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Diefenbaker left his mark on politics, Canada – The Kingston Whig-Standard



John Diefenbaker. (National Archives Canada)

jpg, KI

You could like John Diefenbaker. You could dislike him. But what a generation of Canadians could never do was ignore the man from Prince Albert. One of the most complex politicians to ever lead us, he served as prime minister between 1957 and 1963 and then went on to become perhaps one of the foremost and fiercest Opposition leaders Canada has ever seen. And long before his death in 1979, the father of the Bill of Rights and champion of ordinary Canadians had become a living legend. On this, the 125th anniversary of Diefenbaker’s birth, a group of distinguished Canadians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and four of his predecessors, joined by the Conservative party’s new leader, Erin O’Toole, pause to look back on the life and legend that was John Diefenbaker.

“With nearly 40 years as a member of Parliament, including almost six as prime minister, John Diefenbaker dedicated his life to serving Canadians. Some of his decisions as PM still inspire us to this day and have shaped our country for the better. His government ushered in the Canadian Bill of Rights and granted the right to vote to First Nations, and he appointed the first female minister to cabinet and the first First Nations senator. Both my father and grandfather were in politics at the same time as he was, and I know they had mutual respect, despite political differences. They also had the same goal: make our great country even better.”

Justin Trudeau

23rd Prime Minister of Canada

“Mr. Diefenbaker was a true House of Commons man. He spent a commanding 39 years as an MP, and whether serving as prime minister, leader of the Opposition or, after 1967, as a regular Conservative MP, Parliament was in many ways his true home. In debate, his performances were riveting, and I learned a great deal about the House by watching Mr. Diefenbaker on his feet in the Commons. We always enjoyed excellent personal relations because he saw me as a fellow House of Commons man who also believed in the importance of Parliament and the crucial role each MP, of all parties, should play in our system of government. Mr. Diefenbaker’s faith in and vision for Canada was unshakeable, and on this, the 125th anniversary of his birth, I am proud to recall our friendship and the great debates of the day we both participated in.”

John Turner

17th Prime Minister of Canada

“One of Mr. Diefenbaker’s greatest legacies is the principled stand he took on behalf of Canada against South African apartheid. In 1961, at the London Commonwealth conference, he defied the British and others to spearhead, in a historic partnership with non-white Commonwealth leaders, the removal of South Africa from the Commonwealth because of that nation’s odious apartheid system. As a young Progressive Conservative, I had the privilege of being in the audience the very night Mr. Diefenbaker arrived back in Ottawa from this Commonwealth conference. His address to young Progressive Conservatives that evening was electrifying. We all took to our feet and cheered Prime Minister Diefenbaker, a leader who had made all of us so proud. Almost 30 years later, when I was prime minister, Nelson Mandela addressed our Parliament. During Nelson’s historic address, he made a special point of acknowledging Mr. Diefenbaker’s early role in fighting for South African freedom. There can be no higher tribute to Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s leadership than that.”

Brian Mulroney

18th Prime Minister of Canada

“My father was first elected to the House of Commons in 1935, and Mr. Diefenbaker became an MP in 1940. As a result, the two of them faced each other across the floor of the House for decades. While both were strong partisans supporting different parties, there was mutual respect between them, representing some of the finest traditions in Canadian parliamentary life. This is a commentary about politics back then, in comparison with too much of the politics of today. Sadly, we seem to have lost some of the camaraderie between MPs of all parties that existed during the era when my father, Tommy Douglas of the CCF (NDP) and John Diefenbaker took part in vigorous debates, taking opposing sides of many issues of the day, always doing so with mutual respect. I doubt Mr. Diefenbaker, who truly loved Parliament, would be happy with many aspects of the House of Commons in recent years.”

Paul Martin

21st Prime Minister of Canada

“The ancient injunction “let us now praise famous men” was coined for individuals like John Diefenbaker. Our 13th prime minister was a man of great passion, vision and extraordinary rhetorical power. He was also a Canadian patriot to his very core. Prime Minister Diefenbaker vigorously defended, throughout his long and storied career, the principles that are at the heart of Canada — the institutions of constitutional, democratic and limited government, and the equality of individuals before the law. Above all else, John Diefenbaker believed in freedom and that the essence of freedom was that law-abiding citizens should never suffer arbitrary intrusions into their lives from their government. These convictions inspired a generation of Canadians and continue to animate our national life today.”

Stephen Harper

22nd Prime Minister of Canada

“John Diefenbaker and I have a few things in common beyond being lawyers. First, our unwavering commitment to a strong Canada. And second, we both lost the leadership of the Conservative Party the first time that we sought it. We share something else. In his speech to the 1967 PC convention, Diefenbaker told convention-goers that he had been accused of being “too much concerned with the average Canadian.” He added that he couldn’t help it. After all, he was one of them. So am I. Dief was the first Conservative leader to turn his attention to the workers that were building Canada’s prosperity but not sharing in it. He appointed the first woman to cabinet and the first Indigenous person to the Senate. He also put our rights into law — the same ones that I defended every day in uniform. John Diefenbaker changed Canada. But it never changed him.”

Erin O’Toole

Leader of the Opposition

During a time of uncertainty and international tension, Diefenbaker believed in the strength of a united Canada. He was fearless in defending our interests as a country, while bringing it closer together with meaningful actions like granting voting rights to Indigenous peoples and promoting diversity in his Cabinet and in Parliament. Above all, Dief the Chief will always be honoured as the nationbuilder who enshrined our fundamental human rights and freedoms in the Canadian Bill of Rights.

Doug Ford

Ontario Premier

Compiled by Kingston’s Arthur Milnes, a veteran political speechwriter whose published books include studies of prime ministers Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Arthur Meighen, R.B. Bennett, Brian Mulroney and John Turner. Milnes has recently been appointed in-house historian at Kingston’s Frontenac Club Hotel.

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Pandemic politics: Biden shuns 'false promises' of fast fix – CTV News



Focused firmly on COVID-19, Joe Biden vowed Wednesday not to campaign in the election homestretch “on the false promises of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch.” President Donald Trump, under attack for his handling of the worst health crisis in more than a century, breezily pledged on his final-week swing to “vanquish the virus.”

The Democratic presidential nominee also argued that a Supreme Court conservative majority stretched to 6-3 by newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett could dismantle the Obama administration’s signature health law and leave millions without insurance coverage during the pandemic. He called Trump’s handling of the coronavirus an “insult” to its victims, especially as cases spike dramatically around the country.

“Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” Biden said during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “I do promise this: We will start on day one doing the right things.”

His comments reflected an unwavering attempt to keep the political spotlight on the pandemic. That was a departure from the president, who downplayed the threat and spent his day in Arizona, where relaxed rules on social distancing made staging big rallies easier.

The pandemic’s consequences were escalating, with deaths climbing in 39 states and an average of 805 people dying daily nationwide — up from 714 two weeks ago. Overall, about 227,000 Americans have died. The sharp rise sent shockwaves through financial markets, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to drop 900-plus points.

Trump, who frequently lauds rising markets, failed to mention the decline. But he promised that economic growth figures for the summer quarter, due Thursday, would be strong, declaring during a rally in Bullhead City, Arizona, “This election is a choice between a Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression.”

As Trump spoke, an Air Force fighter thundered nearby and released a flare to get the attention of a non-responsive private aircraft that was flying in the restricted airspace. North American Aerospace Defence Command said the plane was escorted out by the F-16 “without further incident.” Trump was at first caught off guard but later cheered the fighter, proclaiming, “I love that sound” as it roared overhead.

The president also condemned violence that occurred during some protests in response to the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man, in Philadelphia saying Biden stands “with the rioters and the vandals.”

But Biden said in Wilmington, “There is no excuse whatsoever for the looting and the violence.”

Bullhead City is just across the border from Nevada, a state Trump is hoping to flip during Election Day next Tuesday. A Trump Nevada rally last month attracted thousands and led to the airport that hosted it being fined more than $5,500 for violating pandemic crowd restrictions.

Rather than curb his crowd, Trump moved just across the border and used his rally Wednesday to scoff at Democratic leaders in states like Nevada for trying to enforce social distancing rules. The event’s crowd looked to be mostly from Arizona, though there were attendees from Nevada. Few wore masks.

The weather was far milder than during a Tuesday night Trump rally in Omaha, Nebraska. After Trump left that one, hundreds of attendees at Eppley Airfield spent hours waiting in the cold for transportation to cars parked far away. Several people were taken to hospitals amid concerns about exposure.

“Because of the sheer size of the crowd, we deployed 40 shuttlebuses — double the normal allotment — but local road closures and resulting congestion caused delays,” Trump spokeswoman Samantha Zager said in a statement.

Trump is trailing Biden in most national polls. Biden also has an advantage, though narrower, in the key swing states that could decide the election.

Biden voted early in Wilmington on Wednesday and received a virtual briefing from health experts. One, Dr. David Kessler, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, warned, “We are in the midst of the third wave, and I don’t think anyone can tell you how high this is going to get.”

Trump was nonetheless defiant, declaring, “We will vanquish the virus and emerge stronger than ever before.”

In a campaign sidelight, the president lashed out after news that Miles Taylor, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, was revealed as the author of a scathing anti-Trump op-ed and book under the pen name “Anonymous.”

“This guy is a low-level lowlife that I don’t know,” he said. “I have no idea who he is.”

Trump views Nevada favourably, despite it not backing a Republican for president since 2004. Hillary Clinton won it by less than 2.5 percentage points in 2016.

And Biden wants to flip Arizona, which hasn’t voted Democratic for president since 1996. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, was in Arizona on Wednesday, meeting with Latina entrepreneurs and African American leaders as well as holding two drive-in rallies.

On Friday, Harris will visit Fort Worth, Houston and the U.S.-Mexico border town of McAllen in Texas — a state that hasn’t backed a Democrat for president since 1976 or even elected one to statewide office since 1994. Texas was long so reliably red that top national Democrats visited only to hold fundraisers.

“I am really grateful for the attention that they have given Texas because it has been so long since a presidential campaign gave this state a look,” said Beto O’Rourke a former Texas congressman and onetime presidential hopeful. But he declined to predict that Biden would win the state, saying only “There is a possibility,” contingent on turnout breaking records.

Biden heads later in the week to three more states Trump won in 2016, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, where he’ll hold a joint Saturday rally with former President Barack Obama.

Democrats point to a larger number of their party members returning absentee ballots — results that could be decisive since more people are likely to vote by mail during the pandemic. Trump’s campaign argues that enough of its supporters will vote on Election Day to overwhelm any early Biden advantage.

Around 71.5 million people nationwide have so far voted in advance, either by casting early, in-person ballots or voting by mail, according to an Associated Press analysis. That’s already far more than the total advance ballots cast before the 2016 presidential election.

“We’re talking to people everywhere,” Harris said. “And there’s no area that’s off limits.”


Weissert reported from Washington, Jaffe from Wilmington. Associated Press writers Michelle Price in Bull City, Arizona, Kathleen Ronayne in Las Vegas and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.

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UNBC Alumni dipping their toes in politics atop Parliament Hill –



Hughes graduated UNBC earlier this year with a joint major in Global and International Studies and Political Science.

“The jobs that I held as a research assistant, student assistant, and journal assistant at UNBC were invaluable for the development of critical research and writing skills necessary for a parliamentary intern.”—Hanna Hughes, UNBC Alumni

Hughes says that she applied for the internship in part to gain non-partisan experience to prepare her for a potential career in government.

For her, her most memorable moment, two months into the internship, was when she was able to Zoom with former Prime Minister Paul Martin where she was able to “ask questions about the formation of the G20, his role as Finance Minister, and how to operate in a minority government,” said Hughes.

Lukac is grateful for his time at UNBC and says that it prepared him with writing and analysis skills which he says have been crucial for him professionally, “and perhaps more importantly, nurtured my passion for politics and political philosophy,” he adds.

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Two Religion Reporters Cover Where Faith and Politics Meet – The New York Times



Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

The discourse surrounding the background of the Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the support of white evangelicals for President Trump has deepened political divisions in the country, and the conversations are two examples of why it’s important to understand conservative Christians and their impact. For our religion reporters, Ruth Graham and Elizabeth Dias, covering more political stories as the election draws nearer has become inevitable. We asked them a few questions about digging into the facts on the faith beat.

What challenges do you face covering religion in the United States?

RUTH GRAHAM One challenge in this particular moment is that the pandemic has made reporting so much harder. That’s true on every beat, of course, but religious observance in particular has so many sensory elements that really have to be experienced in person: music, prayers, food, décor, incense, emotion. Calling people up on the phone and asking direct questions about their beliefs will never capture it all.

ELIZABETH DIAS The polarized political climate has made reporters’ jobs harder all around. I’ve found conservatives are increasingly wary of talking with us no matter what the story is, from sexual abuse in evangelical churches to Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination. That means these important stories often take longer to do because access to accurate information is harder to get.

Religion and politics seem inseparable these days. Has that always been the case, or has something shifted?

GRAHAM I think they seem inseparable partly because it’s election season, and as journalists we tend to view things through that lens ourselves. For ordinary believers, the connection is not always so clear. Some people clearly draw a connection between their faith and their views on national politics; others definitely don’t. I try to keep that in mind as a reporter and not force every story into a political frame.

DIAS Religion and politics both reflect shared, larger questions. They are both about power. They are both about people. They are both about how people structure life together. For centuries religion was politics, and it still is today in many parts of the world — the Vatican is a city state. Each generation works out its own relationship to these bigger questions and to history, and the election is just one way we are seeing that play out now in the United States.

Credit…Rozette Rago/The New York Times

How is covering religion during the 2020 election different than in 2016?

DIAS So much was revealed in 2016: the political influence of prosperity gospel preachers, who connect faith with financial wealth; the complete marriage of white evangelicals to President Trump; the depth of the racial divides within Christianity. Four years later these themes are all present, but that does not necessarily mean the election outcome will be the same. When the votes are tallied we will learn how the president’s religious coalition has and hasn’t changed after four years.

Would QAnon ever cross into your beat? What would that look like?

GRAHAM Yes, I’m actually starting to work on a Q-adjacent story right now. It’s a movement that has really taken off among Christian conservatives, and some have argued that QAnon itself is best understood as a homegrown religious movement. So there’s a lot of natural overlap on the religion beat.

What considerations do you take when reporting on religious groups that feel distrust toward the media?

GRAHAM The rising distrust of the media among a lot of conservative religious people is a major challenge, and one that is not going away. My starting assumption these days is always that I will have to work to convince conservative believers to talk with me. I do my best to acknowledge their wariness and explain why I want to include their voice in the story. All I can do is try to build trust by continuing to produce work that takes religion and faith seriously.

DIAS Trust grows over time, so I try to build long-term relationships with people I interview and to think of the body of work I’m building, versus only one specific story. Deep listening happens slowly, and requires appropriate empathy. I also spend a lot of time talking with people off the record, even though it means I may need to do more interviews, because I want to learn from them however I can.

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