Connect with us


‘Politics at play’ more than ever as pandemic drags on in Canada, says reporter



Read Story Transcript

With COVID-19 case counts surging across the country, the second wave of the pandemic is becoming increasingly politicized, says a political reporter for the Globe and Mail.

“I think that we are seeing more politics at play, and I think that is in part because of the electoral calendars that we’re seeing. I mean, we already saw three elections in Canada this fall, four if you include the byelection federally,” Marieke Walsh told The Currents Matt Galloway.

“Politics is becoming more a part of it because the pandemic and COVID-19 is becoming, for better or for worse — mostly for worse — part of our daily lives.”

Coronavirus case numbers have been on a major upswing in parts of the country this week. Ontario hit a record 1,575 cases Thursday (the third record-setting day in a row) as Quebec marked another 1,365 new cases and 42 deaths. New provincial modelling shows Ontario could see 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December if no further action is taken to flatten the curve.

Meanwhile, the Prairies are also seeing a resurgence in the virus. Alberta is implementing two-week restrictions on bars and fitness facilities to slow the spread, while Manitoba is heading into a lockdown similar to the one this spring. In Quebec, Premier Francois Legault is also considering temporarily closing schools this winter.

But Yudhvir Jaswal, group publisher at Y Media and host of radio program South Asian Pulse, says that even though leaders recognize we are at a “crossroads” in the pandemic, officials seem to have few specifics to offer on how Canada should respond.

“How do we collectively deal with this? That’s one one thing which is missing,” he told Galloway.

Emergenices Act ‘wouldn’t fly’ with provinces

The federal government has the power to invoke the Emergencies Act, a never-before-used piece of legislation that gives Ottawa the power to do just about anything it thinks is necessary to cope with a national crisis. However, the move would be “politically sensitive and untenable” in many parts of the country, Walsh said.

On Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford rejected such an idea, saying the provinces “don’t need the nanny state telling us what to do.” Ford said invoking the act “wouldn’t fly” with the premiers, but that “constant communication” with the prime minister’s team is the way to “get things done.”

That’s “just a taste” of the reaction Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would get were he to try and wrest control from the provinces, said Walsh.

“The challenge for the prime minister is that, as he sees these cases mount … he needs to also ensure that the public is on side with believing that Ottawa has done everything it can,” she explained. “And he will have a different political calculation than each of the premiers.”


Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Thursday slammed the idea of the federal government imposing the Emergencies Act, saying it ‘wouldn’t fly’ with premiers across the country. (Office of the Premier of Ontario)


Another factor contributing to the politicization of the health crisis is that people have become “numb” or “desensitized” to it, said Walsh.

That makes it hard for leaders to get their messaging across to Canadians.

“Both politicians and medical officers of health and the chief medical officer have struggled to, I think, really make clear the urgency [of the pandemic] because the language is so similar to what we hear every day,” she said.

This is no time for finger pointing or scoring any brownie points.– Yudhvir Jaswal

“It feels like the time to act is always now,” she added. “But I think that makes it really difficult for Canadians to see this urgency if the messaging is the same, and at the same time so confusing.”

Macleans Alberta correspondent Jason Markusoff agreed with Walsh, adding that Canadians no longer have the same appetite for lockdown restrictions as they did in March.


Storefronts in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood are reflected in a window sign on March 24. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)


While there are some people who may still be wary of dining out at restaurants or using fitness facilities, for example, Markusoff said there are swaths of people who are “ticked off” by the restrictions on businesses.

“So politicians are facing these mixed messages,” he said. “But I do think that as we’re seeing hospitals reach breaking points and case counts reach alarming records in Manitoba, Alberta and pretty much every other province not in the Atlantic bubble, that there could be a … turning tide.”

Jaswal thinks that if leaders could work together, they might avoid some of their disagreements on how to respond to the pandemic.

One solution, he suggested, could be to create a team of national leaders that includes the prime minister and other officials from across the country, to tackle the health crisis as a unit.

“This is no time for finger pointing or scoring any brownie points,” he said.

Written by Kirsten Fenn, with files from CBC News. Produced by Julie Crysler.

Source: –

Source link


Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth to launch political party –



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

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


COVID-19 doesn't care about politics –



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.



Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading


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



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.




Fake photos.



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

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won’t find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading