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Brown campaign says if not him, then pick Charest — but will his supporters listen?

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OTTAWA — The national co-chair of Patrick Brown’s leadership campaign is the latest member of his team to throw support behind Jean Charest as the best alternative to lead the federal Conservatives.

But whether Brown’s supporters — many of whom appear new to the party — choose to follow suit isn’t necessarily that simple.

“It’s all going to come down to how much work (Brown) and his organizers want to continue to put in this race,” said political strategist Chris Chapin, who previously worked as digital communications adviser in Brown’s office when he was Official Opposition leader in Ontario.

On Tuesday, Charest’s team circulated a statement from former MP John Reynolds, who served as co-chair on Brown’s campaign. He said the ex-Quebec premier was the best choice to unite the party at a time when its divisions within caucus and the broader movement were on full display.

“We have had too much negative publicity lately, so we need to offer Canadians a positive, unified and inclusive Conservative party with a new, time-tested leader,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds didn’t mention Brown by name or the disqualified candidate’s efforts to appeal his ousting from the contest.

But since Brown’s sudden dismissal one week ago, the situation has consumed the attention of the party’s top brass, along with many members and some organizers on other campaigns.

The chair of the committee that ultimately voted in favour of kicking Brown out of the race said it did so on a recommendation from the party’s chief returning officer, based on an allegation that Brown may have violated federal election laws.

A longtime organizer has since come forward as the one who made the allegation, saying Brown was involved in an arrangement that saw a private corporation pay for her work on the campaign.

Since his disqualification, Brown has stated his team did nothing wrong and accused the party of refusing to provide the full details of the incident when first asked to provide an explanation. He has also hired high-profile lawyer Marie Henein to seek an appeal.

But unless Brown is reinstated, what happens to the supporters he signed up as new party members is one of the major outstanding questions in the race.

His campaign said it sold 150,000 memberships, although party headquarters hasn’t validated that figure or any others publicized by the five remaining campaigns.

By comparison, longtime MP Pierre Poilievre has said he sold a whopping 312,000 memberships.

Brown’s name will still appear on the final ballot, which the party will use to pick a leader by asking members to rank the candidates from their first to last choice.

That means supporters could still pick Brown as their top choice — either intentionally or by mistake — and so the party is finalizing a plan to share with members about what will happen to votes that may go his way.

Speaking about a municipal issue at a news conference Tuesday in Brampton, Ont., where he has yet to publicly disclose if he plans to seek a second term as mayor, Brown swatted away questions about his federal campaign, saying the issue now rests with his legal counsel.

Brown’s strategy in the race had been trying to recruit droves of new members to the party, rather than trying to court favour with existing ones — who, he mused, were more likely to back Poilievre and his populist messages.

He aimed to sign up thousands from the country’s immigrant and newcomer communities by promising to build a more inclusive party. He pitched himself as an ally on specific issues of interest to them, from improving cricket infrastructure to reforming the immigration system.

Because of that strategy, how much of Brown’s vote goes to Charest will depend on whether Brown and his campaign team remain involved in persuading supporters to switch their allegiance to the former Quebec premier, said Chapin.

“These members signed up for Patrick,” he said.

Because Brown ran a campaign that often appeared “at odds” with the party’s position on certain issues — delisting the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist entity in Canada, for example — Chapin said it’s going to be difficult to cajole supporters to back a different candidate who didn’t make such pledges.

“It’s a big leap of faith that you’re asking members to jump to.”

Brown spoke on a call Monday evening to supporters, many of whom a spokesman said were “ground troops” in the campaign to elect him as the replacement for former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole. Some on the call said many expressed disappointment about his disqualification and anger at the party.

“There was overwhelming support for Charest among the Brown supporters on the call,” Chisholm Pothier said Tuesday.

He said Brown “spoke very highly of Charest,” his former political mentor, and “the people associated with our campaign feel Charest is the best option if Patrick is not reinstated.”

Pothier, however, stopped short of calling Brown’s message an official endorsement.

Party spokesman Yaroslav Baran said as of Tuesday, more than 280,000 ballots had been delivered, with another large batch scheduled to be dropped in the mail by the end of the week.

Although headquarters hasn’t confirmed specific membership sales from each campaign, it has recorded a voting base of more than 670,000 members, more than double what it had for the 2020 leadership race.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2022.

 

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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Opinion: Iowans want health care focused on patients, not politics, and Democrats are delivering – Des Moines Register

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President Joe Biden’s health care proposals have received widespread support from voters across the political spectrum.

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Joe Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act to tackle climate, health care

The legislation signed by President Biden aims to address climate change, lower prescription drug costs and provide health care subsidies.

Anthony Jackson, USA TODAY

  • Matt Sinovic is the executive director of Progress Iowa, a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization.

No matter where we live or the color of our skin, we all deserve to get the care we need without going broke. Luckily, President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have delivered on their promise to lower costs and improve health care for American families. Along with making key investments in climate and energy, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 drives down prescription drug prices by giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices, institutes a cap on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and protects Americans against outrageous and arbitrary price increases. The legislation also includes measures that will lower health care premiums for millions by extending Affordable Care Act financial assistance for three years. 

This bill is testament to the Democrats’ unwavering commitment to ensuring health care is affordable, accessible, and equitable for every American. While Biden and Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to lower health care costs for people like me and other Iowans, Republicans like Sen. Chuck Grassley are continuing their attacks on health care, putting their own political interests over the health and financial well-being of their own constituents. 

Every single Republican in Congress opposed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. By voting against the bill, Republicans voted to raise health care costs for working families and maintain Big Pharma’s broken system. Even worse, Grassley and Sen. Joni Ernst helped block a critical provision that would cap insulin costs at $35 per month for millions of diabetics with insurance. As many as one in four of the 7.5 million Americans dependent on insulin are skipping or skimping on doses, which can lead to death. As voters across the political spectrum have demanded action to rein in drug prices, Republicans have opposed any meaningful reform. 

Another View: Opinion: Democrats’ big government law will hurt Iowa’s families and small businesses

Instead of offering solutions to curb inflation or lower people’s cost of living, Republicans have laid out a radical, corporate plan that would raise costs, threaten Medicare coverage for millions, and rip protections from people with existing conditions. Republicans are still fighting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to make premiums more expensive for middle-class families. 

The Republican war on health care doesn’t stop there — Republicans have worked to undermine access to care for women, seniors, and people with disabilities. Republicans, especially those aligned with former President Donald Trump, have attacked abortion rights and opposed legislation to end the maternal mortality crisis. They voted against capping drug costs and extending hearing benefits for seniors. Republicans in Congress also continue to fight closing the coverage gap in 12 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion, which has left more than 2 million vulnerable Americans uninsured. Failure to support these policies disproportionately harm people of color, who face increased barriers to accessing care and worse health outcomes. 

By fighting efforts to lower health care costs, Republicans are turning their back on the American people. It isn’t surprising that Biden’s health care proposals have received widespread support from voters across the political spectrum. However, if it were up to Republicans, health care costs would skyrocket, the rich would become richer and millions of Americans would be thrown off their coverage with nowhere to turn. 

The contrast is clear: Between fighting to lower health care costs and expanding affordable coverage to working families in Iowa, Democrats are working tirelessly to lower everyday costs for all Americans. Meanwhile, Republicans unanimously oppose legislation to lower health care costs, expand affordable coverage, and give families more breathing room to pay for other essentials like food, child care, and rent. 

Some things never change: Republicans want to raise health costs, ditch critical protections, and put profits over patients.

Matt Sinovic is the executive director of Progress Iowa, a multi-issue progressive advocacy organization. Year-round, Progress Iowa promotes progressive ideas and causes with creative earned media strategies, targeted email campaigns, and cutting-edge new media.

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Mintoff seeks return to politics, running to be Tiny mayor – MidlandToday

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A former Tiny Township councillor, who abruptly resigned in September of 2021, has decided to jump back into the political arena and is seeking to become the municipality’s mayor.

“I truly believe that Tiny’s at a crossroads right now,” said Tony Mintoff. “I think that there has been a need for strong, decisive leadership and a steady hand at the helm, and I think I can offer that to the residents.”

Mintoff has entered as a candidate for mayor of Tiny in the Oct. 24 municipal election. (Recently, David Evans also announced a candidacy for the mayor’s seat next term.)

“I think the elephant in the room is that I resigned my position (as councillor) this current term, this past year. A number of people have some concern about that, and I understand that,” said Mintoff.

Despite plans of a relaxing retirement, the 71-year-old Tiny resident chose to enter the mayoral race after seeing the experience others were offering to bring to the role.

“I’m really concerned, to be quite frank, that we could very well elect both a mayor and deputy mayor that have absolutely no municipal experience or political experience,” Mintoff explained.

“Having gone through the learning curve of just being a councillor who got on with a number of other members of council who had experience, I found it to be a pretty steep and difficult learning curve,” he explained.

“I think, given the fact that the mayor and also the deputy mayor would be not only trying to manage and steer Tiny but also to participate at the county council as well is a pretty tough act if you have no experience or background at all.”

With this intention, Mintoff simultaneously declared a joint candidacy with fellow resident Steve Saltsman as a candidate for deputy mayor.

“You’ll see our campaign signs showing up pretty soon, and you’ll see that our signs have two names on them, not one. We are running as a tandem,” Mintoff said.

As for the mayoral candidacy, Mintoff has more than 40 years of municipal and provincial experience with roles as a Toronto firefighter, fire chief, and throughout six years as an assistant deputy fire marshal for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. He served on Tiny council for 10 years leading up to his resignation.

His reasons for leaving as councillor were multi-faceted involving several concerns, some of which included the municipal handling of short-term rentals, aggregate operations at French’s Hill near Wyebridge and the threat to clean water in the township, and contentious beach ownership along the township’s shores of Georgian Bay.

These issues are on Mintoff’s campaign list to address, along with affordable housing and the potential opportunities the Huronia Airport can provide.

“We’re just on the cusp of that now,” said Mintoff. “There’s a huge opportunity there to develop some of that property to create aerospace-type jobs, or even unrelated jobs, that would be higher-end scale and that would employ skilled workers.

“I think creating jobs for people is just as important as creating houses for them. If you create the jobs around here, then, hopefully, they’re going to want to live around here. They’re hand in hand.”

Tiny council chambers remains physically closed to members of the public, although meetings are livestreamed and archived for residents to participate through phone or by virtual means. However, Mintoff feels more could be done.

“We really need to do a better job to engage the residents, to give them the sense that in a democratic society they have access to their elected representatives in a meaningful way, not just through Zoom,” he said.

“I think what we need to do is open the council chambers. The province has been open for months. There is no legitimate reason for the council chambers to be closed still. People know that. They’re very offended by it; they’re angry about it.”

He added, “People are starting to become apathetic, which is probably one of the worst ways to undermine our system.”

Information on the Tiny municipal election can be found on the Tiny Township website.

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The politics of climate change | TheRecord.com – Waterloo Region Record

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In her brilliant 2019 article “The challenging politics of climate change,” Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Brookings Institution, explores how “the lack of intensity around (climate change) is simultaneously incomprehensible and totally understandable.”

She offers four explanations: “complexity; jurisdiction and accountability; collective action and trust; and imagination.”

Our climate crisis is a political hot potato because it is complex and voters don’t like complexity. As well, it isn’t obvious how our actions impact the climate — for good or bad. We can’t see greenhouse gas emissions the way we can see water pollution from a chemical plant, or toxic smoke pouring out of a smokestack.

Kamarck says climate change and cybersecurity are “two of the stickiest problems of the 21st century … because it’s so difficult to nail down jurisdiction.” Who is responsible for what? Where does the buck stop? And do we trust our government and politicians to do the right thing?

A half-credit of Civics in high school is not enough for most of us to untangle the Gordian knot of responsibilities in the multiple levels of government impacting our lives.

The politics of climate change is about government action, or the lack of it, but it’s also about navigating the strategies we use to tackle the issue. Since we politicized climate change in the 1970s, our response has been highly divisive. This has to change because everyone is affected and a vigorous and collaborative political response is essential.

Despite the sound science, we still have climate deniers and liars, who come in many forms. The Guardian’s environment editor, Damian Carrington, categorizes them as “the shill, the grifter, the egomaniac and the ideological fool.”

In a Scientific American interview, climate scientist Michael Mann, famous for his hockey stick graph showing the exponential growth in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from human activity, said that climate deniers have been replaced by inactivists. The deep pockets from the fossil fuel industry are now funding “legislative efforts blocking clean-energy policies” through “deflection, delay, division, despair mongering, doomism.”

Both the oil and tobacco industries share the same devious strategy to shift the blame and responsibility from the corporation to the individual. In 2005, British Petroleum created a marketing campaign for people to calculate their personal carbon footprints. There is no question that we each bear responsibility for our own actions to live sustainably, but who is holding corporations to account?

For the past 10 years, Ottawa-based Gerald Kutney has taken on the climate denialists, bots and trolls to clean up the Twitter-verse. His goal is to stop the propaganda and lies being repeated by the “denial-saurs” from becoming the truth.

Kutney picked Twitter because it’s “the best, ongoing teaching ground about climate denialism in the world, day in and day out.” To counter the piling on from followers of the biggest climate deniers, Kutney introduced #climatebrawl. Just like the bat signal in Batman’s Gotham City, the hashtag alerts an international support system prepared to do battle, armed with the truth about our climate crisis.

We have to trust the evidence-based solutions from our best climate scientists and not the ramblings and rants of disbelievers. Denial-saurs, like most of the contenders for the Canadian Conservative party leadership, are treating our future like a political football.

Kutney’s best advice is “Vote. Just vote,” and hold our elected officials to effective climate-action plans. We cannot afford to be silent in our winner-take-all electoral systems unless we want to be governed by the choices of a minority of climate denialists.

This goes for municipal politics as well. There will be many new faces on councils after this fall’s municipal elections. Our future depends on their commitment to climate action.

Susan Koswan is a freelance contributing columnist for The Record, based in Waterloo Region. Follow her on Twitter: @SKoswan

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