Even before this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, commentators claimed that if Ukraine took home the trophy, it would not be for the quality of its folk-rap entry, “Stefania.” Instead, it would be a sign of European support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
Typically, historically, graciously, when a byelection is called to permit a brand new party leader to gain a legislative seat, the opponent parties typically, historically, graciously run candidates with no chance to win.
Typically, historically, graciously, a government comfortable in its skin grants this as part of an unwritten political code because it also believes it has nothing to fear from a new foe in the chamber.
John Horgan’s BC NDP honoured no such nicety in Vancouver Quilchena. It nominated the spouse of Vancouver’s mayor to contest new BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon for yesterday’s byelection in the riding.
Rather than offer a golf gimme or a baseball intentional walk, it was a warning shot on what the former cabinet minister can expect when returns to the legislature – only more viscerally and vigorously.
Quilchena is a Liberal stronghold and the party could have run pretty much anyone and do well. While Jeanette Ashe may be greeted with polite thanks-but-no-thanks at the door, her husband is a west side pariah. Whether she is auditioning for his Forward Together makeshift municipal party, or prepping for another provincial run in a general 2024 election, or just taking one for the team, no one can know. But even as the overwhelming favourite in the byelection, Falcon was wise to be campaign to the end.
Last Monday, it was to honour a long-ago promise to speak to a discussion group at Terminal City Club. As he has experienced in the weeks since winning the party helm, Falcon draws people to see just how much of his vibrant earlier political days are wedded to the wiser recent ones.
Judging how he performed over more than an hour without any scripting and a lot of navigation of audience statements posing as questions, provincial politics are about to get more compelling in Falcon’s presence.
The BC Liberals can benefit from his energy. The public can benefit from its application.
Much as he had competent opponents in the race for the leadership, it’s evident Falcon’s faculties, facilities and familiarities with policy will prove helpful in holding the Horgan team to account. The BC NDP may claim to be licking its chops awaiting his arrival as some sort of Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark dark-days redux, but he will be a handful they’ve never handled.
With the benefit of age and fatherhood, and with a different perspective of the economy through his private-sector executive years, his directness is no longer ultra-brash.
“It does change you,” he says. “My principles haven’t changed, but my values have.” He is more attuned to the environment, more attentive to those who haven’t benefited from the economy, more assertive on the pandemic’s effect on mental health and on the system that contends with its impact.
In his case, it also means levelling with British Columbians – including his chosen Vancouver riding of plentiful single-family homes – about the need for a larger supply of housing to meet the next generation’s needs. It’s a difficult sell, but “when I explain it is a way for their children and grandchildren to live in the city they grew up in, they get it.”
If you’re wondering, he’s proud of how the BC Liberals governed but not exactly an earlier-era apologist. “Were we perfect in government? Of course not,” he tells the room.
If you’re also wondering if his return to politics is personal, he’s not biting. “It’s not that they’re bad people, it’s just that they don’t know what they’re doing.”
He will say he left politics to be present for his children and returned out of concerns about their future. He argues that “on every metric,” whether it’s housing, health care, child care, the opioid crisis, mental health, economic investment and growth, “they have failed to deliver, failed to get results, been an abysmal failure” and that their sub-competence will be more evident under his leadership. To do that, of course, he needs to win Saturday.
It’s a tall task facing him in today’s tentative pandemic reset with a government and leader still popular, but there is time. He doesn’t think Horgan will be his opponent in 2024, but he looks forward to their parrying in the days ahead. What won’t be fun, he says, “is cleaning up 10 years of their government.”
Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.
Politics Podcast: Who Will Win The GOP’s Senate Primary In Pennsylvania? – FiveThirtyEight
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon are holding primary elections on Tuesday. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses the the most anticipated contests — the Keystone State’s Republican Senate and gubernatorial races — and previews other races we’re watching, including the Republican gubernatorial primary in Idaho, where the lieutenant governor is challenging the sitting governor for the GOP nomination, and the Republican primary for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, where Rep. Madison Cawthorn is facing seven challengers from his own party after revelations of numerous scandals.
The team also looks at FiveThirtyEight’s latest collaboration with Ipsos, in which Americans are asked about the issues they care about the most in the run-up to the midterms. The first poll is all about inflation.
You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.
The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.
'Replacement' conspiracies driving gunmen creep into mainstream politics – CNN
(CNN)Critics are drawing parallels between the pattern of racist gunmen citing fears of a conspiracy to “replace” Whites with rhetoric pushed on Fox and by some Republican politicians.
- The Buffalo shooting and the victims: 10 people were killed at a supermarket and authorities say it was hate crime. The gunman exchanged fire with and killed an armed security guard.
- The shooter: The suspect is 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who traveled from another New York county hours away and livestreamed the attack on the social media platform Twitch.
Ukraine won the 2022 Eurovision because of politics – The Washington Post
The Eurovision Song Contest allows countries to enter songs — but also to vote for the songs entered by other countries (each country nominates a jury of representatives to vote on its behalf). Several country representatives didn’t exactly try to hide their sympathy for the Ukrainian cause. When Poland’s representatives were asked for their jury vote, they mentioned “artistic creativity” — but also the bravery of Ukrainian fighters.
And it’s true: Ukraine’s victory on Saturday was political. This doesn’t make it unusual. Eurovision has always been about politics, even if the European Broadcasting Union (the organization that runs Eurovision) sometimes claims the opposite.
Past Eurovision songs have taken aim at Russia
In the past, Russia’s neighbors have weaponized Eurovision songs to retaliate against Russian actions. In 2007, Ukraine submitted a song called “Dancing Lasha Tumbai.” In Ukrainian, the pronunciation sounds very much like “Russia Goodbye.” After Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, that country tried the same trick with a song called “We Don’t Wanna Put In” — coincidentally pronounced in the song like “we don’t want a Putin.” It didn’t work; the entry was promptly disqualified. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukraine’s entry was a song about the Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars. The song, entitled “1944,” also won the contest.
An analysis of voting patterns demonstrates that Russia, too, has engaged in Eurovision politics. Since Russia first entered the contest in 1994, its entry has frequently finished in the top five. Is that due to the quality of its entrants? Maybe, but many watchers also have noted how Russia almost always collects “douze points” (12 points: the maximum) from Belarus and other allies. This year, Russia was banned from participating.
Not all of the politics is about Russia’s actions
So, would Eurovision be apolitical if Russia’s ban from the contest became permanent? Hardly. While many of the recent political scandals have involved Russia, it’s not the only country that sparks controversy.
Israel’s participation in Eurovision means that many Arab countries do not participate, even though Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan are all eligible. Morocco’s first and only appearance in the contest was in a year Israel did not participate. In 2005, Lebanon withdrew rather than broadcast the Israeli entry.
Nor have Western European nations avoided politics. 1974’s Eurovision might be best known for introducing the world to ABBA. The Portuguese entry was more politically consequential: It served as a signal for coup plotters to begin the overthrow of Portugal’s authoritarian regime. Nor was that all; Italy censored its own entry that year, for fear that listening to “Sì” too many times would influence voters to vote “sì” (yes) in a referendum the next month to make divorce legal.
Eurovision has been political from the start
None of this is entirely surprising. Eurovision — and the European Broadcasting Union — was founded in the aftermath of World War II. The aim was to promote European cooperation. If it gave European nations a way to compete without guns and bombs, that was all to the good. There are worse ways for nations to vie for supremacy than with song and dance.
Given these foundations, it is safe to say that “Stefania” is not undermining any proud vision of political neutrality in Eurovision. It is very likely that Ukraine did win because of the Russian invasion — but it will be neither the first nor the last time that Eurovision expresses politics through the medium of a song contest. The solidarity that other European countries have expressed with Ukraine, and their implicit condemnation of Russia’s invasion, is not out of keeping with the contest’s political beginnings.
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