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Less pipeline politics polarization now between B.C. and Alberta

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In April 2019, right after the United Conservative Party (UCP) secured a majority mandate in Alberta’s election, the prospect of a unique conflict between provincial governments was palpable. Premier Jason Kenney began to ponder “turn off the taps” legislation due to the perceived B.C. government opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

A few weeks later, the federal government re-approved the pipeline expansion. In July 2020, all legal challenges to the proposed project effectively ended. Since then, we have had other developments. B.C. Premier John Horgan stands ready to assemble a majority government after last month’s election. Kenney, who has presided over a provincial administration that has consistently garnered subpar ratings for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, still has two and a half years left in his majority mandate.

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With this “new normal” in mind, Research Co. and Glacier Media asked residents of British Columbia and Alberta about their views on the pipeline. We found that the two solitudes that seemed ready to bicker in 2019 are starting to share the same feelings on specific aspects of this project.

More than half of British Columbians (52%) agree with the federal government’s decision to re-approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. This represents a four-point drop since we last reviewed the issue in December 2019, but nowhere near the almost even splits that dominated this question in years past.

Sizable proportions of residents of northern B.C. (70%) and southern B.C. (63%) favour the pipeline expansion, along with 51% of Metro Vancouverites and 50% of those in the Fraser Valley. On Vancouver Island, traditionally the the province’s most environmentally friendly area, opinions are more nuanced: 42% are in favour of the project, and 35% are against it.

While 74% of BC Liberal voters in the most recent provincial election are in favour of the pipeline expansion, support stands at 51% among BC NDP voters and just 38% among BC Green Party voters.

The push for action that would delay or cancel construction is stagnant. Two in five British Columbians (40%) think the provincial government should do anything necessary to ensure that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion does not happen – unchanged since December 2019.

We see little movement as well on the proportion of British Columbians who think the pipeline will create hundreds of jobs for residents of the province (68%, unchanged) and on how many believe the expansion threatens the health and safety of British Columbians (44%, down one point).

Most British Columbians (54%, down five points) are disappointed with the way the federal government has handled the expansion, and 38% (down one point) foresee lower gas prices as a result of this project.

In Alberta, the numbers tilt heavily in favour of carrying on. Almost three in four Albertans (74%) agree with the federal government’s decision to re-approve the pipeline expansion, and just 15% are opposed.

While 40% of British Columbians are willing to stop the project, only 22% of Albertans feel the same way. An even smaller proportion (17%) describe the expansion as a threat to the health and safety of Albertans, and practically four in five (79%) think it will create hundreds of jobs in the province.

The one aspect where the numbers are similar is Ottawa. Almost three in five Albertans (59%, five points higher than in British Columbia) are disappointed with how the federal government has handled the pipeline expansion.

The pipeline file has been extremely complex in British Columbia. On some issues, the views of the province are starting to align with what Albertans have long wanted – especially with a struggling economy. Opposition to the project has remained low this year due to a combination of factors: genuine concerns over job creation and a sense of resignation after the federal government’s direct intervention to keep the project afloat. •

Mario Canseco is president of Research Co.

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 29 to October 31, 2020, among 800 adults in British Columbia, and an online study conducted from November 2 to November 4, 2020, among 700 adults in Alberta. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for British Columbia and plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for Alberta, 19 times out of 20.

Source:- Powell River Peak

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Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth to launch political party – CKPGToday.ca

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His political prospects appear bright following a vacuum created by the deaths of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned politician with the governing party in the state, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the leader of the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.

Cinema has always influenced Tamil politics by turning actors into popular politicians.

C.N. Annadurai and M. Karunanidhi were scriptwriters who went on to become chief ministers. M.G. Ramachandran, a top actor-turned-politician, also had a strong following.

Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor for three years before joining an acting school. He started in small roles as a villain in Tamil cinema and worked his way up, landing roles in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan also tried his hand in politics as a member of India’s Parliament, representing the Congress party in support of his friend, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the 1980s. He resigned after three years following allegations that he accepted bribes in the purchase of artillery guns. His name was later cleared in the scandal.

Ashok Sharma, The Associated Press

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COVID-19 doesn't care about politics – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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Remember the Team Canada approach to fighting COVID-19, the one where political parties would put the collective fight above partisan interests? Remember “we’re all in this together?”

That was all so yesterday. Today, there is very little non-partisan co-operation between federal parties. And Canadians, too, have become increasingly partisan and divided.

It was probably all inevitable, but it’s unfortunate, nonetheless.

Partisanship has entirely replaced bilateral co-operation in Ottawa. The government stands accused of flubbing Canada’s vaccine program. Because of that mismanagement we are at “the back of the line,” according to federal Conservatives.

It is true that the government, and especially the prime minister, have been unnecessary vague about vaccine delivery and rollout details. It is not true that we are at the back of the pack. Canada was the fourth country in the world to strike an agreement with Pfizer, one of the vaccine producers. It was one of the first to sign up with Moderna, another producer.

Moderna co-founder and chair Noubar Afeyan, who came to Canada as a refugee from Beirut before he moved to the U.S., says this country is in good shape. In an interview with CBC News, he said “Canada’s not at the back of the line,” adding “Each of the contracts we negotiated — and Canada was among the first to enter into a supply arrangement with Moderna — is individual, and of course the people who were willing to move early on, with even less proof of efficacy, have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to. I know in the case of Canada their number is about 20 million doses.”

It is fair to criticize the Liberals for their communication to date around vaccines, but it is not factual to claim Canada is at the back of the line. However, that is a good example of how partisan strategy has replaced the collaboration that was a welcome feature of the pandemic’s early days.

It is also true that Canada will not get vaccines as quickly as countries like the U.S. and U.K., where vaccines were developed and produced. This country doesn’t have that production capacity. It did at one point. There was publicly owned Connaught Labs, which was privatized under the Mulroney Conservative government in the ’80s. Later, the Harper government cut research and development spending and other pharmaceutical companies closed shop and moved elsewhere. Now that capacity is largely gone, and it needs to be replaced, urgently.

A similar partisan divide exists among Canadians overall, according to recent opinion polling data. In general, Liberal and NDP voter respondents in several different polls were more likely to be primarily concerned about the health impact of COVID-19, while those who identified as Conservative were more likely to be concerned about the economic and business impact. According to polling by the Angus Reid Institute, 89 per cent of respondents who voted Liberal, NDP or Bloc reported regularly wearing masks, while 71 per cent of Conservative voters reported doing the same.

Interestingly, one poll by Leger suggests many Canadians are not so concerned about getting the vaccine at the same time as the U.S. or U.K., where vaccines are produced. Forty-eight per cent said that they were “not that concerned” and feel “a few months won’t make much of a difference,” while 37 per cent said they are worried that we won’t get the vaccine at the same time.

The point that matters most is this: COVID-19 doesn’t care about our political leaning. It is an equal opportunity virus. And that should unite us more than anything else.

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SIMPSON: If pettiness of politics around Surrey feels familiar, there's a good reason why – Surrey Now-Leader

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If you had to describe Surrey’s political climate in one word, which would you choose?

Divisive? Too easy.

Defective? Depends on whose side you’re on.

Dysfunctional? You can’t argue with that, can you?

Anybody who follows municipal politics in our area knows that for a journalist, the city council beat can be a particularly juicy one, especially when presented with the right mix of contentious issues and strong personalities.

Stories about certain council members’ inability to deal with disagreements like grown ups are nothing new. Just say the word ‘pencil’ down near White Rock’s City Hall and see what reaction you get.

And over the years, our newsroom has been privy to many tips and tidbits about our elected officials. Some were worthy of publication, while others were… well… definitely not.

Somebody’s sleeping with someone’s husband.

These two are dating.

Somebody’s a home-wrecker.

These two were photographed coming out of a hotel together.

These two were caught making out in the back of a car.

But the gossip isn’t always sexual (although it’s disturbingly common) – so-and-so hit ‘like’ on a Facebook post that made fun of a fellow slate member.

Wait. We actually did that story and I got yelled at for it.

Anyway, you get the point.

OUR VIEW: We expect integrity from leaders

The politics surrounding Surrey has gotten too nasty and too personal – and it can make it difficult to stick to the issues.

In the past few months, we’ve told you about attack ads featuring doctored photos of councillors. We’ve shared full exchanges from chambers that would tell you all you need to know about the pettiness on council.

Name-calling.

Finger-pointing.

Mic-muting.

Fake photos.

Bullying.

Threats.

Enough, already!

OUR VIEW: No time for childish spats, Surrey council

Consider the response we received after we asked a councillor if it’s fair to publish an attack ad if it uses doctored photos and inaccurate quotes.

“I can’t answer that,” was the terrible answer he gave.

Does any of this feel familiar to you? If it does, there’s a good reason why.

Let former U.S. President Barack Obama explain.

“More than anything, I wanted this book to be a way in which people could better understand the world of politics and foreign policy, worlds that feel opaque and inaccessible,” he said in an interview with The Atlantic about his recently released book.

“It’s interesting. You’re in high school and you see all the cliques and bullying and unfairness and superficiality, and you think, Once I’m grown up I won’t have to deal with that anymore. And then you get to the state legislature and you see all the nonsense and stupidity and pettiness.

“And then you get to Congress and then you get to the G20, and at each level you have this expectation that things are going to be more refined, more sophisticated, more thoughtful, rigorous, selfless, and it turns out it’s all still like high school.”

That it does. That it does.

Beau Simpson is editor of the Now-Leader and can be reached at beau.simpson@surreynowleader.com



beau.simpson@surreynowleader.com

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