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McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics and Economics announced at Mount Allison University – SaltWire Network



SACKVILLE, NB — Mount Allison University’s philosophy, politics, and economics programs have received a significant boost from one of New Brunswick’s most accomplished political and business leaders.

Former premier Frank McKenna and the university jointly announced the establishment of the Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics on Friday. It is expected to be officially launched in 2021.

“The world we live in today needs collaborative solutions. Our society needs more world-class ‘generalists,’ people who have some background in economics, a philosophical base, and an understanding of politics at large,” McKenna said in announcing a $1 million leadership gift in support of the initiative. “This program brings all of that together, along with exceptional teaching and experiential learning opportunities for students. My family and I are delighted to support this new initiative at Mount Allison University and look forward to seeing the paths students from the school will lead.”

To date, $5 million has been raised to support the Mount Allison school concept from a number of donors across Canada including McKenna and his family, which is inspiring others to give.

University president and vice-chancellor Jean-Paul Boudreau said the announcement represents a tremendous opportunity for Mount Allison students.

“The McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Mount Allison represents a fantastic opportunity to help lift our students from the launchpad of New Brunswick onto the global stage, offering an exceptional academic experience partnered with experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities in these key fields,” Boudreau said. “

The Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Mount Allison will advance the university’s capacity for new scholarly activity and supports for students in the program.

Honouring one of New Brunswick’s most accomplished individuals, Boudreau said the investment will enable new international and work-integrated learning opportunities and global internships for philosophy, politics, and economics students.

The gift will also fund the new McKenna Scholars program, providing scholarships and bursaries for students throughout their degree.

McKenna is currently the deputy chair, wholesale, TD Bank Group. He is a former Canadian ambassador to the United States and a former premier of New Brunswick — a position he held for 10 years.

Under his leadership, he brought thousands of jobs to the province and nurtured the growth of business and industry, universities and youth.

He is also a Mount Allison honorary degree recipient. McKenna double-majored in politics and economics in his undergraduate degree and also completed courses in philosophy.
The philosophy, politics and economics program was established at Mount Allison in 2013 and is the only PPE program in Canada east of Ontario, and only one of three in Canada.

It offers students the opportunity of a multidisciplinary immersion in these three academic areas, helping to prepare them for myriad of career paths. Courses in the PPE program are drawn from established courses in all three disciplines, with special topics courses offered in upper years.

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NDP won't give Trudeau 'excuse' for election, Singh says ahead of confidence vote in Commons –



NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today that his party will not give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau an “excuse” to send Canadians to the polls in the middle of a global pandemic — an apparent signal that Trudeau’s government will survive today’s confidence vote.

In a news conference just two hours before a crucial confidence vote, Singh declined to say exactly how his MPs would vote or whether they might abstain.

“We are voting for Canadians. We are voting against an election,” he said.

Singh said the NDP will still work to get answers on the WE Charity scandal through the Commons ethics committee, and that his party will push the government for more pandemic support for Canadians.

“People need help right now. They need confidence in the future. They’re not looking for an election,” he said.

“So New Democrats will not give Prime Minister Trudeau the election he’s looking for. We’re not going to be used as an excuse or a cover. We’re going to continue to do the work that we need to do.”

The Bloc Québécois had already confirmed it will support the Conservative motion, leaving the outcome in the hands of the NDP.

The vote is expected to happen around 3:15 p.m. ET and will carry it live.

The opposition day motion would create a special committee to probe the Trudeau government’s ethics and spending in response to the pandemic — including the controversial WE Charity contract to administer a student volunteer grant program.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not recuse himself from talks on the agreement, even though several of his family members had been paid for speaking engagements by the organization.

The Liberal government has declared the vote on the Conservative motion a matter of confidence that could trigger an election — a high-stakes move that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has called a “farce.”

In a news conference before the vote, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said if the motion does not pass, he will continue to work with other parties to hold the government to account. He criticized the government and Trudeau for framing the vote as a confidence matter.

“His designation of this vote as a confidence vote shows that he’s willing to put the electoral fortunes of the Liberal Party ahead of the health, safety and well-being of Canadians,” he said.

“Most Canadians would think that’s unacceptable.”

WATCH / Erin O’Toole on confidence vote:

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole spoke with reporters just after NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stated that the NDP would not bring down the government in the confidence vote. 0:56

Speaking to reporters after the Liberal caucus meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government needs the confidence of the House to do its job.

“I really believe at the end of the day common sense will prevail and we’re going to get through this,” she said.

Freeland also said that legislation for several new pandemic supports for Canadians and businesses needs to be passed and an election could jeopardize that.

WATCH / Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland on possible election:

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says she’s focused on passing legislation to support Canadians during the pandemic as a confidence vote looms in Parliament today.  1:39

Heading into their weekly caucus meeting this morning, NDP MPs said they had not yet decided on a path forward and would talk about how to proceed behind closed doors.

“At the end of the day we have a lot of moving parts and we’re still in a pandemic and we’re still committed to fighting for Canadians and we’re going to continue to do that,” said Ontario NDP MP Matthew Green.

“We have to look at what all the variables are going in to this discussion and do what’s best for the country.”

Asked by reporters if the NDP had an obligation to support the Conservative motion, NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus said, “There’s many ways to skin a cat, my friends.”

WATCH / NDP MPs on today’s confidence vote:

NDP MPs arrived for their weekly caucus meeting in Ottawa on Wednesday. 1:26

Conservative House leader Gérard Deltell said the ethical questions surrounding the government require a special committee with a clear mandate. He said it’s the “duty” of opposition parties to hold the government to account.

“This is what the issue is all about with this motion, and what we see right now is a prime minister who will do whatever it takes to call an election,” he said.

“The only Canadian who would like to have an election today is the prime minister. The only Canadian who would like to freeze the government for a few months is the prime minister by calling an election.”

The Conservatives amended the original motion to state that voting to launch the committee should not be considered grounds to order an election.

It also dropped the “anti-corruption committee” label it initially proposed.

Bloc Québécois House leader Alain Therrien said the WE Charity issue is so complex that it requires a special committee to get answers.

He said the Liberals’ “scorched-earth” approach to politics is the product of a “club of cronyism” and renders compromise impossible.

He also criticized the NDP, suggesting the party’s MPs have obediently followed Liberal demands.

“The NDP have acted in the last little while a little like the Liberals’ lap dog,” he said.

‘Unwelcome drama’: Paul

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul issued a statement urging the parties to cool their jets, calling the brinkmanship “unwelcome drama.” 

“The Liberal and Conservative parties’ high-stakes, high-tech game of chicken can have no winner,” she said. 

“They should leave such games outside of Parliament, and focus on the urgent needs of people in Canada. I ask members of Parliament to dial down the rhetoric, which is not in keeping with the seriousness of this unprecedented moment, so that we can get back to working on the critical matters at hand.”

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Politics Podcast: The Most Competitive Races In 2020 – FiveThirtyEight



In covering the 2020 election, we’ve focused plenty on the likeliest tipping-point states — the states likeliest to give the winning candidate his 270th electoral vote. Those states include Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan. While they may be the most important states in 2020, they aren’t actually the most competitive. Those contests are in Georgia, Iowa, Ohio and even Texas, which are polling closer to a dead heat. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Micah Cohen and Sarah Frostenson discuss where the most competitive races are for the presidency, House and Senate.

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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How remote work has changed discussing politics in the office – CNBC



With the U.S. presidential election just weeks away, political discussion is top of mind for many Americans, including among colleagues in the workplace. Back in February, a survey of 500 employees by the research firm Gartner found that 78% of people talk about politics at work, and 47% of people say the 2020 presidential election has impacted their ability to get work done.

In the eight months since, the election cycle, the workplace and daily life in general have transformed in countless unpredictable ways due to the coronavirus pandemic. And now that a widespread adoption of remote work has relaxed many workplace behaviors and policies, what does that mean for discussing politics in a virtual office?

Political conversations may be more intentional

In some ways, colleagues may be making an effort to have more meaningful political discussions in the workplace, says Roger Brooks, president and CEO of the educational non-profit Facing History & Ourselves.

“One advantage to being remote is that you have to be really intentional about your conversations,” he tells CNBC Make It. “If you want to have a conversation, you have to go out of your way to have it.”

“That intentionality can give you a moment before you start a complicated conversation to center yourself, and maybe your partner will as well, in a controversial topic,” he continues.

And because you’re more likely to enter a political workplace discussion more intentionally online, rather than riffing on the day’s headlines with a coworker you ran into in the hallway, “some of these conversations might be better than when they were just happening in-person,” Roger Brooks says.

Employers could play a role in encouraging respectful dialogue, says Dustin York, a communications professor at Maryville University who served as a consultant for Barack Obama’s 2008 U.S. presidential campaign. HR leaders can send a company-wide note with guidelines about discussing political news in the work setting, or they may invite trained facilitators to lead a discussion about having difficult conversations at work.

Heidi Brooks, an organizational behavior professor at the Yale School of Management, adds that leaders would do well to encourage and model behaviors that support belonging and inclusion at work, which may be strained during the pandemic. “It still matters to be a team that people want to be a part of,” she says, “and what makes a team one people want to be a part of is the quality of relationships among members.”

One way to take a stance on the election that fosters belonging is to encourage employees to vote, Heidi Brooks adds. Initiatives including Time to Vote and Civic Alliance are non-partisan efforts to increase voter participation by helping workers register to vote, providing polling place information and giving employees time off to cast their ballots.

Discouraging political speech could backfire

Though companies may want to avoid encouraging discussion on controversial topics at work, statements from management that seek to limit political speech can backfire. In late September, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong faced backlash after he published a blog post in which he discouraged employee activism and discussing political and social issues at work. Pointing to what he referred to as “internal strife” among tech companies including Google and Facebook, which “engage in a wide variety of social activism, even those unrelated to what the company does,” he wrote:

“While I think these efforts are well intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction, and by creating internal division,” Armstrong said. “I believe most employees don’t want to work in these divisive environments.”

In response to the memo, more than 60 employees, or roughly 5% of Coinbase’s workforce, accepted exit packages as of October 8, according to Forbes.

Messages like this could be impractical to enforce, says Vanessa Matsis-McCready, associate general counsel and director of HR forthe HR service provider Engage PEO: “You can have a policy that all discussions at work must be work-related, but then you’ll have a morale issue.”

Furthermore, while workers don’t have a constitutional right to free speech at work (except in the case of government employees who have some protections), workers may have some protections at the state level for political expression and off-duty conduct. In California, for example, employers are prohibited from adopting or enforcing any rule that prevents employees from engaging in political activities. And Oregon’s Worker Freedom Act prohibits employers from forcing workers to attend political meetings and distribute political communications.

In other cases, political speech in the workplace may be protected if it relates to workers’ rights to engage in concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act. This includes talking with coworkers about your working conditions, pay or benefits — for example, if you’re discussing paid family leave and your support of a candidate proposing a policy at the federal level.

When politics enters the chatroom

Instead of attempting to limit political speech, Matsis-McCready suggests employers lay out clear guidelines about what is and isn’t appropriate that are neutral and enforced uniformly.

The mass switch to remote work could be a good time to clarify these policies, she adds. For example, you may say overall that Zoom backgrounds must be free of prominent slogans and logos, including but not limited to campaign signage and merchandise. Matsis-McCready says her employer provides workers with HR-approved virtual backgrounds with the company’s logo that can be used during video meetings. Leaders can reiterate if the same no-slogans rule applies to workplace attire during video calls.

For employees, keeping discussions neutral may be the best option if you don’t have clear rules on political speech, Matsis-McCready says. Disciplinary action may not be out of the question if your conversation isn’t about working conditions (and therefore isn’t protected under the NLRA) and it extends beyond your personal break time to the point that it impacts the work you’re expected to get done.

“My advice to employees,” she says, “is to keep workplace discussions neutral. I’d want to make sure that if I’m discussing my personal beliefs, that it’s on my own time — like a lunch break — and be mindful of the clock.”

Another guideline: If you wouldn’t have a certain conversation in the break room of your office, reconsider whether you’re willing to have it in a work-provided messaging platform.

Focus on values rather than candidates

As protests and movements showed us over the summer, many workers expect their employers to speak out on certain issues when it comes to racial justice, and the role policy plays in social issues and equity.

York recommends organizations make clear their stance on certain issues, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, rather than discuss any one party or political candidate if it’s not directly related to the work they do. It’s the leader’s role to set the tone and model expected behavior, he adds, and remember that tensions in the workplace are likely higher than normal due to circumstances of living and working through a global pandemic.

Individuals with more influence in the organization should be aware of how they’re using their position to share information and engage others.

“If you’re on the upper side of power, it’s your job to reach down and listen to equalize your power whenever possible,” Roger Brooks says. That includes being aware of power imbalances and whether people of dissenting views can speak openly in the workplace, facilitating respectful dialogue that assumes positive intent, and reminding colleagues that while they may view issues differently, they align in the ways they contribute to the health of the organization.

“Engaging really effectively and productively across difference allows people to better work together,” he says.

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Don’t miss:

47% of workers say the 2020 election has impacted their ability to do their jobs

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