Joshua Park is a junior studying history at Harvard University.
OTTAWA — Jean Charest has had a long run in Canadian politics. He was a cabinet minister under Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, a key “No” campaigner in the 1995 Quebec referendum and later a long-serving premier of the province. After 10 years in the private sector, Charest is back and vying to lead a much-changed federal Conservative party.
Born: June 24, 1958.
Early years: Charest was born in Sherbrooke, Que., in the eastern part of the province. He studied to become a lawyer, earning a law degree from the Université de Sherbrooke.
Before politics: He was called to the Quebec bar in 1981 and practised law for a few years, but Charest joined the political scene early. Not long after turning 26, he was elected to represent Sherbrooke for the Progressive Conservatives in the 1984 federal election.
Political record: Charest became the youngest cabinet minister in history at 28 when he was named Mulroney’s minister for youth. He became minister of sport in 1988, a position he resigned two years later amid a scandal over judicial interference. He returned to cabinet in 1991 as environment minister. In 1993, he was runner-up to Kim Campbell in a leadership contest and served briefly as her deputy prime minister and industry minister. He took over leadership of the party shortly after her election defeat. The mid-1990s saw a focus on Quebec’s push for sovereignty, with Charest serving as vice-president of the successful “No” campaign in the 1995 referendum. In 1998, Charest was wooed to lead the Quebec Liberals, which he brought to a majority government by 2003. He served as premier for nine years, hailed as a fiscal reformer but with his government and party battling corruption scandals. A provincial anticorruption unit investigation into his government’s dealings wrapped up in early 2022 and made no findings of wrongdoing.
Private sector: Charest is a partner with McCarthy Tétrault LLP and was briefly a consultant for Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company banned earlier this year from participating in Canada’s 5G networks over cyberespionage concerns.
Family: Charest married Michèle Dionne in 1980. They have three children.
Quote: “Am I ready to stand up for the things I believe in even if they are unpopular? The answer is yes. Because in the end, for me, it’s about doing the right thing. Otherwise what’s the point of politics? What’s the point? Just read the polls and follow them? Politics isn’t some sort of a cheap parade where you just throw yourself in front of the crowd and try to lead it. It’s about change. It’s about the country. It’s about the idea that we have about Canada.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2022.
Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press
Politics Podcast: Why Biden’s Unpopularity Doesn’t Seem To Be Tanking Democrats – FiveThirtyEight
A president’s approval rating is traditionally tied to how his party performs in a midterm election, but Democrats have been outpacing President Biden in the polls for months. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses how Biden’s approval rating may impact the midterm election and how the Democrats’ performance in November could influence the president’s 2024 reelection plans.
The team also debates whether tracking Google search terms over time is a better barometer than traditional polling when it comes to understanding the issues shaping American voting patterns. Lastly, politics reporter Alex Samuels and visual journalist Elena Mejía break down their reporting on how Black voters are changing the political landscape of Georgia.
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.
Jersey States events aim to engage islanders with politics – BBC
Islanders have the chance to engage with elected States members with a series of events this week.
The third annual Democracy Week aims to allow “islanders of all ages to engage with Jersey’s unique political system in a variety of fun, creative ways”.
From Monday to Thursday drop-in sessions will be held with States members on Brook Street and there is an online Q&A session on Tuesday.
There will also be chances for guided tours of the States Chamber.
In addition, States members will be delivering a range of activities in schools during the week, including Les Quennevais, Springfield, Samares, Beaulieu, Hautlieu, Plat Douet, St George’s and Le Rocquier.
Molly Jehan, education manager at the States Greffe, said: “We’re really excited to announce this year’s programme of activities.
“Following June’s election, our priority is to help islanders of all ages to connect with their elected representatives and understand how to continue to use their voice to influence the future of Jersey.
“All activities are free of charge, with some great competition prizes on offer.”
Other events include a poetry competition, a quiz, and a meet the member video series on social media.
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Opinion | Can the next generation change politics? – The Washington Post
Many young people lament the broken, polarized politics we stand to inherit. But do we have the courage to change them?
On a Monday morning this summer, feeling the lazy buzz of Washington heat, I showed up early to an event hosted by the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Republican National Committee. I was a tad early, so I sat in the cooled lobby to wait.
The minutes ticked by, yet no one came. This was new. At other Harvard Institute of Politics events this summer, there was always a healthy gathering of interested undergraduates. A lunch with a senior Biden administration official drew 16 students. A trip to the labor secretary’s office got a dozen.
But as we edged closer to the meeting time, it was apparent that we were not going to match those numbers at the RNC. By 2 p.m., it was just me and one other student.
In fact, there were more panelists than students. Over the next hour, four senior communications directors at the RNC shared their career pathways, talked to us about how their organization was structured and respectfully offered their concerns on the future of U.S. democracy. Like every other event this summer, this one was primarily designed to be educational and informative, not overtly political or partisan. The issue of the empty seats went unmentioned for most of the meeting — until we got up to take a group photo at the end. By then, it was four panelists, a couple of the institute’s organizing staff and me.
The Harvard Institute of Politics is the university’s umbrella organization for all things politics. Its annual Summer in Washington programming invites politicians, diplomats and bureaucrats to meet with Harvard undergraduates who are interning in D.C.
This summer, the question of polarization came up at almost every one of these seminars. When guest speakers discussed the need for both parties to get together and find common ground, students nodded their heads. Everyone, red and blue, agreed that some parts of Congress were not working like they used to. Everyone agreed that talking and sharing experiences with people on the other side was one small but obvious solution.
It turned out this was easier said than done.
As an Australian and someone who first stepped into the United States three years ago for college, I was — and still am — concerned for the health of U.S. democracy. In Australia, the strength of American democracy is often seen as a test of the strength of democratic government around the world. But in recent years, the American union seemed to be fraying.
The summer gave me a chance to go beyond Cambridge, Mass., and explore the capital of the republic firsthand. In this spirit, I went to virtually every event the institute hosted, regardless of political affiliation. After the trip to the RNC, I was curious why my peers had not attended. I was especially curious the very next day when some 10 classmates joined me on a trip to the Democratic National Committee.
So, I asked. One sophomore explained that she believed being in the same room with the other side was a form of endorsement or legitimization. She described how she felt alienated by certain Republican arguments and policies. But she also believed in bipartisanship and hoped that the other side would come to her table more often. It was unfair to expect one side to behave in a certain way, she argued, when the other side was not reciprocating.
I empathized with her perspective, but I couldn’t help but wonder, so what now? Someone needs to disrupt the polarization spiral downward and start rebuilding cross-partisan relationships. Sitting in the same room, listening to the other side respectfully, felt like a small and necessary first step.
This was Harvard’s first Summer in Washington program in three years. In some sense, the summer of 2022 was a political experiment. How would the students react to these events across the partisan spectrum? The results challenged our images of ourselves as open-minded students eager to learn from different perspectives. Despite all our chatter about the need for cross-aisle conversation, when we Harvard students were the ones put to the test, we failed.
These students are future leaders of this country. Many of my friends who interned in Washington this summer expressed interest in a career in politics. They hope to run for office someday. Many of them are also concerned about the direction democracy is heading. They want to play an active role in changing that.
During every panel this summer, from every shade of the political spectrum, the speakers expressed one thing in common. There was a tone of great expectation when they talked about our generation. A sense of potential that we have yet to realize, a trace of hope. The message was clear: We were where the pendulum would swing next.
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