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Duterte, Marcos and political dynasties in the Philippine presidential election – NPR

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara Duterte arrive for the opening of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018.

AFP via Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

A foiled succession plan, sensational allegations, and a family feud at the pinnacle of power — these are the ingredients in what promises to be a riveting race to succeed outgoing Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

The no-holds-barred contest scheduled for May 2022 has already produced what some observers see as an unsettling alliance: the offspring of two presidents pairing off in an unprecedented bid to run the country.

Taking full advantage of their prominence, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., has teamed up with Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte in the national election.

He is running for president in this dynastic duo, while she vies for vice president.

Are dynasties and celebrities narrowing democracy?

Political dynasties in the Philippines are nothing new.

Richard Heydarian, an expert on Philippine politics, says they are such a dominant feature in the country that between 70% and 90% of elected offices have been controlled by influential families.

But even by those standards, this Marcos-Duterte coupling takes powerful clan politics to a new level, says Philippine University political science professor Aries Arugay.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is surrounded by supporters after attending the recount of votes in the 2016 vice presidential race at the Supreme Court. Marcos narrowly lost that contest to Leni Robredo, the current vice president.

Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking at a recent online forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Arugay says second generation dynasts are behaving like a “cartel”.

He says their calculus is as damaging as it is simple: “Why can’t we just share power, limit competition, and make sure that the next winners of the presidential and national elections come from us?”

Then there is the celebrity factor.

Heydarian notes a narrowing of democracy in the pairing of dynasties with the celebrity class, which includes former film stars, television personalities and sports figures. He says the two elite groups monopolize national office, putting elected office beyond the reach of a lot of ordinary Filipinos who he says may have the merit and passion to serve, but are effectively blocked from fully participating.

It makes a “mockery” of democracy, Heydarian says, but it’s also a trend that could be difficult to reverse.

“After all, in politics you need a certain degree of messaging, communications machinery and charisma,” he said. And, he added, especially in the age of social media, “It’s not for dull people.”

Running on a name, not a track record

Consider Manny Pacquiao.

His stardom as one of the legends of the boxing world has catapulted him into the race for president next year. He is currently a sitting senator and is in the running for the highest office not on the power of his record in the upper chamber marked by absenteeism, but on the strength of his career as the country’s most acclaimed athlete.

So prized have name recognition and celebrity status become in winning Philippine elections that observers worry it’s turning democracy into the preserve of the rich and well-connected.

Marcos is part and parcel of the phenomenon, according to Manila-based analyst Bob Herrera-Lim, who notes that his undistinguished career as a senator and congressman has been no barrier to his ambition for the presidency.

“[Marcos] is running on entitlement. He is running on the weaknesses of the system,” Herrera-Lim said.

Sara Duterte poses for a selfie with city hall employees in Davao city, on the southern island of Mindanao.

Manman Dejeto/AFP via Getty Images

Manman Dejeto/AFP via Getty Images

Marcos’ vice presidential partner Sara Duterte is an accomplished politician, occupying the post her father held for decades as the mayor of Davao City, the third largest in the country. But the fact the 43-year-old First Daughter, whose work is little known outside Davao, led in a presidential opinion poll this past summer can only be put down to the power of a famous family name.

Revisionism, a PR campaign of distortion — and fond memories of the Marcos era

Bongbong Marcos is now making waves, rewriting the past and embellishing his family’s legacy.

It’s been 35 years since his father was ousted by a popular uprising, exiled, and exposed for rights abuses and kleptocracy.

Marcos Sr. is believed to have amassed up to $10 billion while in office, and now his son has been resuscitating the family’s image with a sophisticated social media campaign.

Marcos Jr. narrates seamlessly scored videos that cast his parents, Ferdinand and Imelda, as generous philanthropists, and his father as a great innovator who made possible new strains of rice and united the archipelago with infrastructure heralded as the “Golden Age” of the Philippines.

Critics decry what they call the revisionist history and systematic airbrushing of the sins of the father’s 20-year rule that turned the country into his personal fiefdom.

Marcos Sr. engaged in land-grabbing, bank-grabbing, and using dummies to hide acquisitions from public view, according to Professor Paul Hutchcroft of the Australian National University, who has written extensively on the political economy of the Philippines.

The late dictator dispensed special privileges to relatives, friends, and cronies, writes Ronald Mendoza, Dean of the School of Government at Ateno de Manila University, providing them access to the booty of the state, “even as the country failed to industrialize and was eventually plunged into debt and economic crises in the mid-1980s.”

Activists wear masks with anti-Marcos slogans during a rally in front of the Supreme court in Manila in 2016 as they await the high court’s decision on whether to allow the burial of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the “Cemetery of Heroes”.

Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images

Ted Aljibe/AFP via Getty Images

Yet, despite all of it, the Marcos family is not without its loyalists among both the elites and ordinary Filipinos.

At a small community market in central Manila, where fishmongers congregate amid aquariums and chopping blocks, vendors and shoppers talk about the Marcos era with a sense of nostalgia.

Chereelyn Dayondon, 49, says she likes how Marcos Sr. ran the country before and she wants that to come back. The single mother earns $80 a month directing traffic and worries that the cost of living is getting too high.

“It’s not going to be enough,” she says. “You never know, maybe Bongbong can change the Philippines. Let’s try him out.”

Meanwhile, fish seller Teodora Sibug-Nelval, 57, reminisces about the old Marcos era and memories of cheap food and law and order.

“I had a good life. I was able to send my sibling to school … I was able to buy a house,” she says.

In the pandemic, however, Sibug-Nelval lost her home and her vending stall. And now she wants her life back. She says she believes that if Marcos wins the election, “our lives will be better.”

Herrera-Lim also says that many Filipinos see a confusing, chaotic political situation: “There is no clear delineations, political parties don’t work for our benefit, we are looking for order.”

And that, he says, is what Marcos is offering.

“Bongbong Marcos is saying that during his father’s time, there was this order. There was peace in the country, which again, is a myth,” he says.

The challenger to the dynasty

Leni Robredo is the current vice president of the Philippines and a liberal progressive.

A lawyer by training, Robredo co-authored an anti-dynasty bill when she served as a member of the Philippine House of Representatives.

In the Philippines, the vice president and president are elected separately and Robredo is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from President Duterte, with whom she has repeatedly sparred over human rights, the handling of the pandemic and Duterte’s close ties with China.

Among the many candidates for president, including a former police chief, the mayor of Manila and Duterte’s closest aide, Robredo appears to represent the greatest challenge to Bongbong Marcos.

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo gestures to a crowd of supporters in Manila on October 7, 2021, the day she filed her candidacy for the 2022 presidential race.

Jam Sta Rosa/AFP via Getty Images

Jam Sta Rosa/AFP via Getty Images

Robredo defeated Marcos Jr. for vice president in 2016, and now she has pledged that if she wins the top office, she will recover the Marcos family’s plundered riches.

Alluding to Marcos’ perceived popularity, Robredo told a news conference last weekend that it was “sad that the people allow themselves to be fooled” into believing Marcos would save the country when the family’s ill-gotten wealth “was the reason they are poor.”

Yet Robredo may need more than tough rhetoric and moral rectitude.

Marites Vitug, the editor-at-large for the online news site Rappler, whose CEO won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, said the country was witnessing the “rehabilitation of the Marcos dynasty.” Young people were especially susceptible to the Marcos rebranding, she said, because there were no standard history textbooks in the Philippines that explained the Marcos martial law years.

“I was shocked to hear from some millennials that this was never discussed in class,” she said.

Vitug said the odd teacher or professor may present it, but it was not systematic.

“It should have been required reading,” she said.

Political economist Calixto Chikiamco adds that the revived Marcos family fortunes represent a counter-revolution to the one that ousted Marcos Sr. in 1986. That so-called Yellow Revolution was a model that Chikiamco says has failed to deliver genuine change.

“Because our politics remain dysfunctional, our economy is still not doing so well, a quarter of the workforce is unemployed … still a large number of people go abroad to seek better opportunities. So it is a revolt against their present situation,” he said.

“That’s the reason the Marcoses are making a comeback.”

The Duterte dynasty is a house divided

The campaign promises to be one of the Philippines’ most bitterly fought contests in years, not least because the Marcos-Duterte tie-up has not won the blessing of Sara Duterte’s father.

Rodrigo Duterte did make the controversial decision to allow the late dictator’s remains to be moved to the “Cemetery of Heroes,” a decision confirmed by the Supreme Court. But the once-friendly relations between Rodrigo Duterte and Bongbong Marcos have frayed, possibly beyond repair.

Duterte had wanted his daughter to seek the presidency, not play second fiddle, to provide him protection from the International Criminal Court investigating his violent anti-drug war. The probe has been suspended for a procedural review, but court watchers expect the case of alleged crimes against humanity to resume. Meanwhile, Chikiamco says while Sara may talk of continuing her father’s policies, by declining to run for the top job, she has gone her own way.

“The daughter is fiercely independent and didn’t want to be under the thumb of President Duterte. And also she could not perhaps tolerate the president’s men,” Chikiamco said.

A grandmother and her grandchild light a candle beside mock chalk figure representing an extra judicial killing victim during a prayer rally condemning the government’s war on drugs in Manila in 2017.

Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images

Herrera-Lim adds that daughter and father apparently “did not see eye to eye on many things related to the family or on the governance of Davao.”

Fundamentally, though, Herrera-Lim says President Duterte doesn’t trust Bongbong Marcos to shield him from ICC prosecutors.

“On these matters, family is very important,” he said.

And even if there were such a bargain between the two men, Herrera says Duterte would worry it might not hold.

In what analysts regard as a means to protect himself, Duterte is making a bid for a seat in the Senate in the 2022 election.

One authoritative poll shows Marcos the early frontrunner to succeed him. But not, it seems, if President Duterte has anything to say about it.

He ignited a stir earlier this month by declaring in a televised address that an unnamed candidate for president uses cocaine.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

AFP/AFP via Getty Images

AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Without identifying who, he said the offender was a “very weak leader” and that “he might win hands down.”

Marcos took a drug test this past week, saying he was clean. Other candidates hurriedly lined up to clear their name.

Marcos is also under attack by groups eager to have him disqualified from running at all. The Election Commission is reviewing four separate petitions challenging his candidacy. At least one charges that Marcos misrepresented his eligibility to seek the presidency by stating he had no criminal conviction that would bar him from office. Petitioners argue that his 1995 conviction for failing to pay taxes for several years in the 1980s ends his bid for the presidency.

The Election Commission announced no ballots will be printed until the petitions are decided.

The campaign that officially begins in February is already generating drama enough for some to lament that the race for president is fast becoming a “political circus.”

But Richard Heydarian says circuses are not always the worst thing. “Sometimes,” he says, “they can produce a magical outcome. Let’s see.”

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Politics Briefing: Ottawa tells families of embassy staff in Ukraine to evacuate – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Canada has ordered family members of diplomatic staff stationed in Ukraine to leave the country, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The move was made a day after the United States, Britain, Germany and Australia announced similar steps, amid fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin could soon order an invasion of Ukraine.

Global Affairs has issued a statement confirming the move: “Due to the ongoing Russian military buildup and destabilizing activities in and around Ukraine, we have decided to temporarily withdraw Canadian embassy staff’s children under 18 years of age and family members accompanying them.”

Senior International Correspondent Mark MacKinnon and Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife report here.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

TRUCKERS ON THE ROAD – A group of truckers has garnered millions in fundraising dollars from droves of supporters as it drives across the country to protest vaccine mandates, despite the vast majority of big-riggers having been jabbed. Story here.

O’TOOLE OKAY WITH CAUCUS EMBRACE OF BATTERS – Erin O’Toole says he has no problem with Tory MPs from Saskatchewan confirming Senator Denise Batters as a member of their provincial Conservative caucus, even though Mr. O’Toole previously removed Ms. Batters from the national caucus after she publicly challenged his leadership of the party. Story here.

CHAHAL TO PAY FINE – MP George Chahal of Calgary says he has paid a $500 fine after taking an opponent’s pamphlet from a front door and replacing it with his own during last year’s election. Story here. Details of the Elections Canada notice of violation are here.

ONTARIO CLOSE TO CHILD-CARE DEAL: PREMIER – Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is “very, very close” to a child-care deal with the federal government. Story here.

QUEBEC LIBERALS PREPPING FOR ELECTION – The Quebec Liberals have “the knife between their teeth” to win the October election, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade says. Story here from CTV.

FORMER B.C. LEGISLATURE CLERK ON TRIAL – A special prosecutor says the former clerk of the British Columbia legislature claimed expenses ranging from malt whisky to cufflinks on the public purse. Story here from The Province.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons has adjourned until Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. ET.

TORIES CALL FOR MORE UKRAINE SUPPORT – Conservative critics are calling on the federal Liberal government to take immediate action to support Ukraine against Russia, with proposals that include providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, and extending Operation Unifier, which has about 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed to Ukraine to provide tactical-level training to the country’s security forces. They made the call in a statement from foreign affairs critic Michael Chong, opposition deputy whip James Bezan and public services critic Pierre Paul-Hus.

THE DECIBEL – In Tuesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Kelly Grant, The Globe’s national health care reporter, talks about her in-depth look at health care in Nunavut and the challenges its residents face accessing it. While there, she found that the lack of elder care in the territory was one of the most common complaints and one of the hardest issues to solve. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings and the Prime Minister attended a virtual cabinet retreat. Tuesday is the second day of the three-day retreat.

LEADERS

No schedules released for other party leaders.

OPINION

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the bill coming due for the federal Liberal government: “For almost two years, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by spending money at levels never seen in peacetime, to protect workers, businesses and the health care system. That spending was necessary. But this year the bill comes due. And it won’t be pretty. The federal deficit skyrocketed from less than 1 per cent of GDP in fiscal 2018-19, before the pandemic, to 15 per cent in fiscal 2020-21. The consolidated federal and provincial books showed a $326-billion deficit in 2020. Within the Group of Seven, we have gone from having one of the best debt-to-GDP ratios to middle of the pack: behind Germany, roughly on par with France and Britain, but ahead of the U.S., Italy and Japan. Outside the G7 our debt-to-GDP ratio lags Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Indonesia, Ireland, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam, to name just a few.”

André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on why ‘I’m done with COVID’ is easier said than done: “Uttering “I’m done with COVID” as a mantra won’t stop the virus from spreading and mutating. It won’t end the threat of infection, especially to frail elders and other medically fragile citizens. It won’t free up surgical suites and hospital beds for hip replacements and treatment of cancer patients. It won’t get sick workers suddenly back on the job, diligently teaching children or stacking store shelves. “I’m done with COVID” is the equivalent of offering “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting. It’s a bromide, not a remedy.”

Deanna Horton and Roy Norton (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada can do more to support the U.S. in their special relationship: ”Canada’s brand in the U.S. is strong. We are naturally suited to leading collaborative efforts on initiatives that could resonate with Americans. The question is whether we have what it takes to expend, on a priority (and continuing) basis, the efforts necessary to make a difference? Maybe it’s time for Canada, in a concerted fashion, to try to sell the U.S. administration, Congress, state governments, business and labour leaders, think tanks and other influencers on big-picture solutions to both bilateral irritants and common challenges. Forging an understanding among Americans of the value of collaboration is both a worthwhile and viable goal.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop

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How Russia's pipeline politics could split the alliance around Ukraine – CBC News

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Germany’s upcoming decision on whether to certify the controversial Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline is rapidly emerging as a key element in high-stakes diplomatic efforts to dissuade Moscow from invading Ukraine.

Delaying or cancelling the $11 billion project would have a significant impact on the Russian economy, depriving it of $3 billion US in annual revenue.

It also could serve to divide Ukraine’s allies as Russia continues to increase the pressure on the former Soviet bloc state.

Nord Stream 2 gives the new government of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “some leverage” over Moscow, said Matthew Schmidt, an associate professor and national security expert at the University of New Haven, Connecticut. 

“They can exert leverage in a way that works in concert with the rest of NATO,” he said. “If they do it in a way that doesn’t work in concert with NATO, then that could be a problem. They could put NATO in a bind.”

Tugboats get into position on the Russian pipe-laying vessel “Fortuna” in the port of Wismar, Germany, on Jan 14, 2021. The special vessel was being used for construction work on the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea. (Jens Buettner/AP)

During a recent meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Scholz hinted that his country could reconsider the project “if there is a military intervention against Ukraine.”

But the German government is under enormous pressure to relieve soaring natural gas prices — and Nord Stream 2 could end up heating up to 26 million homes in the country.

Playing the ‘pipeline card’

Holding out approval until there’s a peaceful resolution to the standoff over Ukraine would allow Russia to walk away with a win, said Schmidt. He said the U.S. did much the same thing to end the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when it withdrew its missiles from Turkey.

Schmidt said he believes Germany will hold on to the “pipeline card until the very end.”

In the meantime, Nord Stream 2 remains a source of division and irritation among Germany’s allies.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (centre), Governor of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wuest (left) and Mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey (right) address the media on Jan. 24, 2022. (Hannibal Hanschke/AP)

The pipeline is at the centre of a longstanding disagreement between the United States and Germany. Almost four years ago, then-U.S. president Donald Trump opened up a NATO leaders’ summit by attacking the project, warning it would make Germany a “captive” to Russian economic interests.

Nord Stream 2 was pulled back to the centre of allied politics earlier this month when Republicans in Washington pushed a bill that would have imposed sanctions on businesses involved in the project — despite President Joe Biden’s warning that such sanctions would have harmed relations with Germany at a critical juncture. Senate Democrats defeated the bill.

Ukraine stands to lose significant transit revenue when an existing Russian pipeline crossing its territory is shut down to make way for Nord Stream 2. Kyiv lobbied the U.S. Senate to impose the sanctions, while Germany argued against them.

Germany also has irritated Ukraine by blocking the sale of some defensive weapons to the government in Kyiv, which has been desperately canvassing the international arms market for high-tech systems to counter a possible invasion.

Schmidt said no one should be surprised at Berlin’s caution because the country’s export licensing policy places stringent conditions on the end uses of military equipment.

Great power politics is back on a scale not seen since the Cold War, said Roland Paris, a University of Ottawa professor of international affairs and former adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Putin ‘turned up the heat’

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “stress-testing the NATO alliance” looking for any division, real or perceived, among allies.

“Putin is flexible and opportunistic. He’s turned up the heat to see what happens,” said Paris. “If he can succeed in weakening the political unity of the NATO alliance, that will be a major accomplishment for him.”

Germany, he said, is “working out” how to deal with the threat of Russia using its energy supply as a weapon.

“There have been voices in Germany that have said Nord Stream 2 should continue regardless” of the crisis, Paris said. 

NATO allies have been calling for unity as they confront a massive buildup of Russian troops on three sides of Ukraine, and as Moscow continues to demand that the alliance roll back the deployment of NATO troops in Eastern Europe.

A Russian armoured vehicle drives off a railway platform after arrival in Belarus on Jan. 19, 2022. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia’s demands — including its insistence on an outright rejection of Ukraine’s bid to join NATO — have been shot down by the United States and its allies. Recently, Washington put up to 8,500 U.S. soldiers on heightened alert for a possible deployment to Eastern Europe.

Paris said now is the time for Ukraine’s allies to send reinforcements. He scoffed at Moscow’s claim that sending additional forces represents an escalation of the crisis.

“It’s a bit rich, [Russia] having invaded a sovereign country, and now to have over 100,000 troops poised to invade [Ukraine] and then saying NATO reinforcements are somehow the source of a provocation,” said Paris, referring to the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea.

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Environmental progress means changing politics for youth – National Observer

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We didn’t ask to save the world. But the reality is our planet is at an “all hands on deck” stage if we want a climate-safe future, so young people like us are stepping up.

To tip the scales in humanity’s favour, the ideas and energy of youth are needed at the decision-making table — in other words, in politics. According to a recent IPSOS survey,Canadian youth consider themselves to be most capable of making progress on climate change in the next five years (79 per cent), markedly higher than their confidence in their parents’ generation (55 per cent). Yet youth dissatisfaction and distrust of politics in Canada is high, as evidenced every time we have an election.

Elections Canada reports that voters aged 18 to 24 were the least likely to turn out in the 2019 federal election. Average turnout for this age group hovered just over 50 per cent compared to older demographic brackets, which all surpassed 60 per cent. Though the numbers are still being crunched, we know youth turnout dropped even further for the 2021 election due to the cancellation of campus voting programs.

It’s not just voting: less than 30 per cent of young Canadians reported having been in touch with political parties or candidates in the 2019 campaign, and youth are running for office at lower rates. In fact, new research into candidate demographics for federal elections from 2008 to 2019 shows that, where age data was available, more than 80 per cent of candidates were over 35.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. While youth are not a monolithic group, many of us feel the system has excluded and failed us, prioritizing the growth of an economy dependent on fossil fuels while ignoring the science of climate change. We aren’t fooled when politicians throw around the latest buzzwords, take half-measures and don’t back up their commitments with clear pathways forward.

It’s no wonder why some youth don’t participate on election day. Beyond not seeing ourselves represented at the ballot box — in age or diversity — each election brings countless promises to fix an unsustainable system that are too often whittled down, tossed aside or forgotten in favour of short-term priorities that help win the next election.

To gain the know-how needed to push for change, we’re both working in politics through GreenPAC’s Parliamentary Internship for the Environment Program, though our routes to getting here are very different.

(Owen studied environmental policy in university, and after graduating, felt the best way to bring about better policy was to get involved directly. Camilla’s background and future career aspirations are in corporate environmental sustainability, but what she’s learning now will help her create the collaborations that are so critical to transitioning society towards a sustainable future.)

While new on the Hill, we’re quickly realizing that many of the factors that keep youth out of politics, like entry barriers and lack of representation, also helped create the climate crisis.

We’re learning first-hand that even MPs with the vision and ambition to drive environmental change face real obstacles in their path. These barriers aren’t going to break themselves down, which is one reason why our program holds an annual FLIP Summit (Future Leaders in Politics) — to shine a light on these barriers and help youth push back through a better understanding of these obstacles.

GreenPAC’s 2.0 FLIP Summit, held this past Saturday, dug into issues like the connections between our voting system and climate progress; how candidate nomination races can be untransparent and undemocratic; and how Indigenous solutions and the right to self-determination can get overlooked as climate policy gets made.

As guest speaker Nunavut MP Lori Idlout described, politics is a “place of privilege.” And looking at the cancellation of a pipeline as a loss of revenue is a simplified and privileged lens that only sees immediate profit, but ignores the real costs of fossil fuel infrastructure, leads to environmental degradation, and ignores the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada has signed.

Opinion: By getting involved, youth can play a role in coming up with a better version of politics — one that stops excluding, disempowering and putting up walls against climate progress, write @CamillaStanley & @o_wilson99. #cdnpoli

We also heard from FLIP 2.0 speakers that the importance of youth involvement in politics cannot be overstated. Guest speaker Lisa Raitt, former deputy CPC leader, noted that it wasn’t the youngest party members who voted down the CPC’s resolution last year to acknowledge the reality of climate change — and that if more young people had been engaged, the outcome might have been different.

Alison Gu, Burnaby’s youngest ever city councillor (and alumna of our program), told attendees: Young people aren’t confined by the ways things have always been done.

By getting involved, youth can play a role in coming up with a better version of politics — one that stops excluding, disempowering and putting up walls against climate progress. As Amita Kuttner, interim leader of the Green Party of Canada told us after noting that change must come from the inside: “As a young person, as a queer person, as a trans person, as a racialized person, these systems were surely not built for me … so we change them. It is possible.”

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