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Cape Breton mayoral candidate calls for end to misogynistic attitudes in politics – The Journal Pioneer

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SYDNEY, N.S. —

CBRM mayoral candidate Amanda McDougall is making no apologies for expressing her opinion on how women are treated in the political arena.

The District 8 councillor, who is pregnant with an expected due date sometime in December, weighed in on the issue this week after Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton went public with her experiences with what she called the “dark side” of politics.

Chisholm-Beaton released an essay in which she wrote about the abuse, both verbal and written, that she has endured since she entered politics four years ago. Her comments have started a conversation that McDougall is only too glad to keep going.

“I think that when you feel uncomfortable about something, when you feel like there is something so personal being used against you, that it’s usually an indication that a conversation has to be had,” said the 37-year-old Main-a-Dieu and Glace Bay resident, who is also helping to raise her partner’s son.

“It does hurt when I hear other candidates using the fact that I am a pregnant woman against me, I feel that is a really low blow that is outside of the etiquette of politics – it’s also quite insulting to be asked questions about whether I will be able to work and be a good mother at the same time.”

McDougall said that while she expected to be questioned on her ability to do the job, she was still surprised by some of the misogynistic attitudes she has encountered since she announced her candidacy for mayor in mid-August.

“It’s disappointing because I am not one who is going to use personal lives or how to use that against them during their campaign,” she said.

“I was also surprised by the number of women who questioned my ability to do this job – I think it might be a generational thing but I am willing to have those conversations.

“If you want to see change in your community, then be that change – I have the skills and ability to do the job and I am a person that is not typically what you would have seen in the past as a mayor but that’s a good thing, it’s a good thing to challenge the status quo.”

Author and Cape Breton University professor emeritus of political science Jim Guy said it is unfortunate that perceptions still abound that women are not as politically competent as men. 

Jim Guy

“There seems to be an embedded kind of chauvinism out there that women have to deal with,” noted Guy.

“But we are at the cusp of a sociological revolution and generally speaking the public accepts the fact that women need to be more in ascendency, but when it comes to pushing for it politically they tend to fall back to the waviness that surrounded this issue for so many years.”

Guy and McDougall agree that change is possible.

“However, you can’t change them all and you can’t change them quickly, but you can certainly challenge the erroneous assumptions that men make about women doing things – and that comes after thousands of years of male dominance,” said Guy.

“So, power to people in her position who take the challenge of dealing with the chauvinism that comes up against them every day.”

McDougall said she’s willing to keep challenges society’s stereotypes and has no regrets for speaking her mind.

“These tough conversations must be had and the more we have them the more we normalize those conversations,” she said, noting that she has been inspired by politicians including former colleague and current MLA Kendra Coombes who gave birth last year while she was a sitting member of CBRM council.

“We’re seeing changes happen not only on our island and in province, but we’re looking at our environment differently, looking at the way businesses are run differently, and we’re looking at the role of community leadership and who we want to see in those positions.”

Nova Scotia’s municipal elections are set for Oct. 17.

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Politics Podcast: How A Supreme Court Vacancy Will Shape The Election – FiveThirtyEight

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In this emergency installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and how the political fight around the new vacancy on the court might unfold.

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.

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John Turner, PM and Liberal leader who battled free trade with U.S., dead at 91 – CBC.ca

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John Turner, Canada’s 17th prime minister who spent decades in federal politics as a cabinet minister and Liberal Party leader during some of the most turbulent moments in modern Canadian history, has died at 91.

Turner led Canada for 79 days in the summer of 1984 — the second-shortest time in office of any prime minister.

Dubbed “Canada’s Kennedy” as a stylish, up-and-coming young MP in the early 1960s, Turner was Pierre Trudeau’s chief anglophone lieutenant in cabinet for years. Turner served as justice minister when the government decriminalized homosexuality and suspended civil liberties during the October Crisis in 1970, and was the finance minister as Ottawa struggled to control deficit spending and inflation during the oil crisis.

After a shock resignation from Trudeau’s government and a period of self-imposed exile on Bay Street, Turner eventually completed his climb to the Liberal leadership in the mid-1980s. But he inherited a party suffering from years of accumulated scandals and an electorate ready for change after more than two decades of nearly unbroken Liberal rule.

In the end, Turner’s most enduring moments in federal politics came once his short stint at 24 Sussex was over — namely, years of bitter battles waged with Brian Mulroney over free trade with the United States. They were fierce fights that Turner eventually lost, but the legacy of those debates continues to shape Canadian politics today.

Early life

Turner was born in the English town of Richmond upon Thames on June 7, 1929. When his father died just three years later, his Canadian-born mother moved the family to Canada, where they eventually settled in Ottawa’s posh Rockcliffe Park neighbourhood, surrounded by members of the country’s ruling political class.

After the Second World War, his mother remarried — to industrialist and future B.C. lieutenant governor Frank Ross — and the family moved west, where Turner attended the University of British Columbia. He became a track star, setting a national record for the 100-yard dash in 1947, and narrowly missed his chance to compete at the 1948 Olympics after smashing his knee in a car accident.

“Chick,” as the popular athlete became known, graduated from UBC in 1949 and received a Rhodes scholarship to study law at Oxford. He was called to the bar in London and started a doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris, but he returned to Canada in 1953 before it was completed, joining the Montreal law firm Stikeman Elliott shortly thereafter.

Meteoric rise

Turner’s first taste of national politics came when C.D. Howe, the storied “Minister of Everything” under Mackenzie King, recruited him in 1957 to help organize a Liberal re-election campaign. 

The young lawyer’s profile swelled within the Liberal ranks as he started speaking at policy conventions, but it truly took off after he made headlines worldwide for dancing with Princess Margaret during a 1958 royal tour of British Columbia. Letters from the princess published in 2015 revealed she “nearly married him,” and it was reported the pair only broke up after Buckingham Palace ordered an end to the relationship. 

Former prime minister John Turner and Princess Margaret made headlines in 1958 during the princess’s visit to Canada. Newly unearthed letters written by Margaret reveal the pair may have ‘nearly married.’ (The Canadian Press)

In 1961, with the Liberals languishing in opposition and eager to recruit young talent, Turner was wooed into running for the party in the 1962 federal election.

The 32-year-old lawyer accepted, winning his Montreal riding and joining a cohort of rookie lawmakers — including Herb Gray and Gerald Regan — that Maclean’s magazine called “probably the brightest group of MPs ever to appear simultaneously in a Canadian Parliament.”

Turner married his wife, Geills McCrae Kilgour, in 1963, at a time when he was quickly rising within the Liberal caucus. By 1965, he had joined Lester Pearson’s cabinet as minister without portfolio, and by 1967 he was minister of consumer and corporate affairs.

When Pearson stepped down as prime minister in 1967, Turner eagerly entered the race to replace him on an anti-establishment platform that pledged to lower the voting age and improve skills training for young Canadians.

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, second from right, and, from left, cabinet ministers Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Jean Chrétien talk in Ottawa in April 1967.

“My time is now and now is no time for mellow men,” Turner told delegates at the 1968 Liberal leadership convention.

Trudeau emerged the victor at that convention, but Turner hung on until the final ballot. The 195 delegates who stuck with him until the bitter end were rumoured to have subsequently formed the “195 Club,” a secretive cadre of well-placed political organizers quietly waiting for his next leadership campaign.

Trudeau heir apparent

The promising Liberal would soon be considered Trudeau’s heir apparent and the natural choice to continue the Liberals’ traditional anglophone-francophone leadership rotation. 

Appointed justice minister in 1968, Turner championed key reforms to Canada’s Criminal Code that opened the door to LGBTQ rights and legal abortions. He also implemented, defended and eventually dismantled the controversial War Measures Act during the FLQ crisis and appointed Canada’s first Jewish Supreme Court justice, Bora Laskin.

Shuffled into the finance portfolio in 1972, Turner faced mounting economic pressures due to the global oil crisis. He also became the government’s main economic interlocutor with the White House, playing tennis with Treasury Secretary George Schultz and frequently ironing out bilateral issues over dinner with President Richard Nixon.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau explains federal proposals to deal with the energy problem as Finance Minister John Turner looks on at the Ottawa conference centre in January 1973. (The Canadian Press)

Successive Turner budgets prioritized low unemployment levels, but at the cost of double-digit inflation and soaring deficits. Still, some Liberals would later defend Turner as a voice of fiscal prudence at the Trudeau cabinet table, implementing the government’s policy in public but privately advocating restraint while other ministers clamoured for ever-bigger budgets.

In time, Turner and Trudeau developed a notorious rivalry, and after 10 years as a senior minister in the Trudeau government, Turner resigned from cabinet in 1975 with a terse, enigmatic letter.

Waiting in the wings

Turner formally vacated his seat in Parliament in 1976 and decamped with his wife and four children to Toronto. On Bay Street, he became a high-paid lawyer at McMillan Binch and joined the boards of some of Canada’s most powerful companies, including Canadian Pacific, Seagram’s and Holt Renfrew.

He remained in Toronto for the ensuing eight years, refusing to give interviews but maintaining a public profile as the Liberal Party’s leader-in-waiting.

Turner would also prove a thorn in the side for many former cabinet colleagues, pumping out corporate newsletters to clients that lambasted the Liberals’ economic policies. While Jean Chrétien, another of Turner’s bitter rivals, dismissed the newsletters as a “gossip column,” opposition MPs eagerly weaponized the missives in Question Period.

WATCH | Turner returns to public life:

After close to a decade of self-imposed exile, Turner the lawyer returns to public life to claim the title of Liberal leader – and prime minister. 5:59

1984 coronation

After Trudeau’s second resignation in 1984, Turner finally won the top Liberal job, becoming leader and prime minister at a convention many saw as a coronation.

But he inherited a party sagging and scarred from too many years in power. Turner’s decision to move ahead with over 200 appointments proposed by Trudeau in his final days as prime minister cemented the party’s image as out of touch and too comfortable in power.

During the ’84 televised election debate, Mulroney eviscerated Turner when the Liberal leader unconvincingly argued he had “no option” but to follow through with the appointments. In one of the most iconic exchanges in modern Canadian politics, Mulroney replied: “You could have said: ‘I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price.'”

WATCH | Behind the scenes at the 1984 Liberal leadership convention:

A behind-the-scenes look at the drama and bitterness behind John Turner’s win at the 1984 Liberal leadership convention. 21:09

In the end, the Liberals suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of the Progressive Conservatives, receiving just 40 of 282 seats — at the time, the party’s worst-ever showing. 

Turner had been prime minister for little more than 11 weeks. Only Charles Tupper held the country’s top job for less time — 68 days in 1896. 

Turner hung on as Liberal leader, however, rebuilding the party and duelling with Mulroney over the Meech Lake Accord and, most memorably, Canada’s trading relationship with the U.S. — a battle he called “the fight of my life.” 

He also weathered the firestorm created by Reign of Error, a searing biography by journalist Greg Weston that portrayed Turner as a heavy-drinking, hypocritical loose cannon. One CBC reporter said it was “written with acid.”

Free trade fight

Fearing the impact Mulroney’s Free Trade Agreement would have on Canadian sovereignty, Turner made the controversial move in 1988 to instruct Liberal senators to block legislation that would have ratified the deal. 

Turner was accused of misusing the powers of the unelected Senate, but told CBC’s Bill Cameron at the time, “I believe if Canadians are given a choice to vote on this trade deal, people will reject it.”

WATCH | Mulroney battles Turner on free trade in 1988:

An invigorated John Turner takes on Brian Mulroney over his controversial free trade deal with the U.S. 4:36

The decision triggered an election dominated by Canada’s trading relationship with the U.S., during which Turner, with the support of Canada’s labour unions and arts community, fiercely fought the future agreement. In another iconic live TV election debate, Turner told Mulroney “You’ve sold us out” with “one signature of a pen,” and argued the deal would “turn us into a colony of the United States.” 

In the end, although the Liberals increased their share of the House of Commons to 83 seats, Canadians returned the PCs to power with a second majority. The FTA was successfully ratified in Parliament, and after surviving an attempted caucus putsch, Turner eventually retired as Liberal leader in 1990.

Retreat from public life

In an exit interview with CBC Radio’s Dale Goldhawk in 1990, Turner said the trade agreement was “a bad contract for Canada,” adding “history will prove me right.”

He also said that he wished he’d done more to create opportunities for education, protect the environment, promote gender equality and “[bring] Aboriginal people back into the mainstream.”

Former prime ministers, right to left, Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Kim Campbell applaud former parliamentarians that were honoured at a plaque unveiling ceremony in the House of Commons in May 1996. (Tom Hanson/The Canadian Press)

Turner retained his seat in the House until 1993, but largely retreated from public life after stepping down as Liberal leader.

In 1994, he was named a companion of the Order of Canada and, in 2004, led the Canadian delegation of election monitors in Ukraine.

After leaving full-time politics, he returned to practising law in Toronto, but remained an outspoken advocate against the centralization of power in Ottawa, the manipulation of House of Commons debates and bills and the diminishing role of parliamentary committees in the legislative process. He also showed a particular interest in speaking about politics with young people.

Turner stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in November 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“Democracy doesn’t happen by accident, you’ve got to work at it,” he told the Globe and Mail in 2009. “At the moment, Canadians are getting a little lazy about it, a little inattentive, and we’ve got to revive it.”

Turner is survived by his wife and four children.

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RBG's Death Is About To Upend Politics Again : Death Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg – NPR

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Mourners gather during a vigil for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a major cultural moment and has potential implications for the next generation of American society.

Just look at the images of people who crowded the Supreme Court’s steps Friday night after news of her death broke.

The Supreme Court hasn’t been this conservative in three-quarters of a century, and if President Trump nominates a replacement for her seat, and he or she is confirmed, it would move the court even further to the right and be difficult for liberals to take control of for a very long time.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is vowing to bring a Trump nominee to the Senate floor for a vote — despite his denial of even a hearing for then-President Barack Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee, with far more time to go until the election.

People lit candles and left flowers and notes on the steps of the court.

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

It’s unclear when that vote would take place — either before the election or during a lame-duck session. And it’s not clear if Republicans would have the votes to pass a nominee. It would almost certainly be close.

It’s also not clear how — or if — this reshapes the calculus in any way for the 2020 election. It could fire up the GOP base, which cares a great deal about the court. And it could fire up Democrats, especially women, to go to the polls for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

But little has moved the needle in this election one way or the other, and those groups were already enthusiastic about voting.

A woman, mourning the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, holds a sign at the Supreme Court that reads, “when there are nine,” something Ginsburg said to describe when there’d be enough women on the court.

Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

So no one really knows how any of this is going to play out except to say that there is going to be some kind of fight over this seat.

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