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Canada taps David Johnston as interference rapporteur. Who is he, and what will he do?

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David Johnston will take up the post as Ottawa’s “special rapporteur” to investigate allegations of foreign interference in Canadian elections and society.

Johnston, who served as the nation’s governor general from 2010 to 2017, was named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday as the prominent Canadian who will probe the interference issue and make recommendations to the federal government on how to handle it.

The Liberal government has been under immense pressure to explain what it knew about foreign interference in the 2021 election after the Globe and Mail reported last month that intelligence sources said China attempted to interfere in that campaign to help the Liberals win another minority government.

That report came after months of revelations from Global News about allegations of Chinese interference in the 2019 election.

Trudeau recently announced a slew of investigations into the matter, but the creation of the special rapporteur position was billed by the government as a key measure.

Now that Canadians know who the government’s rapporteur will be, here’s a look at Johnston’s background and the work he’s expected to do.

 

Who is David Johnston?

Johnston, 81, was named as governor general by then-Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper in 2010, and his term was extended when Trudeau was elected in 2015.

He left Rideau Hall in 2017 and currently serves as the Leaders’ Debates Commissioner, which arranges debates during Canada’s federal elections. He will step down from that position to take on the rapporteur role, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Prior to his role as governor general, Johnston was a professor of constitutional law for 45 years and is a highly respected Canadian legal scholar. He has also chaired or served on many provincial and federal task forces and committees, and has served on the boards of more than a dozen public companies, the PMO said.

In 2007, Harper named Johnston as a special advisor charged with drafting the terms of reference for a public inquiry into the Airbus affair, which became the Oliphant Commission.

He’s also an author, with 25 published books and a new one looking at the role of empathy in Canadian society released in January 2023.

Johnston is also a member of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, according to the organization’s website. The charity recently made headlines after it returned a $200,000 donation it received seven years ago following a Globe and Mail report alleging a potential connection to Beijing.

The foundation funds awards and fellowships for doctoral research in the social sciences and humanities. Other members of the foundation include Trudeau’s brother, Alexandre Trudeau, along with prominent current and former leaders from financial institutions, top universities, a former Saskatchewan premier, constitutional experts, lawyers and writers. Its board of directors includes the former lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, a former mayor of Iqaluit, and leaders from prominent Canadian universities and firms.

It is funded mainly through a $125-million endowment received from the federal government in 2002 and like all registered charities in Canada, is prohibited by law from engaging in any political activity, including funding any entity — parties, candidates, nominees, riding associations – registered with Elections Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has had no involvement with the foundation, set up in his late father’s memory, since 2013.

 

What will he do as special rapporteur on foreign interference?

According to the PMO, Johnston will have a “wide mandate” to investigate foreign interference in the last two federal elections, and will make recommendations “on how to further protect our democracy and uphold Canadians’ confidence in it.”

Whether an inquiry should be called, or if a different kind of independent process like a judicial review is more appropriate, will be one of the questions Johnston will have to decide.

Opposition leaders and outside experts have been calling for the federal government to launch a public inquiry into the matter. Instead of calling one, Trudeau tasked the special rapporteur with the responsibility to recommend one or not.

The PMO said the federal government will “will comply with and implement his public recommendations, which could include a formal inquiry, a judicial review, or another independent review process.”

His mandate will be finalized in the coming days, it added.

Trudeau has also tasked the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians with probing foreign interference in the last two elections, as well as other ongoing processes.

In addition to those measures, Johnston will “identify any remaining gaps or areas requiring further attention to protect the integrity of Canada’s democracy,” the PMO said.

How long will his work take?

It’s unclear how long Johnston will serve in the role, but the federal government has been under pressure to act quickly.

Meanwhile, political reaction to Johnston’s naming has been pouring in.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has previously scoffed at the idea of a special rapporteur, saying it sounds like a “fake job,” and doubled down on the need for a public inquiry in the name of transparency.

In a statement Thursday, Poilievre said Trudeau must “end his cover up,” and criticized the prime minister for tapping another Trudeau Foundation member.

Despite Johnston being named as governor general under a Conservative prime minister, Poilievre’s tweet echoes opposition attacks on the government’s appointment of Morris Rosenberg, a former senior public servant and CEO of the Trudeau Foundation, to author a report into foreign interference in the 2021 election.

Has released last month, and he determined that there was no foreign interference that “threatened Canada’s ability to have a free and fair election” in 2021, while noting there was foreign interference that did not meet the threshold of alerting the public.

The PMO stated Johnston’s naming to the role followed “consultations” with all parties in the House of Commons.

On Thursday Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Johnston is “close” to Trudeau, and called the idea a “superfluous” waste of time, since opposition parties will still demand a public inquiry.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on Thursday that Johnston is someone of “integrity,” and called his appointment a “positive step.”

However, he said he wants to ensure Johnston’s mandate is broad enough.

“I do want to make clear that I want to make sure that that Mr. Johnston has a broad enough mandate to answer the fundamental questions that Canadians have: What did the Prime Minister know, when did he know it and what did he do about it when it comes to foreign interference?” he said.

“I still believe that Mr. Johnston has to launch a public inquiry to have that public and independent response that provides Canadians with confidence in our electoral system.”

Meanwhile, Trudeau said in a statement Wednesday that Johnston “brings integrity and a wealth of experience and skills” to the role.

“I am confident that he will conduct an impartial review to ensure all necessary steps are being taken to keep our democracy safe and uphold and strengthen confidence in it,” he said.

— with files from Global News’ Sean Boynton

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Show Employers You Can Hit the Ground Running

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Employers are increasingly stating: “We want someone who can hit the ground running.”

Essentially, the message is, “Don’t expect us to explain the basics. We expect you to know your sh*t.” Employers understand you’ll need time to learn their business, applications, software, infrastructure, etc. However, they expect that you’re proficient in Microsoft Office Suite software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), understand file management (creating, saving, and organizing files), and know how to troubleshoot common computer problems, and won’t be learning these basic computer skills as part of your learning curve on their dime.

Employers aren’t in the business of training people. You’re responsible for your career; therefore, you’re responsible for acquiring the skillset you need.

For an employee’s compensation to be justified, an ROI (return on investment) is required. When referring to employment, ROI refers to the value an employee brings to the company relative to their compensation. Employers pay their employees, and employees work for their wages. Employee work value is created when their work directly or indirectly results in profitably selling the company’s goods and services. Your best chance of job security (no guarantee) is to be an employee who undeniably contributes measurable value to your employer’s profitability.

(Employee’s measurable value to the company) – (Employer’s investment in compensation) = (ROI)

Understandably, employers are looking for candidates who can make an immediate impact, individuals who can jump right in, learn and adapt quickly, and start delivering results as soon as possible. Hence, you want to distinguish yourself as being capable and willing to “hit the ground running.”

Here are some tips to help you present yourself as a fast-starting, high-potential hire:

Emphasize relevant experience

Presenting irrelevant information will be perceived as lacking the ability to communicate succinctly, a highly valued skill in the business world. Only share experiences and quantified results (key), results that are pertinent to the position you’re applying for.

When crafting your resume and cover letter, identify the skills, knowledge, and previous responsibilities/quantified results that align with the job you’re aiming for. By demonstrating that you’ve “been there, done that” and brought measurable value to previous employers in a similar scenario, employers will feel confident that you can immediately deliver value.

Showcase transferable skills

Consider the universal soft skills that employers universally value.

  • Analytical
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Problem-solving
  • Project management
  • Time management

Tell STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) stories—describing a specific situation, the task you were assigned, the actions you took, and the results of your actions—that showcase your soft skills and explain how you can leverage them to succeed in the role you’re applying for. This’ll assure your interviewer you have the fundamental skills to achieve successful outcomes.

“While working at Norback, Jenkins, & St. Clair, I led a team of five architects to redesign a historic downtown Winnipeg landmark according to strict deadlines and complex stakeholder demands. I conducted Monday morning team meetings and used Slack to provide tailored updates to keep the team aligned. As a result of my communication skills, the project was completed on time and under the $7.5 million dollars budget.”

Discuss onboarding insights

A great way to position yourself as someone eager to hit the ground running is to show that you’ve considered what it’ll take to start delivering value.

“Based on my understanding of the typical onboarding timeline for this type of position, I anticipate completing all training and ramp-up activities within my first two weeks, enabling me to begin tackling projects by my first quarter.”

Assuming you’ve researched the company and studied current industry trends, which you should have done, mention the extra steps you’ve taken to prepare for the role. This’ll show your willingness to learn and will require minimal handholding.

Emphasize quick adaptability

Employers value the ability to adapt quickly to new situations and challenges. During your interviews, share examples of your flexibility and agility.

At some point in your career, you’ve likely had to learn something new (e.g., software, operating system) on the fly. Also likely, you’ve had to navigate a major change or disruption. Using STAR stories, explain how you approached these scenarios, your strategies, and the positive outcomes.

By showing resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability, you demonstrate that you can thrive in ambiguous or rapidly evolving environments.

Propose a transition plan.

Presenting a transition plan is a strategy that wows employers, primarily because it is rare for a candidate to do this. This shows you’re ready to take ownership of your onboarding and deliver results.

Include specifics like:

  • Milestones you aim to accomplish in your first 30, 60, and 90 days.
  • Training activities or learning opportunities you’ll pursue.
  • Initial projects or tasks you’d tackle to demonstrate your capabilities.
  • Ways you’ll quickly build relationships with your new colleagues.

Showing this level of forethought and initiative shows you’re a strategic thinker, able to organize your thoughts, and, most importantly, eager to get started.

By touting your relevant experience, showcasing your transferable skills, discussing your onboarding insights, emphasizing your quick adaptability, and proposing a detailed transition plan, you’ll position yourself as a self-driven professional capable of driving results from the start, differentiating you from your competition.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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Karen Read back in court after murder case of Boston police officer boyfriend ended in mistrial

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BOSTON (AP) — Karen Read returns to court Monday for the first time since her murder case involving her Boston police officer boyfriend ended in a mistrial.

Read is accused of ramming into John O’Keefe with her SUV and leaving him for dead in a snowstorm in January 2022. Her two-month trial ended when jurors declared they were hopelessly deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial on the fifth day of deliberations.

Jury deliberations during the trial are among the issues likely to be addressed.

In several motions, the defense contends four jurors have said the jury unanimously reached a not-guilty verdict on those two charges. The jurors reported being deadlocked only on the charge of manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and trying her again for murder would be unconstitutional double jeopardy, they said.

The defense also argues Judge Beverly Cannone abruptly announced the mistrial without questioning the jurors about where they stood on each of the three charges Read faced and without giving lawyers for either side a chance to comment.

Prosecutors described the defense request to drop charges of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of a deadly accident an “unsubstantiated but sensational post-trial claim” based on “hearsay, conjecture and legally inappropriate reliance as to the substance of jury deliberations.”

As they push against a retrial, the defense also wants the judge to hold a “post-verdict inquiry” and question all 12 jurors if necessary to establish the record they say should have been created before the mistrial was declared, showing jurors “unanimously acquitted the defendant of two of the three charges against her.”

After the mistrial, Cannone ordered the names of the jurors to not be released for 10 days. She extended that order indefinitely Thursday after one of the jurors filed a motion saying they feared for their own and their family’s safety if the names are made public. The order does not preclude a juror from coming forward and identifying themselves, but so far none have done so.

Prosecutors argued the defense was given a chance to respond and, after one note from the jury indicating it was deadlocked, told the court there had been sufficient time and advocated for the jury to be declared deadlocked. Prosecutors wanted deliberations to continue, which they did before a mistrial was declared the following day.

“Contrary to the representation made in the defendant’s motion and supporting affidavits, the defendant advocated for and consented to a mistrial, as she had adequate opportunities to object and instead remained silent which removes any double jeopardy bar to retrial,” prosecutors wrote in their motion.

Read, a former adjunct professor at Bentley College, had been out drinking with O’Keefe, a 16-year member of the Boston police who was found outside the Canton home of another Boston police officer. An autopsy found O’Keefe died of hypothermia and blunt force trauma.

The defense contended O’Keefe was killed inside the home after Read dropped him off and that those involved chose to frame her because she was a “convenient outsider.”

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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From Mansion to Moat: Drake’s Million Dollar Home Gets Soaked

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Toronto residents woke up to a soggy Wednesday morning after the city was pummeled by record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday. The downpour caused widespread flooding across the city, and even the opulent mansion of rap superstar Drake wasn’t spared.

 

Drake’s “Embassy” Flooded

Drake shared a video on his Instagram story showing the extent of the water damage at his Toronto mansion, nicknamed “The Embassy.” The sprawling 50,000-square-foot estate boasts an NBA-regulation basketball court and an art-deco theme, but on Tuesday, it was battling ankle-deep murky water flooding its halls.

The video shows Drake himself, clad in shorts and holding a broom, wading through the water. Someone else can be seen desperately trying to hold a large glass door shut as water surges in, presumably from a flooded patio or balcony.  Drake captioned the video with a touch of humor: “This better be espresso martini.”

The extent of the damage to the mansion remains unclear at this time.

 

Historic Rainfall Causes Citywide Flooding

The flooding at Drake’s mansion was just one symptom of the unprecedented rainfall that lashed Toronto on Tuesday. The city saw over 100 millimeters of rain in a single day, easily surpassing the average rainfall for the entire month of July (71.6 mm). This deluge makes it the fifth-wettest day ever recorded in Toronto’s history.

The heavy downpour overwhelmed the city’s drainage systems, leading to widespread flooding across neighborhoods. Emergency services were inundated with over 700 calls reporting flooded basements.  A major artery, the Don Valley Parkway, became an impassable waterway, with cars submerged almost entirely and some drivers forced to wait for rescue on the roofs of their vehicles.

 

Toronto Cleans Up After the Storm

As of Wednesday morning, the city is in cleanup mode.  Emergency crews are working to clear debris and assess the damage caused by the floods.  The extent of the financial losses incurred by homeowners and businesses is still being determined.

While Drake’s mansion may have gotten an unwelcome soaking, the true story of this weather event lies in the impact it had on ordinary citizens across Toronto. The city is now focused on recovery efforts and ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents.

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