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Jody Wilson-Raybould, Jane Philpott to feature Memorial University talk on discipline in party politics




A political panel discussion on Thursday in St. John’s will feature two of last year’s biggest Canadian newsmakers.

Two former Liberal cabinet ministers — Jody Wilson-Raybould and Dr. Jane Philpott — will be on hand for “Navigating Party Discipline,” an event sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada (Atlantic) and Memorial University’s Scholarship in the Arts program.

Wilson-Raybould and Philpott were removed from the Liberal caucus last April in the aftermath of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

A subsequent report from federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had improperly pressured Wilson-Raybould, who was the justice minister, regarding the prosecution of Canadian company SNC-Lavalin.

Wilson-Raybould, who didn’t interfere with the court case, was removed from the justice portfolio about a month before The Globe and Mail broke the story about the scandal. Thursday’s event will happen almost a year to the day after that story was published.

Philpott, who worked as a doctor before entering politics, resigned from her cabinet position as president of the Treasury Board over the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

The scandal almost cost Trudeau a second term as prime minister.

Philpott and Wilson-Raybould both ran for re-election as independent candidates, with only Wilson-Raybould retaining her seat.

Philpott, who spoke with The Telegram by phone earlier this week, said she expects Thursday’s conversation to be very interesting. Independent MHA Paul Lane, former MP Ryan Cleary and MUN political science professor Alex Marlard will join Philpott and Wilson-Raybould on the panel, with Michael Morden from the Toronto-based Samara Centre for Democracy MCing the event.

“The conversation we’ll have this week will be interesting because what I hear from Canadians is that they want their representatives to do the job of representation and to really listen to their constituents and do the best job they can — speaking up on their behalf,” said Philpott, who lives in Stouffville, Ont. “There are times when that may require them to respond to an issue slightly differently than what the broad party approach is. I think those are conversations responsible representatives need to have. I think people want to see politics done a little differently.”

Sitting as an independent

After she was removed from caucus, Philpott spent several months in Parliament as an independent MP. She said she enjoyed the freedom that came with not belonging to a specific party and had hoped to retain her seat as an independent in the 2019 election, but, at this time, she has no thoughts of returning to politics.

“I could vote on bills according to what I believed based on the evidence and based on what I had heard from constituents. Often, that was along the lines of the party I had previously been involved in, but it wasn’t always. I think it’s healthy to be able to realize that the real job of members of Parliament is to make the best possible decisions for Canadians, and particularly for the Canadians you’re sent to represent.”

Philpott said she recognizes the need for balance in weighing the concerns of constituents with those of a political party, adding there’s research to suggest this balance tips more toward the party, which now exerts a stronger control over messaging.

Marland — who has a book coming out later this year about party discipline in Canada — backs up this assertion. “Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada” was a three-year project for Marland, built on 131 in-depth interviews with politicians and political staff.

“What’s happening now is political parties are much more careful about who they’re recruiting,” he said. “They have to go through a long vetting exercise to become part of the party. During the campaign, they’re also told, ‘Stay on message.’ By the time you’re elected, you really have it drilled into you that you’re part of a team. Politicians talk about that all of the time. You’re part of a team. The idea of being part of the team is you have to always speak with one voice. A lot of it is much more voluntary and almost normalized than a lot of us think. A lot of us think it’s draconian, when actually a lot of them just inherently agree.”

Co-ordinated effort

In general, Marland contends party politics has become much more co-ordinated over the years.

“My argument is that party discipline used to be about making sure everybody voted the same way. What I found is party discipline has really moved from what happens inside legislatures to external. Now it’s much more co-ordinated. Everyone has to say the same thing all of the time. More specifically, they all have to stay on message and on brand.”

The existence of social media today allows party handlers to make sure politicians stick with the approved message and alerts them quickly when someone strays from that message.

“It’s become a monitoring device rather than necessarily something that allows people to say what they like,” Marland said.

While the option is always there for politicians to say what they like publicly, Marland suggests doing so leaves them at risk of being booted from caucus.

The party system that governs Canadian politics at federal and provincial levels has existed for a long time, and Philpott says it is a strong one with the potential to bring together likeminded individuals to work toward common goals. However, she cautioned there needs to be some flexibility within that system to recognize the fact not everyone will think alike on all issues.

“If we can find respectful ways to be able to speak freely, Canadians will benefit from that,” she says.

In the current political climate, Marland suggests there are politicians who choose to be a strong voice behind closed doors within caucus meetings and who may push back against the will of their party, unbeknownst to the public.

“I can think of some politicians in Newfoundland who do it, and they do it quite well, but the general public wouldn’t know that,” he said.

Thursday’s event takes place in Room IIC-2001 of the Bruneau Centre and starts at 7 p.m. It’s free to the public, with free parking available in Area 1A. It will feature moderated opening comments and a question-and-answer discussion. Marland will also offer a sneak peek from his upcoming book.

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Liberals planning temporary solution to dental care promise: sources



OTTAWA — Sources close to the government’s proposed $5.3-billion dental-care program say the Liberals are planning a temporary solution that involves giving money directly to patients in order to keep their promise to the NDP while they work on a permanent answer.

The Liberals promised the NDP a new dental-care program for low- and middle-income families in March as part of a supply and confidence agreement to prevent an election before 2025.

The government has until the end of the year to provide some kind of coverage for children under the age of 12 with an annual household income of less than $90,000.

The NDP have vowed to walk away from the deal if the deadline isn’t met.

Four sources with knowledge of the government’s plan, but who are not authorized to speak publicly, say the government is unlikely to meet its deadline, and is planning a stopgap solution until a permanent incarnation of the program is put in place.

Though details are scarce, the sources say the temporary solution would involve giving qualifying families the money directly to fund their dental health services while the government works on a more permanent, expanded program.

In a statement, the health minister’s staff did not confirm or deny the temporary plan but say they are on track to deliver on the dental-care commitment as outlined in the agreement with the New Democrats.

NDP health critic Don Davies did not directly address the temporary plan either, but said in a statement the party has “identified several ways to ensure the target groups can access dental care on the identified timelines.”

The NDP are now focused on pushing the Liberals to introduce dental-care legislation when Parliament resumes in the fall, Davies said.

“That legislation will deliver the resources needed to help children under 12 see a dentist and care for their teeth this year,” he said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh echoed the health minister’s faith about meeting the deadline last week.

“We’re very confident we can achieve that before the end of the year, as our agreement outlines,” Singh said at a news conference last Thursday.

The agreement isn’t prescriptive about how the coverage should be achieved, and the government hasn’t committed to any particular means of administering the program yet.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos’s office has said repeatedly the department is looking at several options to meet its commitment and its end-of-year deadline.

The NDP originally envisioned a federal program that functions similarly to the federal health-benefits program run for uninsured First Nations and Inuit people.

The federal government could also offer money to provinces and territories to take it over, since many already offer similar programs and dental care has traditionally fallen within their jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the Liberals put out a formal request for information (RFI) to members of the insurance industry two weeks ago to explore what role private companies could play in administering the program.

In that RFI, the government says if a contract is awarded the winning company would be given six months to get ready before processing claims. That timeline would be impossible to achieve before the end of December.

According to the statement from Duclos’s staff, they’re still consulting on the best way forward.

The Liberals have promised to extend the program to qualifying teens, seniors and persons living with disabilities next year and everyone else in the qualifying family-income bracket by the end of the supply and confidence agreement in 2025.

“It comes as no surprise that the Trudeau government is not living up to a commitment it made to buy the NDP’s support,” Conservative health critic Michael Barrett said in a statement.

Barrett said Canadians should be concerned that the government is not committed to maintaining the current health system, “much less adding a new complex and expensive program to it.”

The government set aside $5.3 billion over five years for the program, but the parliamentary budget officer’s estimate is nearly double that at $9 billion.

Once the program is fully implemented, the Liberals’ 2022 budget predicts it will cost about $1.7 billion per year to run, which is in line with the PBO’s estimate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2022.


Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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Pakistan politics based on element of vindictiveness; Imran latest victim – Business Standard



in is based on an element of vindictiveness which often tends to make the creator or supporter of a particular law, victim of his own doing. This vicious political cycle has affected the lives and careers of several prominent politicians in the country and would now come to haunt former Prime Minister .

The accusations against Khan in the Toshakhana case is far more complex than it appears and is a matter of serious concern for the former premier. While on the face of it, the case might not appear as part of a major corruption scandal involving embezzlement of crores of state funds, it nevertheless hinges on a principle stand adopted by the Supreme Court on need for earnings to be declared by politicians, including Prime Ministers.

In the case of Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court had disqualified him from participating in national for life, which also became the basis for his removal from the post of Prime Minister. In the Sharif case, the accusation against him was for having not declared a certain amount which he was to have received (but had not yet received) from certain sources. The initial part of the Supreme Court declaration in the case had mentioned: “It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his unwithdrawn receivables constituting assets from XYZ sources in his nomination papers filed for general elections held in 2013, Sharif remains disqualified from being member of Parliament as per Article 62(1)F of the Constitution.”

It is worth noting that in the Nawaz Sharif case, even though he had not received the said amount, the fact that he was due to receive the amount, and had consciously avoided declaring the same in the statement of returns before the Election Commission, led the Supreme Court to come up with, what many members of the Pakistani legal fraternity considered as, a ‘controversial’ and ‘harsh’ decision. However, the fact remains that the decision was implemented and Nawaz Sharif was removed from position. Members of the PTI and PML-Q celebrated the occasion appreciating the decision of the Supreme Court.

According to reports, Khan had earned around 36 million PKR by illegally selling three watches gifted to him by foreign dignitaries to a local watch dealer. Apparently, Khan during his tenure as prime minister earned millions of rupees from these jewel-class watches collectively worth over 154 million PKR. The watches were gifted to him by foreign leaders. The most expensive watch, of more than 101 million PKR value, was apparently retained by Khan at 20 per cent of its value after his government amended the Toshakhana rules and settled the gift retention price at 50 per cent (not 20 per cent) of its original value. Moreover, he did so without ever declaring the gifts to the Election Commission and getting them evaluated.

If Nawaz Sharif was considered ‘dishonest’ by the Supreme Court for not declaring an amount he had not received, in the case of Khan his having received a certain amount from the sale of gifts received by him during his foreign tours and not declaring the same, poses an ever more serious threat to Khan. The precedence thus set by the Supreme Court would be a challenge to Khan to deal with. The more sinister aspect of the Khan case is that on receiving the costly gifts, he failed to declare them to the Toshakhana and retained them with him before disposing them.

Khan had received most of the gifts in 2018 during his foreign travels and should have ideally declared these in the 2019 statement of returns. Likewise, he did not declare the gifts received in 2019 in the 2020 statement of returns, thus committing a serious act of “dishonesty” towards the nation and the people of .

Even though the Supreme Court decision against Nawaz Sharif was considered ‘drastic’ and ‘unusual’ and was criticised by the legal fraternity and political analysts, the fact remains that the Supreme Court decision has become a precedence and remains in place. Moreover, considering Nawaz Sharif had to give up the post of Prime Minister and has been banned for life from participating in elections, based on this decision of the Supreme Court, there is no reason why the same norms would not apply in the case of Khan.

The Sharif brothers would ensure that Khan is not spared on this count even though Khan would try to exploit his support base in the public domain to create strong opposition against the decision. The situation undoubtedly looks bleak for Khan as his fate now remains in the hands of the judiciary and the establishment.




(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Politics Trump Policy – AAF – American Action Forum



It is done. The Senate has passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) using reconciliation procedures. Outside of the political imperative to “get something done,” there is little in the IRA to commend. It won’t reduce inflation. As a stand-alone, the health provisions are incoherent. And “historic” investment in combatting climate change is part of a larger strategy that never made sense, is chump change compared to the cost of the problem, and has been badly warped by the administration’s fealty to unionization efforts. It’s all bad enough.

That includes the tax policy – especially the book minimum tax. The basic idea was that a large firm ($1 billion in financial income) would pay the greater of 21 percent of its taxable income or 15 percent of the income reported in financial statements (book income). This was never a good idea.

It was tried in 1986 and eliminated in 1989. It was too complex to administer and comply with – nothing has improved on either front with the passage of time. It provided an incentive to distort the financial reporting for tax purposes; why would the United States want to do a U-turn on the progress made on this front in the aftermath of the Enron and Worldcom scandals? It also punished the wrong firms. The only legal way to get the effective rate down is to take advantage of things that Congress itself wrote into the tax code – accelerated depreciation and expensing, research and development tax credits, and so forth. Even advocates of the IRA acknowledged this was not good policy. It was softened to acknowledge depreciation deductions to reduce the hit on manufacturers and defended on the grounds that it would affect only 100 to 200 firms.

The Senate even tried to make it worse. On Saturday when the legislative text for the tax provisions was finally, and for the first time, made public, it contained a huge “gotcha.” Suppose that there were four firms, each with $300 million in book income, each of which had as a common majority investor an investment fund like a private equity. Under the IRA, these four firms would be deemed a $1.2 billion single firm, and subject to the 15 percent book tax.

This would have increased the number of affected firms dramatically, perhaps by as many as 15,000 to 20,000. But more important, it would have distorted much more economic activity and raised the headwinds to growth considerably. Fortunately, the provision was dropped during the debate, limiting the impact of the book tax.

In sum, the IRA won’t reduce inflation, is anti-growth, assaults innovation in the biopharma sector of the economy, and its climate provisions are poorly designed and puny relative to problem. As years pass, the IRA will appear less and less appealing. There may be political celebrating, but it is not a policy win.

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