push the anger and fear button, which Mr. Trump has managed to really do effectively, that’s what you get; you get people who want simple solutions for complex problems because they are unwilling to put the time in to inform themselves, and, as somebody said long ago, ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport.’ So if you’re just going to vote every four years for two different faces that are paraded in front of you on TV, and then say, ‘Well, this guy here kind looks like Uncle Larry and is the kind of guy I could have a beer with....’ I don’t care if I can have a beer with the President; I care about if he’s qualified. So it’s beyond tragic. I am keeping my fingers crossed that some intelligence prevails and enough people turn out and put one of the most qualified persons running for President in a long time — namely Hillary Clinton, with whom I don’t agree on everything, but I haven’t agreed on everything with any President in my lifetime so that’s not unusual. She’s very qualified and she in my opinion is a victim of a propaganda demonization campaign on the part of the extreme right that’s been going on for over 40 years.”

Shaun Frank (artist/producer and co-writer of the Chainsmokers' “Closer”): “I’m on very strong anti-Trump movement right now, mainly because I think he’d be very bad for the world. He’s divided the country and he’s really put gas on the fire to a lot of the crazies down there and then the media blows it up. So the 5 percent of the crazies, now there’s 30 percent of them being more racist and more crazy than ever. It’s just reminiscent of worse times. He keeps talking about how great he wants to make everything and how bad they are now, but it’s almost bad now because he’s bringing all these things to the surface. So much progress has been made; I think Obama has been great for the country. As a Canadian, look at our dollar; look at their dollar. Their economy is actually in pretty good shape; things are good down there and he has everyone believing that everything is horrible and terrible. It drives me nuts. I’ve been around the world. I’ve been to a lot worse places. America is in good shape. I just think he knows how to fire up the crazies. He knows how to win. I think he’ll say anything to win. I think he’s about to lose because I think he’s actually gone too far. He’ll probably just use his fame from this to profit from it in some other way. He’s just the worst.”