Connect with us

Politics

Opinion | When truth intrudes on Virginia politics – The Washington Post

Published

 on


There are rare occasions when Virginia politicians drop their partisan talking points and speak the truth. It’s not intentional. Elected officials saying on the record what they really think can be dangerous.

Which makes such pronouncements — or the stony silence when the topic is especially difficult — all the more valuable because they offer us a look behind the scenes.

Consider a recent comment from Del. Marcus B. Simon (D-Fairfax) regarding the ongoing federal lawsuit over whether the 2021 House of Delegates elections were constitutional.

In an interview with Courthouse New Service’s Brad Kutner, Simon said no one’s really interested in this case aside from the plaintiff, my former writing partner Paul Goldman. And that’s true. Despite the recent trickle of Democratic-leaning groups endorsing the idea of holding House elections this November, none has yet filed a brief supporting Goldman’s lawsuit. And as for their silence when Goldman was fighting the case alone against former Virginia attorney general Mark R. Herring (D)?

Let’s just say it’s amazing what a difference an election can make.

But Simon also said, “What is uniquely damaging waiting one more year?” to hold House elections in new districts.

Real honesty, coupled with a peak behind the curtain. Politically, waiting a year puts House Democrats on the ballot in 2023 — not the 2022 congressional midterm. Historically, midterms are bad for an incumbent president’s party, and that extends down to state legislatures.

The question, then, is of House Democrats avoiding the possibility of real political damage. Even if it means thumbing their noses at the state constitution, whose requirement that elections in new districts occur “immediately prior to the expiration of the term being served in the year that the reapportionment law is required to be enacted.”

And never mind that Democratic staple about supporting voting rights. At bottom, they, like their Republican counterparts, are all about minimizing risk and maximizing the odds of reelection. To his enduring credit, Simon said he’s not averse to running in November. The rest of his fellow delegates, Republican and Democrat alike? As Kutner reports:

… noticeably absent from the debate is leadership from those who would be most impacted by new elections: House of Delegate members. Neither the Virginia Democratic Party nor the Virginia GOP have offered comment on the legal dispute.

Their silence is all the comment we need.

Speaking of Republicans and political silence: How about some truth about taxes?

We got a dose of tax reality from former GOP delegate Jim LeMunyon, whose op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch raised the issue of bracket creep in the Virginia tax code (a topic I first discussed with him back in 2017). As LeMunyon wrote, “inflation was increasing taxes on Virginians every year, without a vote of the legislature.”

LeMunyon noted the state’s top income tax rate, “which kicks in at a ridiculously low $17,000 of taxable income, hasn’t been adjusted since 1990.”

That’s 32 years of inflation inexorably raising individual taxes, without so much as a murmur from the General Assembly.

There was a bill from Del. Joseph P. McNamara (R-Roanoke) to index not just state income taxes but also “the personal exemption, and the additional personal exemption for the blind or the aged.”

According to the Department of Taxation’s fiscal impact statement, indexing would reduce state revenue by $464.9 million by 2028. In other words, it would be a silent tax cut — which one might presume Republicans, or at least those who remember how the federal government got around to indexing most personal taxes in 1985, would embrace.

Keep that in mind as the House and Senate haggle over whether to increase the personal deduction or finally zero out the entire tax on groceries. Tax cuts are fine and good. But without indexing, the state will get it all back — and more — thanks to inflation.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Politics

WATCH: For the record, Tim Hudak is not returning to politics – BradfordToday

Published

 on


Tim Hudak spent more than two decades as a provincial politician at Queen’s Park, including five years as leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. He is now CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), a position he has held since 2016.

Would the former Opposition Leader ever consider a political comeback?

Hudak was asked that question during a recent appearance on Inside the Village, a news podcast produced by Village Media. His answer was pretty unequivocal. 

You can watch the full interview here, or download the episode wherever you find your favourite podcasts.​

 google podcast Apple Podcast

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Marc Garneau on enjoying political life after cabinet ouster, writing his memoirs – The Globe and Mail

Published

 on


Marc Garneau says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered him an opportunity to be Canada’s ambassador in France, but he turned it down for reasons that he was not going to discuss.Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Had things gone as he hoped, Marc Garneau would be foreign affairs minster today, carrying on with a run in the cabinets of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that began when the Liberals won power in 2015.

But the 73-year-old former astronaut – once one of the highest-profile members of Mr. Trudeau’s cabinets for his roles as transport minister for five years and foreign affairs minister for nine months – was left out after the Liberals won a minority government last fall, a turn that caught many by surprise.

In an interview, the MP for the Montreal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount declined to say whether he would have run for his fifth term had he known he wouldn’t make it back to cabinet.

“Obviously, when I went into the election I was hoping to continue my work in foreign affairs, but I am also grounded in reality and know every new government is a new decision point for the prime minister to decide how he wants to compose his government. I was aware of these things, but I decided that I wanted to run again,” Mr. Garneau said from his Parliament Hill office.

Now, Mr. Garneau says, things are fine, and he is enjoying his roles as a chair, joint chair and member of various Parliament Hill committees.

“I am fully occupied with things that I do care deeply about so you move on in life and you enjoy what you have the chance to do, and as long as you feel the desire to serve you continue to do that.”

His roles include chair of the standing committee on Indigenous and Northern affairs, and joint chair of a Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying.

“For me to have had an opportunity to work, in essence, on reconciliation through this standing committee and to work on a topic that is so important it can affect everybody, which is medical assistance in dying, those are very rewarding new responsibilities I am enjoying tremendously.”

For seven years of his political career, he was asking the questions on committees as a member of the opposition, and then for six years he was taking questions as a cabinet minister. “I was the one, if you would like, in the hot seat,” he said. Being the chair is a new experience. “It does require you to have a certain level of impartiality so the committee can function properly in the way it should and everyone has a voice. That was a bit of a learning curve for me.”

Peter Trent, the former mayor of the Montreal suburb of Westmount, is a long-time friend of Mr. Garneau. He was so taken aback by Mr. Garneau being left out of cabinet that he wrote a column for The Montreal Gazette that ran last October under the headline: “Marc Garneau, the ‘anti-politician,’ deserves better.” It was sharply critical of Mr. Trudeau’s judgment.

But, he says, Mr. Garneau has taken his fate well. “He’s accepted what happened in a very Zen way,” Mr. Trent said. “The rest of us aren’t as Zen and still harbour a strong resentment as to the way he was treated.”

Mr. Garneau is writing his memoirs, drafting a narrative on a life story that saw the Quebec City native serve in the navy and become, in 1984, the first Canadian in space when he served as a payload specialist on the Challenger space shuttle. He returned to space on subsequent missions, and was president of the Canadian Space Agency.

But elected politics beckoned. Mr. Garneau was first elected to Parliament in 2008, while Stephen Harper was prime minister. In 2012, he ran for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party, competing with, among others, his eventual boss at the cabinet table. He eventually left the race and endorsed Mr. Trudeau, who won.

Mr. Garneau stepped up work on his memoirs over a few weeks in December and January while recovering from hip-replacement surgery.

“I got quite a bit done,” he said. “I got the chapters from the beginning of my life up until I entered politics done, and I have had those reviewed by my dear wife and my daughter so those are in pretty good shape.” He does not have an agent or publisher.

When he was left out of cabinet, Mr. Garneau says his constituents and the media reacted more intensely than colleagues on Parliament Hill. “Here in Ottawa, I think people understand the way things go and that these are possible outcomes.”

Mr. Garneau says the Prime Minister offered him an opportunity to be Canada’s ambassador in France, but he turned it down for reasons that he was not going to discuss.

As for seeking another term, he notes the next election is three years away. “My health is good,” he said. “We’ll see.”

For subscribers: Get exclusive political news and analysis by signing up for the Politics Briefing.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Ex-Wildrose leader Danielle Smith reannounces UCP leadership bid as next step in Alberta politics – Global News

Published

 on


Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith reannounced that she will run in the upcoming United Conservative Party leadership race on Thursday.

She thanked Kenney for the work he has done for Alberta’s energy industry and added she wouldn’t mind seeing Kenney stay on as premier until a new leader has been elected.

Read more:

UCP begins search for new leader with Jason Kenney stepping down

“I want to start off by thanking Premier Jason Kenney for all the work that he’s done over the last number of years.

“I’ve decided to jump back into politics, seeking the leadership of the UCP. That is just a continuation of my last political life,” Smith said.


Click to play video: 'Jason Kenney announces intention to step down as UCP leader'



2:28
Jason Kenney announces intention to step down as UCP leader


Jason Kenney announces intention to step down as UCP leader

Smith spared no time getting into her platform, saying she will fix and restore faith in Alberta politics. She also said she will attempt to unite the UCP and pointed to the large number of people who registered to vote in Kenney’s leadership review.

“If you look at what happened during the UCP leadership contest, there were a lot of people who got brought into the UCP who had never been in politics before and I think that’s what has occurred,” Smith said.

“I think there has been a lot of division that has happened between friends and family, and we need to stop dividing people along identity lines… We are stronger united and that holds for our conservative movement as well.”

Read more:

Kenney’s plan to step down as UCP leader shows how hard merging 2 parties is: political commentator

Smith also said she wants to see more people run in the leadership race and noted she respects the role of individual MLAs in Alberta politics.

“I would love to see Todd Lowen and Drew Barnes throw their name in the race for UCP leadership. We need to start unifying the movement again and that’s going to require all hands on deck over the next couple of years,” Smith said.


Click to play video: 'UCP caucus meeting to discuss future after Jason Kenney announces plan to step down'



3:42
UCP caucus meeting to discuss future after Jason Kenney announces plan to step down


UCP caucus meeting to discuss future after Jason Kenney announces plan to step down

But Smith also spent time talking about her own credentials, saying she has a lot of experience as the former party leader for the Wildrose Party, which merged with the UCP in 2017.

She also talked about her time as a former radio host on 770 CHQR as proof she can “take the heat” in Alberta politics.

Read more:

Ex-Wildrose leader Danielle Smith returns to Alberta politics, will vote against Kenney leadership

“I’m not going to enter a contest thinking I’m going to come in second place… This is a real opportunity for the UCP to make sure that we’re selling memberships, that we’re getting people excited again.

“I can handle the heat. I have handled it for a lot of years, and that’s the way I conducted myself on the radio,” Smith said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending