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Die Linke and Québec Solidaire Want to Rebuild Class Politics – Jacobin magazine

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Die Linke and Québec Solidaire Want to Rebuild Class Politics

Die Linke’s Stefan Liebich recently met with members of Québec solidaire to talk politics. Bringing together vantage points from both sides of the Atlantic, the discussion covered political strategy, regional differences, and tactics for future left victories.

Three hundred thousand march in the streets of Quebec, 2012. (Brian Lapuz / Flickr)

Contributors
Alejandra Zaga Mendez (AZM)
André Frappier (AF)
Stefan Liebich (SL)

In the middle of February, longtime Die Linke member Stefan Liebich met with Québec solidaire’s president, Alejandra Zaga Mendez, and former leadership member André Frappier.

In the early aughts, Québec solidaire (QS) emerged from the ashes of Union des forces progressistes — a broad coalition party comprised of socialists, communists, and social democrats — and the alter-globalization organization Option citoyenne. In the relatively short life of the party, QS’s uncompromising let-wing platform has yielded strong results. In 2019, they were recognized as the second opposition party in Quebec’s National Assembly.

Die Linke, the descendant of East Germany’s ruling Socialist Unity Party, is Germany’s democratic socialist party. It is a founding member of the Party of the European Left, an association of socialist, communist, and red-green parties across Europe. Die Linke is also affiliated with the transnational policy and educational group the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

In a wide-ranging discussion that covered Quebec’s independence movement, anti-racist politics, social housing, and the task of engaging grassroots networks, Liebich, Zaga Mendez, and Frappier talked through the differences and similarities between left platforms and campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic.


SL

I know you have ten members in the National Assembly (Quebec’s legislative assembly, MNA). I am interested in hearing about what you are fighting for at present. But first, let’s start with personal questions. How did you get involved in this political movement?

AZM

I have been a QS member since 2009. I was twenty-one or so when I started. I grew up in a neighborhood in the northeast of Montreal. In 2008, a young man from a Latino community got killed by the police. And there were riots. All of this happened about two blocks from my house. In response to these events, we organized a grassroots neighborhood organization. The first boots on the ground, offering us help, were the Left. Members of QS were there to show their solidarity. That’s how I met Amir Khadir [MNA member and former spokesperson for QS].

SL

Amir must be a famous figure in your party’s history.

AZM

Oh yes. He was our first MNA. He was the first person to get elected. For me personally, he means a lot. He’s a fighter.

He was alone in the parliament. And even though he was alone, he took the time to come to my neighborhood. For me, that’s what politics is about. It is taking an interest in what is happening on the street and bringing those issues to parliament and talking about them. That’s what inspired me to become a member. My political roots are grounded in that commitment to the grassroots. From there I attended a congress, and that’s how I met everybody. We met each other in groups — for instance, ecosocialist groups. When it was announced that they needed people on the board of directors, someone told me, “You should go,” and I was like, Why not?

AF

I think we made a good decision bringing you on!

AZM

I was in charge of our mobilization campaigns. My first campaign, in 2015, was the fight to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And I had a great experience. We would go to meetings of nonunionized workers. Because those are the ones that needed the raise — without a union, workers don’t have the same leverage.

SL

Until 2002, there was no legal minimum wage in Germany. Our former party, the Party of Democratic Socialism, was the only party in favor of a legal minimum wage. We were even up against the unions. We were the only ones fighting for it. Now we have a legal minimum wage. I’m familiar with these discussions — especially as they pertain to low-wage workers in nonunionized factories.

AZM

We did a lot of work on that campaign. It was the first time we made use of a strategy that we still use today — we call it “issue-based campaigning.” We put to use one simple measure that can be communicated everywhere — the fight for $15 an hour is a good example. What is said in the streets is the same thing that is said in the parliament. We try to coordinate these things. We are out talking to people, asking questions, and that provides the floor for all political work. We have people in the streets — knocking on doors, petitioning, canvassing — with that mission.

Boots on the Ground

SL

How do you become party president?

AZM

I didn’t run as president until a few years later, in 2021. Prior to that, QS won more seats in parliament. Our success has largely come from our experience in past elections and the political campaigns we have waged, such as the fight for $15 an hour. Thanks to the activists and radicals in our ranks, we were able to win new victories. To win a seat in the parliament you need between two and three hundred people. You need three hundred activists; you need three hundred volunteers. The only way we win districts is by knocking on doors. That has been the strategy. That’s how we won these districts.

At the time, I was also working on my PhD in sustainable development. My studies took me to Berlin. I became acquainted with the German way of writing environmental policies, which is really interesting. They have students coming from everywhere — often for the summer sessions. And it’s free. I mean, it was amazing.

SL

Trust me, free tuition didn’t come out of nowhere. In the late 1990s and early 2000s — when the neoliberal wave was everywhere — several states in Germany implemented tuition for universities. It was a big fight for the Left. And we won. I’m pretty sure that no state in Germany charges tuition anymore.

When it existed, tuition was only charged in about half of the states and, compared with the United States, it was low. But as you know, once the door is open, tuition increases are inevitable. That was one of the German left’s successful fights. We still have the opportunity to study for free.

AZM

Even people from out of the country can study for free! I found that amazing. While I was doing my PhD, I became a member of a committee in our party called the Political Commissions. It was in our mandate to write our party platform. And I was really excited — it felt like, this is for real.

I decided to go back to Quebec and get involved. I did that for two years, from 2019 to ’21. In the commission, we would have thirteen to fourteen elected volunteers. And they were tasked with developing a party perspective — what are we going to put on the platform? We went through a process of consultation — we consulted with the MNAs and engaged organizations — and then we put it to our members to vote on.

SL

Did you have a party congress prior to the vote? Die Linke held a party congress and then afterward party members held a referendum on the content of our platform.

AZM

We just voted in the congress. We had the platform congress in November. I was doing the work there, but then had to hand my responsibilities over to another person because I was still finishing my PhD. And that’s when the former president told me she was not going to run again.

SL

Why did she decide to quit?

AZM

For personal reasons. It is a lot of work and she told me that, for her, four years was enough. And I was already involved — so I said yes.

SL

Was there a competition?

AZM

Nobody was vying for the position when I announced that I would run. It was not much of a conflict. I was elected in November.

SL

Congratulations! Although I’m not sure if I should congratulate you. I used to be a chairman of my party in Berlin, and being in charge isn’t necessarily much fun. But you know that.

AZM

There’s another person that works with me. I share tasks with our coordinator, Nadine, who I love. And we made that joke just yesterday: when people call us, it is not because they have good news.

SL

They don’t call you to tell you how great you are. That doesn’t happen.

AZM

No. It’s rare. People call you when you have something to resolve, they want your advice, or things are not going well.

The Thorniness of Sovereignty

SL

You mentioned that you and your parents came from Peru.

AZM

I was born there.

SL

And now you are here, in Quebec, and you fight for independence. Our parties have a lot of things in common, like feminism and social justice. This issue, however, is an obvious case of divergence. And it is very difficult for people outside Quebec to understand. For you, coming with your mom from a different country, how would you explain to me why this is important to you?

AZM

In Quebec, there’s a strong feeling like we’re different from Canada. Socially and culturally. Even if I was born in Peru, I’m not only Peruvian. I am Québécois.

SL

You grew up with this culture, this language. It is your home.

AZM

It’s my culture now. There is a movement here that says that people like myself are not Québécois. But I am. And a part of the culture for me is the desire to transform our society. For me, that transformation is bound up with the independence movement. Our idea of sovereignty is not simply a matter of having control of a nation because we speak French — it is an anti-colonial movement. This sensibility is also deeply rooted in my Latin American heritage. We are still subjects of the Queen here. It’s crazy.

SL

Yes. Canada should follow Barbados. That was the last country to decide that the Queen should no longer be head of state.

AZM

You have to give an oath to the Queen when you are elected, or when you become a citizen. That is absurd.

SL

If you ranked the policies you’re committed to, how high on that list is the issue of sovereignty?

AZM

That depends.

SL

On who you’re talking to?

AZM

No. On the issue, on the situation. For me, the environment is the foremost issue. And then social justice, followed by anti-racist politics. Independence is a means toward those ends.

AF

The issue of sovereignty in Quebec is wedded to class politics. The workers movements were a big part of the sovereignty movement in the 1960s and ’70s. There were French Canadians that were living in really poor conditions. Language and class are less intertwined now — some of those people have become very rich. But the people at the bottom are still francophones. The ruling class is still English. They’re the people who have the money; they have the big business.

Quebec does have right-wing nationalists that also try to draw this distinction — to create a nationalist bloc predicated on ethnolinguistic identity. Unlike them, we fight for sovereignty from an anti-racist and an anti-colonialist perspective. We want to build along with social movements, unions, and the Left in the rest of Canada, and with indigenous nations. The fact is that the dynamic of struggle is different in Quebec because of the national question. Sovereignty is therefore a transversal issue, a way to achieve a social project in Quebec. But we want to build support in the rest of Canada in an effort to create a common fight against the Canadian imperialist state.

AZM

How is your idea of sovereignty anti-racist?

AZM

For me, it means that we must build a country where we put anti-racist legislation in the constitution.

SL

You will build your own country of Quebec — and it will be a progressive one?

AZM

Exactly. We need to rebuild institutions from the ground up. The institutions we have now have been built within a colonialist structure.

SL

I think I understand. But to be honest, it is very difficult to square with the mindset of progressive fights in other places. Other than Catalonia and maybe Scotland, for the most part, progressives in Germany and elsewhere feel that nationalism is a bad thing — it’s a right-wing concern.

AZM

It can be. And we do debate these problems in our sovereignty movement.

AF

There are right-wing, white francophone nationalists. So it’s never easy.

AZM

We want to make changes that ensure that everybody feels like they are a part of this society. When people feel part of their society, they also want to rebuild it.

Campaigns and Tactics

SL

You mentioned that the campaign for a $15 minimum wage was important to you. What would you say are the four or five things on your platform that create the most voter engagement — which are popular?

AZM

Now we are working on different campaigns. For instance, we put forward the idea to “Make the rich pay” — a demand, framed in ecological terms, for an increase on the price of carbon for richer enterprises and an increase in the way that they pay for water. It is about the rights to extract water. Big industry doesn’t pay a lot for the water they take.

We also want to increase public transportation funding across cities. This is all in our platform, under the rubric “The quality of life.” We are also advocating for four weeks of holiday. People don’t have real holidays — they have only two weeks. We want comprehensive, public mental-health coverage and dental care. And housing is a big issue — it’s going to be one of our main issues during the campaign.

SL

What do you want to change in housing?

AZM

Well, we need affordable housing. We don’t have enough. We need to implement rent control. Like you did in Berlin.

SL

In Berlin, we have a middle-left government, and my party is part of the government. We used to have a department for housing. Our minister proposed a law, which was supported by the parliament in Berlin, to mandate rent breaks for tenants. And for a while, it worked exactly as it was intended to.

Unfortunately, right-wing parties — the conservatives, the liberals — went to the Supreme Court to appeal the law. The Supreme Court decided that the law was not within the purview of the state — it was under the jurisdictional authority of the federal government. So the law was killed. But in the wake of that defeat, a group of activists in Berlin called for a referendum on the expropriation of big housing companies. We supported that initiative and the referendum succeeded. There were more than 1 million votes in favor of it.

AZM

Our positions are inspired by Berlin. But we have to adapt it to the context in Quebec.

SL

It is always a heated topic in big cities, but not so much in rural areas.

AZM

In Montreal and in Quebec City, people don’t have enough space, whereas in rural areas, the issue is a lack of services. You can find a place to live in the country, but the closest hospital might be more than an hour away. You have to drive for an hour and a half to get to work. The problem requires the building of more social housing.

SL

I have a tactical question. Left parties in Europe debate the pros and cons of joining coalitions. And this is always a very divisive topic, because there are a lot of leftists who will say that joining a coalition necessitates too many compromises. On the other hand, however, there are those who argue that it is just a matter of strength and conviction — that the direction of government can be changed. What is the position of your party?

AZM

We’re not coming from the same place as most of the other parties here. We don’t share the same cause as the Liberal Party. We call them the “party of business.” The Parti Québécois was the only possible coalition partner for us.

AF

We did have a big debate about forming a coalition with the Parti Québécois. And we were both on the board of directors at that time. The debate lasted almost a year, maybe more. Inside the leadership there were two positions, one in favor and one against. We were both against it. The party organized debates in Montreal, Quebec City, and around the province. There was a high level of engagement — a lot of our members participated. They wanted to understand the arguments for and against the proposal. We had our convention after the debates. The party decided no. With a huge majority.

SL

It wasn’t possible to form a coalition with the Parti Québécois, and the other parties were too far away from your politics. So your position in the election is, we run as a strong opposition — we won’t be a part of any coalition.

AF

The Parti Québécois leader was an opportunist. He just wanted us riding slipstream to show that he was the one in charge. Also, if we had chosen to form a coalition, we never would have won our ten seats in the election. The PQ had also a right-wing perspective on immigration and an anti-labor record over the past years. So we made a good decision.

SL

In my party, I was on the other side of the argument. I fought against staking out a position against coalitions. My reasoning was that a lot of our voters would turn and ask: What, exactly, are you running for? We had bad results in the last election. Angela Merkel was the chancellor of Germany — and everyone knew that she would be the chancellor after the election too. Because she was so popular. But when she decided not to run again, it created an opening. There was an opportunity for the people to decide on the next government.

For many people, this was the most important issue — electing the next government. And if we had said then, “We are not part of this fight,” we would have lost many more votes. Instead, we signaled our openness to a red-green government. Because even if the Greens are centrist and the Social Democrats are tainted by their neoliberal phase, there is still room for compromise.

AZM

The parliamentary system in Quebec is different. Traditionally — up until ten years ago — it has been a two-party system. You always had one party or the other.

AF

A coalition here means that you don’t present a candidate against the other party in a race where the candidate has more support or is already an MNA. An agreement is reached with the other party beforehand — coalition parties won’t compete with one another. In that circumstance, QS was trapped: we had to stay only in races we had not much chance to win, at the same time we were giving our support and credibility to Parti Québécois. That was the goal the Parti Québécois was looking for.

Socialist Party Politics

SL

In US politics, the word “socialism” still has negative connotations — it can be wielded as an accusation. As a socialist party, are you on the receiving end of such accusations here? Is this a problem? Is it an issue at all?

AF

Not really. Sometimes. But our biggest support comes from the youth. They see that we are dynamic. Our perspective is attractive to them. We represent the future.

AZM

We participate in “Fridays For Future” — demonstrations for climate justice inspired by Greta Thunberg and strikes. We are the first ones there on the picket lines.

SL

In the last elections in Germany, the youth voted, of course, for the Green Party. I always say: green is green, red is red. If the youth cohort is thinking about the environment, they vote green. But they often fail to look at the party’s actual positions.

The shock in the last election was that the second-strongest party was the neoliberal Free Democratic Party. We used to be the party that had the youth behind us. There’s no rule stating that it will stay like that forever. We have lost the youth vote — it’s horrible.

AZM

I think what helps us with the Fridays For Future environmental movement is the popularity of [party spokesperson] Manon Massé. She’s our point person — she is a sparkling personality and the people love her. She is a part of the LGBTQ community. She is also a feminist. Young people appreciate her because she fights for trans rights and she fights for the environment. And that doesn’t mean that we’re only talking to the youth. We talk to everybody on the Left. But it’s the young members who have the energy to put the fliers out. They’re also the ones who have to contend with the future.

SL

We recently had a debate about a “mosaic left,” which is a left bloc created by inviting several movements into a party. Our challenge is that the history of the bigger wing of our party comes from a very, very traditional Socialist Party, which was organized from top to bottom. For many of the members, it is not easy to grasp the concept of grassroots movements. There is a predisposition to rely on a party board that makes decisions.

Our party is the result of a merger between the Party for Democratic Socialism, which emerged from formerly communist East Germany, and a split in the Social Democratic Party. Neither party had much use for grassroots movements.

AZM

That’s the difference. Manon Masse, our female spokesperson, is a known feminist organizer. She was a core organizer of the Bread and Roses March in the mid-1990s. Women from all across Quebec participated — it was a march against women’s poverty. And that march sowed the seeds for the annual Women’s March. I was in Brazil at the time, and I remember people talking about the women in Quebec.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is our male spokesperson. He was an important leader in the student movement. He led three hundred thousand people in the streets ten years ago. So we have comrades in the workers’ movement, in the students’ movement, in the migrant movement, and in the environment movement.

SL

Is there a conflict between the union movement and the migrant movement?

AZM

At the moment, no. I am part of the anti-racist movement and have helped out during the years. For instance, in 2016, we had a petition to create a national commission on systemic racism. And some people in the unions were appointed to this coalition. The same thing happens with energy-transition advocacy. We have a coalition for energy transition. And there are workers on the board.

SL

But you have conflict between unions and environmentalists.

AZM

Yes, but they come to the table. They are willing to come to the table and talk about the conflicts. It’s not a conflict of attrition.

SL

We try to do the same thing in Germany too. But I am not too happy with the results. I’m always trying to understand the sources for the conflict. I think one reason is that we didn’t find a productive way to talk about the conflicts of interests. They are there. A coal-mining industry is not a sustainable industry. We have to close it down. But there are people working there. In the case of coal extraction, the industry may have a tradition and culture that goes back centuries. When young kids come in and occupy mining camps, it inevitably leads to conflicts with workers and their families. I don’t think we found a successful or productive way to attack this problem.

AZM

In Quebec, we try to attack the problem through participatory processes. This entails making sure that stakeholders are all at the table. We call it a roundtable. Our energy transition roundtable had representatives from multiple constituencies: workers and community and youth participants. They all came to the table and tried to find common ground.

The ecological movement takes a participatory bent too. Everywhere in Montreal in Quebec, everyone’s talking about green transition. So it is easy to create a dialogue. The hook is making the discussion a strategy for addressing the divisions head-on. Because of this strategy, the question of energy became an issue that we were able to connect on.

SL

Thank you, I think that we can learn a lot from your party in Germany. I know there are differences between our parties. But I think the way that QS is dealing with disparate interests and very different interest groups should be a model for our party too.

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It's all about the stats: What politics and baseball have in common – CBC.ca

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In his final column as host of The House, Chris Hall talks with three political strategists to examine the intersection between two of his favourite subjects: politics and baseball.

There’s a saying that life imitates art. But for my money, there’s another comparison that’s equally true. Politics imitates baseball.

Here’s the pitch.

Politics and baseball are filled with tradition. There are a lot of rules; some are written, and some really just time-honoured traditions. 

Today, both are becoming more reliant on modern-day metrics — data and statistics — to attract new supporters, and to win.

In baseball, those stats help managers decide when to deploy the infield shift, or put an extra person in the outfield to prevent the best hitters from getting on base.

In politics, the numbers tell campaign managers which ridings to visit and which campaign promise to promote. They know how many swing votes are available in each voting district. Parties keep data banks that tell them which address is home to a supporter, and which is home to a voter who might be convinced to join their side.

So it’s not surprising that many politicians and their strategists are also baseball fans. 

The House’s politics (and baseball) panel, left to right: Anne McGrath, national director for the NDP, Jason Lietaer, president of Enterprise Canada and the former Conservative strategist; and Zita Astravas, former Liberal spokesperson and current chief of staff to Bill Blair. (Submitted by Jason Lietaer and Zita Astravas, Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

There is a powerful connection between running the bases and running a campaign, according to Anne McGrath.

“I think that all campaigns are, or strive to be, data-driven now,” said McGrath, the NDP’s national director and a veteran of both federal and provincial campaigns.

“It is the key in politics. You have to find the people who support you and get them out to vote. So you have to know who they are and know where they are and know what they care about.”

McGrath was a die-hard fan of the Montreal Expos. The club moved years ago to Washington and she’s still not over it. But McGrath sees a lesson in the move, about the importance of not just maintaining a fan base, but finding ways to get new ones to the ballpark.

“You do have to know who your base is and you have to expand it. You have to bring more people in. And you have to do it in a way that is attentive to changing demographics and changing ways of communicating with people and getting people interested and involved and motivated,” she explained.

CBC News: The House9:32Take me out to the poll game

In one of his last shows, host Chris Hall combines two of his passions: baseball and politics. He speaks with three fellow baseball diehards who happen to be political insiders: Liberal staffer Zita Astravas, Conservative strategist Jason Lietaer and NDP national director Anne McGrath.

Jason Lietaer grew up reading baseball box scores and waiting impatiently for the weekend newspaper that included the stats for every American League player, including members of the hometown Toronto Blue Jays.

Lietaer, a former Conservative campaign strategist who now runs the government-relations firm Enterprise Canada, is a believer in mining data for insights into a player or into a campaign. But just gathering that data doesn’t guarantee victory in either baseball or politics, he said.

Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.– Jason Lietaer

The players on the field, or the candidates knocking on doors continue to play a key role in determining whether you win or lose. Plus, it’s important to interpret that data correctly

“And I would say in politics, we’re still sort of struggling with some of that,” Lietaer said. “You know, is there only one or two ways to read the data? How important is digital communication? How important is this piece of information?”

The Toronto Blue Jays Alejandro Kirk hits a single during a game against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto on June 28, 2022. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press)

A key lesson is figuring out what the statistics are telling you before the end of the game or before election night, to better adapt to the changing circumstances and give your team a better chance at victory.

“Sometimes you don’t realize you’re winning or losing an election [until] you’ve already won or lost it,” he said.

“Sometimes the bottom of the ninth happens a month before the game even starts.”

The politics and baseball panel was one of the last interviews Chris Hall did as the host of The House. He retired from CBC in June 2022. CBC Radio created this ‘farewell’ baseball card to mark the occasion. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

Zita Astravas is another political insider who spends a lot of time watching baseball. She’s worked on both federal and Ontario Liberal campaigns and is now chief of staff to Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.

“I think one of the things that drew me to politics and baseball is statistics, and I think it’s one of the things that you can find common ground in,” she said.

“You do it every day on a political campaign: you look at different ridings and craft who your best candidates are, what your target ridings are, just as you do on different players.”

It’s all about finding a hidden meaning in the numbers, an edge to exploit on the field or in the hustings.

It’s all in the hopes of answering the key question, McGrath says: “Did we hit it out of the park?”

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Politics Report: The People Asked for Time and Now They Get Time Because What They Really Wanted Was Time – Voice of San Diego

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Early Monday, our Lisa Halverstadt learned that the City Council was not going to vote on a proposed settlement over 101 Ash St. after all. Serves us right for expecting a climax in any long-running San Diego political affair. 

Maybe the settlement didn’t have the five votes it needed, maybe some new information materialized, or maybe the mayor’s explanation that they heard the public’s call that it needed more time to process the terms of the agreement was all there was too it. That last explanation would perhaps be the most exciting, since it would mark the first time in city history that a proceduralist consideration wasn’t just poorly disguised cover for some substantive difference of opinion. 

Nonetheless, former Mayor Kevin Faulconer jumped on KUSI Thursday to say he was happy that Mayor Todd Gloria had decided to delay the vote for a month until the public had ample time to fully absorb the particulars of a settlement that would have ended some city lawsuits, continue others, and lead to the acquisition of two massive pieces of downtown real estate for a City Hall redevelopment that hasn’t been planned and won’t be within the next month. The public would also then have enough time to grok the city attorney’s dissenting opinion on the settlement, or both legal and policy reasons. 

“I think you have to make sure that any proposed settlement is going to be a benefit to the city, a benefit to taxpayers and it’s not something that should be rushed,” he said. “I think we’ll hear a lot more about that in the coming months.” 

Clearly, now that we’ve made the difficult, brave decision not to rush the matter, ignoring the screaming hordes from the pro-rush caucus, we don’t need to be in any hurry to articulate whether the deal actually is a benefit to the city and taxpayers or not. The important thing is that now we have time.  

Brief CAP Opposition from the Cap’s Top Champion 

Back in Gloria’s first stint in the mayor’s office – in an interim position that didn’t really exist – Nicole Capretz led the charge within his administration for what became his landmark achievement during that time, even though it wasn’t passed until Faulconer was in office: the city’s Climate Action Plan. 

The city adopted a plan that said it would half its carbon footprint by 2035 by, among other things, transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and getting half of people who live near transit to bike, walk or take transit to work by that same year. San Diego basked in national praise from the New York Times and elsewhere.  

This week, though, Capretz – who now runs a nonprofit group that pushes San Diego and other cities to do more within their climate plans – came out as an opponent of the updated version of the same Climate Action Plan that Gloria is now trying to pass. Even though the plan is ramping up its goals – the city would now by 2035 reach “net zero,” when the level of its greenhouse emissions are equal to the level absorbed by the environment (or new technology that removes carbon from the atmosphere) – Capretz and her group urged a “no” vote from a Council committee, because the city lacked a timeline and cost estimates for its commitments. They eventually got on board when city staff agreed to provide that by February. 

Still, it was interesting to hear Capretz, maybe the city’s top salesperson for the climate plan, acknowledge that proponents had made mistakes with the first plan by not setting clear cost and time requirements for each of the policies included in it. 

“We did not insist on an implementation plan for the first Climate Action Plan,” she told our MacKenzie Elmer. “We’re not going to make that mistake again.”  

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Murphy's Logic: Politics trumps public interest | CTV News – CTV News Atlantic

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The initial reluctance of governments, federal and provincial, to appoint a public inquiry into the N.S. mass shooting, was difficult to understand. It took the heartfelt pleas of the victims’ families and the fast rising tide of public opinion to make the politicians act.

And now we likely know why they were so reluctant.

Imperfect though it may be, the inquiry eventually appointed has now exposed the obscene political considerations that were already at play in the days that followed the horror of April 2020.

The evidence reveals that political leaders, who should have been overwhelmed only with grief and concern for the trauma and misery wrought by a madman, instead seemed to seize an overwhelming opportunity to advance their own partisan interests in toughening gun control.

There is reason to believe the PM or his people, certainly his Ministers, were attempting to dictate, manipulate or at least influence parts of the RCMP the narrative. That’s unacceptable, a brazen display of politics put ahead of public interest, moreover, it’s heartless.

The Commissioner of the RCMP should not have been making promises to her political masters about the release of information about the sort of weapons used by the shooter but more pointedly, the politicians shouldn’t have been asking for such promises about that or anything else.

The Mass Causality Commission has already exposed many shortcomings on the part of the RCMP.

The force’s politically charged relationship with the government is yet another fault, yet another reason to demand changes in the way the RCMP operates.

The arrogance laid bare by the Trudeau government’s apparent willingness to interfere, to capitalize on the timing of a tragedy for crass political advantage, also suggests it may also be time to change the government.

   

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