Connect with us

Politics

Opinion: Don't let politics diminish our democracy – Edmonton Journal

Published

 on



Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell reads the speech from the Throne opening the 30th Legislature second session spring sitting at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, February 25, 2020.


Ed Kaiser / 00089871A

As the Speaker of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly, one of my top priorities is to defend, maintain, and build public trust in our democratic institutions.

To this end, I have expanded efforts to reach out to Albertans through social media to help demystify aspects of procedure within the legislature. I have also tried to visit as many schools as possible, to provide students with a basic appreciation of how and why our institutions were created to serve the public.

In tough times, frustrations are high. Building faith in our public institutions often feels like an uphill battle, and cynicism is not solely reserved for adults. I recently took a question from a young girl in a social studies class, who told me she doesn’t believe elected officials will ever make a difference in her life.

Her concerns perfectly illustrate a string of recent public opinion polls across North America and Europe depicting a growing number of young people feeling disconnected from our institutions. Many seem willing to reject democracy altogether.

Now, more than ever, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of our individual rights and freedoms. They are the very foundation of our democratic institutions: institutions that have created an era of economic, social, and scientific progress unprecedented in human history.

To be reminded of a world without individual rights, we need only look back in time to what many scholars consider a key turning point: King John’s acceptance of what would come to be known as the Magna Carta in June of 1215. In many ways, this document planted the seeds for reform that would change the world: the idea that individuals can and must be granted freedom from the arbitrary authority of the state.

It evolved out of an era of frustration with an English crown that continually raised taxes, scornfully flouted the jurisdiction of local barons, and placed foreign interests above the welfare of the English people, all justified by the notion that the king is above the law. The political and economic freedoms we enjoy today evolved out of the ashes of these fundamental injustices.

Many of the symbols of our society’s long fight for individual freedom remain proudly on display at Alberta’s legislature.

Take, for example, the mace ceremony. Every sitting begins the same way, with the sergeant-at-arms presenting the mace, a symbol of the monarch’s power. It is entrusted to the representatives of the people — in the people’s house — to write laws for the people. This one simple ceremony tells the story of a centuries-long struggle for freedom, justice, and democracy.

I take this ceremony a little more personally than most. There is a good reason. In the early days of our parliamentary democracy, the Speaker was often in a difficult position between the will of parliament and monarch.

Over the years, monarchs who were displeased by parliament’s resolutions executed no fewer than nine Speakers. The road to freedom is rarely smooth.

Another symbol of importance is our provincial motto: Fortis et Liber. It translates to Strong and Free. Although adopted quite recently in 1980, I cannot think of a better motto to describe both the character and the aspirations of our province.

Today, much of the focus of our political discourse is on the left vs. right dynamic. However, when it comes to the progress of our people, there is another spectrum that matters just as much, if not more.

On one hand: authoritarianism; on the other: freedom. Our parliamentary democracy is rooted firmly on the freedom side. Our freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and association are not luxuries; they form the very core of our identity as free people.

It is also worth noting that historically, those who seek to dominate others have always tried to devalue individual freedom. Some claim that freedom makes our society weak. Alberta’s motto rejects this notion outright. We aim to be both Strong and Free. That is the attitude that makes Alberta one of the greatest places to live.

Now, I am a realist. I understand better than most that the thrust and parry of modern politics is growing increasingly divisive. My word of caution is simply this: we must not allow the disagreements of the day to threaten the principles and values that we hold most dear.

Today, this very minute, we see a generation turning away from our democratic institutions and values.

We cannot simply shrug and look away. We must speak up for freedom.

Nathan Cooper is Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Politics

N.S. mass shooting: senior Mountie stands by allegations – CTV News

Published

 on


OTTAWA –

The senior Mountie who made allegations of political meddling in the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting defended his position to members of parliament Tuesday.

Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Supt. Darren Campbell maintains his conversation with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on April 28, 2020 — which has since spurred accusations of political interference in the police investigation of the mass shooting — happened as he detailed in his handwritten notes.

Campbell said he has a “distinct recollection of the content of that discussion,” and reiterated the commissioner said she’d made a promise to the government, tied to pending gun legislation.

Campbell testified before the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee on Tuesday as part of ongoing meetings looking into allegations of political interference in the investigation of the 13-hour shooting rampage in 2020 in Portapique, N.S., which left 22 people dead.

Seven people were slated to appear before the committee Tuesday, including Campbell, Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada François Daigle, and Lia Scanlan, a strategic communications director.

Campbell and Scanlan have both made accusations of political interference, saying officials put pressure on police to release details about the gunman’s weapons following the shooting in an effort to push new gun legislation.

As part of the Mass Casualty Commission — an ongoing independent public inquiry created to examine the worst mass shooting in Canadian history — documents were released showing Campbell had handwritten notes from a meeting with Lucki in the days following the shooting. The notes indicated Lucki said she’d assured Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office the RCMP would release information about the gunman’s firearms.

Campbell has said releasing that information would have jeopardized the investigation into the killings.

“It was never my intention to enter into a political or public disagreement or discussion as to what took place in that meeting, nor was my response to the meeting based on any personal issues with a commissioner or indeed any other individuals. Nor was it based on politics,” he said. “At the heart of the issue was a matter of principle and sound investigative best practices related to protecting the ongoing investigation, which at the time was in its early stages.”

Campbell added he never had any direct conversations with anyone from the government on the issue.

Blair and Lucki have both repeatedly denied pressuring the RCMP or interfering in the investigation. Lucki told the Public Safety and National Security Committee in July it was a ‘miscommunication’ during the meeting.

But Campbell is sticking by what he wrote following the meeting.

“The commissioner made me feel as if I was stupid and I didn’t seem to understand the importance of why this information was important to go out, information specific to the firearms as it was related to the legislation,” Campbell told MPs on Tuesday. “She didn’t seem to appreciate or recognize the importance of maintaining the integrity of an investigation.”

Scanlan, who was also on the April 28 call, said she interpreted the meeting — and Lucki’s alleged comments — in the same way Campbell did.

“It was a feeling of disgust,” Scanlan said. “I was embarrassed to be a part of it. I was embarrassed to be listening to it. And message received, I understood exactly what was being said.”

Meanwhile, earlier in Tuesday’s committee meeting, Canada’s deputy attorney general said that though lawyers and paralegals working for the Department of Justice are responsible for reviewing and delivering documents to the Mass Casualty Commission, the justice minister and ministerial staff had “no involvement whatsoever” in that process.

While Campbell said he turned over his notes relating to the investigation early on, they were not discovered by the commission until June 2022.

Daigle told the committee there were 2,400 pages worth of handwritten notes to be presented to the Mass Casualty Commission as part of its inquiry.

Thirty-five pages of those notes were withheld pending a review to examine whether some of the information was privileged. Of those, 13 were written by Campbell, and four detailed the April 28 conversation between Campbell and Lucki.

Daigle emphasized to the commission that Justice Minister David Lametti and ministerial staff were not involved in the process of withholding, reviewing or producing any documentation to the Mass Casualty Commission.

The RCMP has faced criticism for its lack of communication with the public during and after the shootings, and a 126-page document released by the commission in June states there were significant confusion and delays.

The Public Safety and National Security Committee is set to meet next at the end of September.

With files from CTVNews.ca’s Rachel Aiello and The Canadian Press

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Timeline: Liz Cheney's political career, from Republican scion to champion of democracy – CNN

Published

 on


(CNN)Tonight’s primary election is a crucial test for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. She has been one of former President Donald Trump’s biggest and most outspoken critics in the Republican Party. Today, the three-term conservative congresswoman faces multiple Republican opponents, including the Trump-endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman.

Although Cheney voted in line with Trump’s agenda 92.9% of the time, her vote to impeach the former President in January 2021 led to her ouster as GOP conference chair. A year later, the Republican National Committee took the unprecedented step of formally censuring her for serving on the House January 6, 2021, committee.
Now voters will decide her future in the House. For Cheney, tonight’s election represents another chapter of a tumultuous political career.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Politics Briefing: Federal government invests in protecting against quantum threats – The Globe and Mail

Published

 on


Hello,

This morning, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced $675,000 to help keep Canadians safe from quantum threats, which he called “one of the most serious threats” to Canada’s cybersecurity. The funding will go to the non-profit organization Quantum-Safe Canada for a project to raise awareness and preparedness for such threats.

“The reality, which many Canadians likely don’t know, is that current infrastructure is vulnerable to the quantum technology of tomorrow,” Mr. Mendicino said at a press conference today.

Quantum threats refer to the capabilities of true quantum computers, which have yet to be realized, but could be a reality in around 10 years. Quantum computers would allow for the hacking of mass quantities of encrypted materials – and quickly. They “break the codes underpinning Internet security and the security of things like the ArriveCan app,” explained Michele Mosca, executive director of Quantum-Safe Canada and deputy director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

Quantum threats were also discussed by experts in April during hearings of the House standing committee on industry and technology, and whose testimony seemed to stun some MPs.

“Everything that’s been sent on the Internet since essentially the beginning of time will become an open book when a quantum computer is available,” Gilles Brassard, a professor in the department of computer science and operations research at Université de Montréal, told the committee. “Therefore, there’s no way to try to protect the past. The past is gone forever — forget about it. But we can still hope to protect the future.”

Asked what should be done to increase awareness, Mr. Brassard replied: “There needs to be education. There is no magic bullet. People are not sufficiently aware of the threat, and when they are told, they might panic.”

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

LAFLAMME BLINDSIDED BY CTV – Lisa LaFlamme was let go as anchor of CTV National News after 35 years at the network in a decision that the veteran journalist said blindsided her and one that prompted shock from colleagues and viewers. Story here.

DELAYS AT PEARSON – The chaos at Toronto Pearson has laid bare a broken governance system, not only in the Canadian airport model itself but among the multiple federal agencies serving the aviation industry, The Globe and Mail has found. Story here.

ATTENDANCE DOWN AT WORLD JUNIORS – While the time of year is a key factor in the low attendance at a winter sporting event, Hockey Canada concedes that concerns over its handling of sexual-assault allegations have also affected interest in the tournament. Story here.

INFLATION SLOWING – Canadian inflation slowed in July as consumers paid much less for gasoline, marking what could be the start of a long journey back to low and stable rates of price growth. Story here.

EXPLOSIONS IN CRIMEA – Explosions went off Tuesday at a military base in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is an important supply line for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Story by Reuters here.

THIS AND THAT

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

The Canadian Health Coalition released a statement criticizing the possibility of Canadian Blood Services partnering with a multinational company to pay Canadians to sell their plasma. “Once payment to Canadians for their plasma becomes the norm, recruitment of voluntary donors will decline, as experienced in European countries,” said health safety expert Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards.

THE DECIBEL

Parasite ecologist and University of Washington associate professor Chelsea Wood makes her case to The Decibel listeners for parasite conservation, and why they’re actually beautiful, complex forms of life. Episode here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is holding private meetings in Outaouais, Que., and the National Capital Region.

OPINION

Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on the beauty and wonder of Canada, from the view of a recent cross-country odyssey: “It’s impossible to believe the sheer size and natural variety of this country. We’ve passed through the wild north shore of Lake Superior, crossing the countless rivers and streams that spill into that great inland sea; the vast boreal forest in northwest Ontario; the still vaster prairies, green and gold in their midsummer splendour; then the Rockies, where we hiked through an alpine meadow bursting with paintbrush and arctic lupine and along a famous gorge, Johnston Canyon, filled with roaring waterfalls.”

Sabine Nolke, Phil Calvert, Roman Waschuk, John Holmes, Louise Blais (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa’s centralized decision-making puts local embassy staff at risk: “Recent reports have revealed that on the cusp of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine earlier this year, plans were made to evacuate Canadian staff at the Canadian embassy in Kyiv. However, Ukrainian employees were not adequately informed of the dangers facing them and they haven’t been given sufficient assistance since. As former ambassadors, reading the reports hit a chord and did not entirely surprise us.”

Ali Mirzad (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s need to deliver on its moral obligation to the persecuted Hazaras of Afghanistan: “It is true that the Liberal government cannot evacuate those trapped behind the Taliban’s walls. But it has also strategically ignored people it could actually help – the thousands of highly vulnerable and at-risk individuals, such as the Hazaras, who have fled but remain in limbo in refugee camps. While Canada continues to fail in delivering on its moral obligations, the persecuted Hazaras – who have historically been deprived of basic human rights – must continue to live each day in the midst of persecution and tragedy.”

Michael Bociurkiw (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada is falling short on its promises to Ukraine: “From the very start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has bungled its response to the crisis on almost every step of the way: from the inexplicable tardiness to send lethal weaponry to circumventing its own sanctions on Russia by approving the release of repaired turbines for that country’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.”

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.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending