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Jean Charest got his final debate audience, but will the support he seeks follow?

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OTTAWA — Jean Charest compared opponents who didn’t show up to the federal Conservatives’ final leadership debate to fish not wanting to swim.

But with six weeks left until a winner is named, Wednesday’s eventwas largely an opportunity for the ex-Quebec premier to fish for votes.

“It’s the only strategy remaining,” said veteran Conservative strategist Melanie Paradis.

Charest had pressed the party to hold a third and final debate in the contest and applauded its decision to make it bilingual.

He appeared alongside rural Ontario MP Scott Aitchison and former Ontario MPP Roman Baber, while fellow candidates Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre decided to skip.

Charest’s path to victory is believed to be a narrow one at best, and runs through his home province of Quebec, along with Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

His campaign has struck a more moderate tone and offered a suite of policies around spousal violence and health care, safety and climate change.

Throughout the race, as in Wednesday’s debate, Charest hammered home that the party needs his experience as a political leader. He once served as leader of the erstwhile federal Progressive Conservatives and spent time as a minister in Brian Mulroney’s cabinet.

Charest’s attempt to lead the federal Conservatives has been a political comeback of sorts, with him having spent 20 years off Parliament Hill and the last decade out of elected politics.

His main rival Poilievre has been a member of Parliament since 2004 and boasts having sold nearly 312,000 party memberships during the race — a figure party headquarters hasn’t publicly verified.

All told, the party says it has a voter list nearly 679,000 names long, 400,000 of which are believed to be new members.

With only 150,000 ballots returned to party headquarters as of Wednesday, Charest is speaking to the thousands who haven’t yet filled theirs out.

At this stage, Paradis says Charest’s only play is to try to appeal to as many supporters of other candidates as he can, in hopes they mark his name down on the party’s ranked ballot.

“The real question is, if you’re a Scott Aitchison supporter and you haven’t filled out your ballot yet, are you now thinking, ‘Well, maybe it’s too close and I need to put Charest first’?”

During the debate, Charest was complimentary of both Aitchison and Baber. He agreed with Aitchison’s calls for party unity and said Baber acted admirably when he stood for his belief against COVID-19 lockdowns, which got him booted from Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative caucus.

At one point in the debate Charest spoke directly to members, telling them: “All of you have a place at the table, I want you to know that.”

Rudy Husny, a political analyst and former Tory leadership candidate, says Quebec is crucial for Charest to win, and points to fundraising figures that show Poilievre is not to be underestimated next to the province’s former leader.

Filings with Elections Canada show Poilievre raked in more than $4 million compared to Charest’s $1.3 million.

Husny says the fact Poilievre drew money in from more Quebec donors than Charest did is a strong indicator of how many people are involved in the process and might be willing to turn up and vote.

Figures released by the party show the number of Conservative members in the province also swelled during the race to more than 58,000, up from the 7,648 it reported at the end of 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2022.

 

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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Politics Briefing: Nishnawbe Aski Nation opposes possible location for nuclear waste storage site – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Chiefs-in-Assembly passed a resolution on Wednesday “vehemently” opposing the possibility of an underground storage site for nuclear waste, which could be built between Ignace and Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation in northern Ontario.

Chiefs expressed deep concern over the possibility of such a site during discussions at NAN’s annual Keewaywin Conference, which is being held in Timmins. Ignace, as well as Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, would hold the approval power for the project if their region is ultimately selected. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is also still considering South Bruce in Ontario as a possible location for its deep geological repository, which would see spent nuclear fuel stored roughly 500-metres underground.

“Northern Ontario is not a garbage can,” said Chief Ramona Sutherland of Constance Lake First Nation. “We work for seven generations of our people – I don’t want to pass this down to my son, my grandson, and then his sons.”

Chief Wayne Moonias, of Neskantaga First Nation, called the proposal disturbing, and said “the thought of having a nuclear waste site in our area, it’s just not something that we can live with … Our homelands are at stake with this proposal.”

A potential spill, Mr. Moonias cautioned, would not just affect the site itself. “It’s going to impact our river system. It’s going to impact our sturgeon. Our sturgeon is so important in our community,” he said.

The resolution called for Nishnawbe Aski Nation to take action to prevent the NWMO from placing any nuclear waste in NAN traditional territories, including forming a committee, engaging in civil protests and considering legal action.

Jennifer Guerrieri, a NAN staffer, said in a presentation Wednesday that a choice between the two potential sites is expected roughly within the next six months.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for 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 signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

NO NATIONAL TRACKING – Canada does not have a national system for tracking or preventing shortages of nurses and other medical workers, which health leaders say has contributed to hospitals across the country temporarily shuttering emergency rooms and intensive-care units this summer. Story here.

ALBERTA EASES REGULATIONS – The Alberta government has eased some restrictions on the province’s four major universities that prevented them from forming new partnerships with entities or individuals linked to the Chinese government. Story here.

TRUMP HITS BACK WITH VIDEO – Former U.S. president Donald Trump has unveiled a new video to present himself as the best person to lead the country, following an FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate. Story here.

ANALYSIS OF TRUMP RAID – The Justice Department has never before requested, or received, a search warrant to go through the home of a former American leader. Story here.

ALBERTA AWARDS PRIZE – Alberta’s legislature awarded a prize to an essay that equated immigration to “cultural suicide” and argued women are “not exactly equal” to men. Story here.

DENTAL DEAL MAY FACE BUMPS – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Liberal government is working to meet its end-of-year deadline to deliver dental care coverage to children, but that providing new services is complicated. Story by the Canadian Press here.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

MINISTER FOR WOMEN IN WINNIPEG – Marci Ien, the federal minister for women and gender equality and youth, announced $30-million to support crisis hotlines across Canada on Wednesday.

SUPPORT FOR ACADIAN GATHERING – Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the federal minister of official languages, announced $4.6-million to help organize the next Congrès mondial acadien (Acadian World Congress), which will be held in August, 2024 in southwestern Nova Scotia.

THE DECIBEL

During The Decibel’s Food Week, Adrian Lee, a content editor at the Globe and Mail’s Opinion section, came on the show to consider the economic and cultural importance of potatoes. Episode here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is on a two-week vacation in Costa Rica.

LEADERS

No schedules provided for party leaders.

OPINION

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on Trump’s possible “rendezvous with reality:”When the smoke clears, then, we are probably going to find that Mr. Trump is in a world of trouble. That it came to this, after all, was only because he refuses, more than 18 months after leaving the White House, to give up the documents voluntarily. Which suggests he is every bit as conscious as the DoJ of how explosive they are. And these aren’t the only legal perils he faces … One way or another, the odds are increasing that Mr. Trump will soon face his own Alex Jones moment, a rendezvous with reality.

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on limited support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Can Mr. Trudeau rise from the stupor in which he currently finds himself? It’s possible. He has a fairly long runway ahead of him thanks to the NDP. But a lot of the damage that has been done to the Trudeau brand is likely irreversible. The Prime Minister is many things, but stupid he is not. He can see what’s going on. The question is – what will he do about it?

Elaine Craig (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on compensating women victimized by players: Until we successfully press antiquated organizations such as Hockey Canada to change, we need to accept the inevitable. So why shouldn’t hockey parents pay a small amount each year into a fund to help compensate the women who will be sexually victimized by some of the kids currently being steeped in the sport’s toxic environment? Ultimately, here’s why we should be most angry: It doesn’t have to be this way.

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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Politics Podcast: Republican Outsiders Have Made Their Mark This Cycle – FiveThirtyEight

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FiveThirtyEight

 

In Minnesota’s special general election on Tuesday, Republican Brad Finstad won by only 4 percentage points in the 1st Congressional District, where then-President Donald Trump won by double digits in 2020, adding evidence to the idea that the GOP is experiencing a backlash after the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion.

In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew breaks down this election as well as notable primary races in Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. They also look at how incumbents are faring in the midterm primaries overall and discuss the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s home in Florida, and what that may mean for the Justice Department’s larger investigation.

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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Opinion | Donald Trump’s Politics of Persecution – The New York Times

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After the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday — an extraordinary event in the history of the United States — the former president and his allies immediately began to howl that Trump was being persecuted.

Trump issued a statement that said his “beautiful home” was “currently under siege, raided and occupied” and “nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the United States before.” Left out of this victimhood framing was that this wasn’t so much an action but a reaction — a reaction to a president corrupt on a level this country has never seen before.

Trump wrote in his statement, of course referring to himself in the third person, that “the political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years” and “it just never ends.”

The pivotal word there was “persecution.”

Persecution is a powerful social concept. It moves people to empathize with and defend those perceived to have been wronged. It rouses righteous indignation. And it produces the moral superiority of long suffering.

For instance, central to the story of the three Abrahamic religions — Christianity, Judaism and Islam — is the presence of persecution and the ultimate overcoming of it.

The origin story of America itself is of a country born of religious persecution as a group of English separatists searched for a place where they could experience religious freedom.

And many of the most celebrated historical figures around the world — Galileo, Joan of Arc, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela — were persecuted.

Throughout history, political persecutions of whole populations have led to ghastly crimes against humanity. Some continue to this day, like China’s oppression of the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang being subjected to internment camps and forced sterilization.

In January of last year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it an ongoing genocide, saying that “we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uyghurs by the Chinese party-state.”

But alongside these stories of actual persecution are scoundrels pretending to be persecuted, activating the same defensive human instincts in people that genuine accounts do.

American politics continues to be dictated by persecution. There are both the historical and modern iterations of the persecution of women, L.G.B.T.Q. people and racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Where advances have been made, they have often been, generally speaking, pushed by liberals and resisted by conservatives.

But with those liberal victories, conservatives came to see themselves as the new persecuted class, reversing the roles. Restricting their ability to discriminate was to them an undue burden.

They robed their supposed persecution in religion, what the Barnard College professor of religion Elizabeth A. Castelli calls the “Christian persecution complex.” “There is no precise origin point” for the complex, she wrote in 2007, “though political activism organized under the sign of ‘religious persecution’ and ‘religious freedom’ has certainly grown substantially in the last decade and most pressingly in the post-September 11th context.”

As Castelli told me on Wednesday, the presidential elections of Barack Obama on one side and Trump on the other have amplified the complex, instilling in conservatives even greater feelings of loss and of being under siege.

I would argue that the entire MAGA movement was born of Trump weaponizing the siege ideology held by many Americans — white replacement theory, immigrant invasion and loss of culture — and framing himself as their messiah and potential martyr.

Trump’s movement was propped up by what the political theorist William E. Connolly calls the “evangelical-capitalist resonance machine.”

“What is the connection today between evangelical Christianity, cowboy capitalism, the electronic news media and the Republican Party?” Connolly asked in a paper he wrote in 2005. Pointing out that these groups do not always share the same religious and economic doctrines, he argued that a broader sensibility is what connects them. “The complex becomes a powerful machine as evangelical and corporate sensibilities resonate together,” he wrote, “drawing each into a larger movement that dampens the importance of doctrinal differences between them.”

Connolly theorized that these seemingly disparate groups are bound together by a kind of spiritual existentialism, and wrote that “their ruthlessness, ideological extremism, readiness to defend a market ideology in the face of significant evidence and compulsion to create or condone scandals against any party who opposes their vision of the world express a fundamental disposition toward being in the world.”

I don’t think Trump understands this on an intellectual level or is even aware of it. I don’t believe the man reads. But in his own selfish, craven desire to pilfer and prosper, he understands the workings of the machine — and how to exploit it — on a gut level.

On Monday, Trump once again claimed that efforts to hold him accountable were evidence of political persecution, and his followers rallied to his defense.

In fact, reports like one from Reuters on Tuesday claim that the search of Trump’s home may actually have boosted him, placing him in his “political sweet spot,” allowing him to play victim of “institutional forces” — the Deep State — “at a time when his grip on the party appeared to be slipping.”

For Trump, the politics of persecution is both his security blanket and his weapon of choice.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and Instagram.

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