BAGHDAD — Rival protesters took to Iraq’s streets Friday as their leaders vied for political dominance, just 10 months after a U.S.-backed election that was meant to heal the country’s fractures left many more exposed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the “absolutely unacceptable” conduct at Hockey Canada has shaken the public’s faith in the national governing body for hockey.
“I think right now it’s hard for anyone in Canada to have faith or trust in anyone at Hockey Canada. What we’re learning today is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference on Tuesday at Bowen Island in British Columbia.
“There must be a reckoning and there need to be consequences for people who are responsible for that deep lack of respect for the institution.”
The Globe’s Grant Robertson reports that Hockey Canada keeps a special multimillion-dollar fund, which is fed by the registration fees of players across the country, that it uses to pay out settlements in cases of alleged sexual assault without its insurance company, and with minimal outside scrutiny.
This reserve fund has exceeded $15-million in recent years, a Globe and Mail investigation has found. Details of how it operates are not disclosed in Hockey Canada’s annual report.
The existence of the fund has raised new questions about how Hockey Canada handles allegations of sexual assault at a time when it has been accused by federal MPs of trying to sweep an alleged sexual assault by eight Canadian Hockey League players, including members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team, under the rug without conducting a full investigation.
Mr. Trudeau noted that his government has frozen funds to Hockey Canada pending significant reforms, transparency and accountability.
“A few years ago, I had my son in hockey and when I think about the culture that is apparently permeating the highest orders of that organization, I can understand why so many parents, why so many Canadians who take such pride in our national winter sport are absolutely disgusted by what’s going on,” he said.
Also: A day after an encounter in a hotel room that led to a sexual-assault lawsuit, a player with Canada’s world junior hockey team exchanged text messages with the woman involved. The player began by asking the woman whether she had gone to the police. Story here.
Mr. Trudeau’s comments came during a visit to B.C. that included a stop, on Monday, in the B.C. Interior town of Summerland. Story here.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by 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.
ENERGY SECTOR FEARS CARBON PRICING COSTS – The federal government says it plans to implement its oil and gas emissions cap through a new carbon pricing system, leaving the sector worried it will be charged more for greenhouse gas emissions than other heavy industries. Story here.
HILLIER SPEAKS OUT ON TURBINES ISSUE – Retired general Rick Hillier says he fears Canada’s decision to return Nord Stream 1 pipeline turbines to Germany will weaken global sanctions against Russia imposed after its invasion of Ukraine. Story here.
N.S. LEGISLATURE TO HEAD OFF MEMBERS PAY RAISE – Nova Scotia’s legislature will reconvene next week to stop the implementation of a pay bump for its members that would raise annual salaries above $100,000, Premier Tim Houston said Tuesday. Story here.
CAP NEAR FOR RELOCATING AFGHANS UNDER SPECIAL PROGRAM – The federal government is nearing its cap for relocating Afghans and their families to Canada through a special immigration program for those who worked with Canada’s military or government in Afghanistan. Story here.
BROWN MAY FACE LIBERAL MP CHALLENGE IN HOLDING BRAMPTON MAYORALTY – Patrick Brown is seeking a second term as mayor of Brampton, but may face a challenge from a Liberal MP considering a bid for the job. Story here.
SASKATCHEWAN FINANCE MINISTER DEFENDS $8,000 FLIGHT – Saskatchewan’s Finance Minister says it was worth spending nearly $8,000 on a private plane to attend a chamber of commerce lunch. Story here.
SMALLER DEFICIT FOR ONTARIO: FISCAL WATCHDOG – Ontario’s fiscal watchdog is projecting a deficit $5.4-billion smaller than the most recent figure projected by the government. Story here from CBC.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Toronto as is Jean Charest. Roman Baber is holding a meet-and-greet event in Barrie, Ont. Leslyn Lewis has stops in London and Sarnia. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa.
PLETT BACKS POILIEVRE – Manitoba Senator Don Plett, the Conservative leader in the Senate, says he is backing Pierre Poilievre for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party because Mr. Poilievre can rein in the “woke” elements of the party. Mr. Plett had planned to stay out of the race, but changed his mind, says The Winnipeg Free Press in a story here. “We have a woke society out there that we need to move back to where we were in the days of, absolutely, Stephen Harper – but also Brian Mulroney and our very founding forefathers … and most Liberal prime ministers,” he told The Free Press.
THIS AND THAT
The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.
NEW PRESIDENT OF NATIVE WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION – Carol McBridge has been elected the new president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada to serve a three-year term as head of Canada’s largest Indigenous women’s organization. She was elected by association members at the organization’s annual general assembly held on July 16.
HEARING SET ON POLITICAL INTERFERENCE IN N.S. SHOOTING – The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security has set a July 25 meeting on allegations of political interference in the 2020 Nova Scotia mass murder investigation, with scheduled witnesses including Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. Details here.
LETTER FROM THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL – To mark her first anniversary since becoming Governor-General, Mary Simon has written a letter to Canadians available here. “My position has limits. I cannot make policy or create programs. However, I can use my convening role to help build alliances that can promote change.”
HAJDU IN THUNDER BAY – Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, in Thunder Bay, Ont., announced support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario for medical technology and innovation in the Thunder Bay region. Ms. Hajdu is the minister responsible for the agency.
PETITPAS TAYLOR IN TRURO – Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, in Truro, N.S., announced support for three projects in Colchester County to help the region boost tourism and create growth opportunities for local businesses. Ms. Petitpas Taylor is also the minister for the the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
More than two years after Canada’s worst mass shooting, someone there at the start has spoken up. Lisa Banfield, the shooter’s common-law spouse, spoke last Friday at the inquiry into how the RCMP handled the incident. She provided insight into what happened in April, 2020, and described a chilling portrait of intimate partner violence. The Globe’s Greg Mercer tells us about what Banfield witnessed, the shooter’s violent history, and why some of the victims’ families walked out during her testimony. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
In the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the Prime Minister made an announcement on oceans protection and held a media availability. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray also attended. The Prime Minister was also scheduled to visit a local children’s day camp.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet continues a summer tour of Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Yellowknife, met with Tłı̨chǫ Region Chiefs and was scheduled to visit the Yellowknife Farmers Market and hold a meet-and-greet event in a park.
No schedule released for other party leaders.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on why medicare needs major surgery, but Dr. Brian Day should not be the surgeon: “Medicare needs new money, new resources and major reforms. But Dr. Day’s prescription is not the way forward. Revolutionizing Canadian health care by allowing people to spend more of their own money on doctors’ visits or surgeries will not, by itself, magically create more doctors, nurses, hospitals and surgeries. Nor will it cause waiting lists to disappear. Giving you the right to get into a bidding war with your neighbours for scarce medical services is unlikely to yield happy results.”
André Picard (The Globe and Mail) on how squabbling over the federal-provincial split in funding won’t fix the health system: “Canadians don’t especially care if the funding for health care is federal or provincial, split 22/78 or 35/65 or 50/50. They want the care to be there when they need it – and it isn’t. Structural reform is increasingly urgent. Part of that equation will have to be a new funding formula, one that requires a lot more accountability than we currently have. The first step has to be setting clear priorities for reform, and costing them out – which is how the premiers should have spent their time, instead of just whinging. Fix the system. We can worry about how we split the cheque later.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the spouse of the Nova Scotia shooter was another one of his victims: “She was physically and financially trapped for years by an abusive partner who threatened to kill her family if she ever left. Had Ms. Banfield been slightly less fortunate, or perhaps less determined to survive, she could have easily been among the Nova Scotia massacre casualties – in which case there would likely be no question whether she was complicit in the attack. One man was ultimately responsible for what happened on those days; Ms. Banfield was one of his victims.”
Murray Mandryk (Regina Leader-Post) on how news of a costly flight by Finance Minister Donna Harpauer comes at a bad time for the Sask. Party: “Harpauer’s seemingly innocuous flight sure has triggered a lot of resentment over the Sask. Party government’s perceived growing smugness. It likely started with the international trips and Moe’s suggestion that he “makes no apologies” for government travel. An apology? Despite repeated requests from the media, we can’t even get the weekly cabinet itinerary government used to provide. Evidently, where ministers go or who they choose to hold to publicly meet with to discuss “economic sovereignty” isn’t taxpayers’ business. But the outrage over Harpauer’s chartered flight to North Battleford is more about its timing – not only that it happened two days after her budget taxed concerts, football tickets and gym memberships as luxuries but also that we are only finding about it now just as we are getting hammered by 22-per-cent and eight-per-cent respective SaskEnergy and SaskPower hikes.”
Why Wisconsin Is the Most Fascinating State in American Politics – The New York Times
What happens there in November will offer a preview of the political brawls to come.
Wisconsin has long been a crucible of American politics. It remains so now.
It’s where two once-powerful senators, Joseph McCarthy and Robert La Follette, defined two of the major themes we still see playing out today — what the historian Richard Hofstadter called the “paranoid style,” in McCarthy’s case, and progressivism in La Follette’s.
It’s a place that has also proved time and again that elections have consequences. McCarthy won his Senate seat in the 1946 midterms amid a backlash against President Harry Truman, who was struggling to control the soaring price of meat as the country adjusted to a peacetime economy. He ousted Robert La Follette Jr., who had essentially inherited his father’s Senate seat.
Four years later, McCarthy used his new platform to begin his infamous anti-communist crusade — persecuting supposed communists inside the federal government, Hollywood and the liberal intelligentsia across the country. His rise came to an end after a lawyer for one of his targets, Joseph Welch, rounded on him with one of the most famous lines ever delivered during a congressional hearing: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”
The state’s modern political geography, which is rooted in this history, as well as deep-seated patterns of ethnic migration and economic development, is as fascinating as it is complex.
La Follette’s old base in Madison, the capital and a teeming college town, dominates the middle south of the state like a kind of Midwestern Berkeley. But unlike in periwinkle-blue coastal California, Madison and Milwaukee — the state’s largest city, which is about 90 minutes to the east along the shores of Lake Michigan — are surrounded by a vast ocean of scarlet.
Much of the state remains rural and conservative — McCarthy and Trump country.
And as in much of the United States, even smaller Wisconsin cities like Green Bay (the home of the Packers), Eau Claire (a fiercely contested political battleground), Janesville (the home of Paul Ryan, the former House speaker), Kenosha (the hometown of Reince Priebus, the sometime ally and former aide to Donald Trump) and Oshkosh (the home and political base of Senator Ron Johnson) have gone blue in recent decades.
The so-called W.O.W. counties around Milwaukee — Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington — are the historical strongholds of suburban G.O.P. power, and political pundits and forecasters watch election trends there closely to tease out any potential national implications. Other portions of the northwestern area of the state are essentially suburbs of Minneapolis, and tend to toggle between the parties from election to election.
The Republican Party’s origins can be traced to Ripon, Wis., where disaffected members of the Whig Party met in 1854 as they planned a new party with an anti-slavery platform. The party’s early leaders were also disgusted by what they called the “tyranny” of Andrew Jackson, a populist Democrat who built a political machine that ran roughshod over the traditional ways politics was done in America.
On Tuesday, the state held its primaries, and the results were classic Wisconsin: Republicans chose Tim Michels, a Trump-aligned “Stop-the-Steal” guy, as their nominee to face Gov. Tony Evers, the Democratic incumbent, over Rebecca Kleefisch, the establishment favorite. Robin Vos, the Assembly speaker who has tilted to the right on election issues but who refused to help Trump overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, barely held on to his seat.
To understand what’s happening, I badgered Reid Epstein, my colleague on the politics team. Reid has forgotten more Wisconsin political lore than most of us have ever absorbed, and here, he gives us some perspective on why the state has become such a bitterly contested ground zero for American democracy.
Our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity:
You started your journalism career in Milwaukee, if I’m not mistaken. Give us a sense of what’s changed about Wisconsin politics in the years you’ve been covering the state.
In Waukesha, actually. Back in 2002, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel still had bureaus covering the Milwaukee suburbs, and that’s where I had my first job, covering a handful of municipalities and school districts in Waukesha County.
A lot of the same characters I wrote about as a cub reporter are still around. The then-village president of Menomonee Falls is now leading the effort to decertify Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, which of course can’t be done. The seeds of the polarization and zero-sum politics you see now in Wisconsin were just beginning to sprout 20 years ago.
Republican voters chose to keep Robin Vos, yet nominated Tim Michels. Help us understand the mixed signals we’re getting here.
Well, it helped that Michels had more than $10 million of his own cash to invest in his race, and Adam Steen, the Trump-backed challenger to Vos, didn’t have enough money for even one paid staff member.
Vos, whose first legislative race I was there for in 2004, nearly lost to a guy with no money and no name recognition in a district where the Vos family has lived for generations. He won, but it was very close.
Behind the Journalism
How Times reporters cover politics.
We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.
What is it about Wisconsin that has made politics there so zero-sum? I’m thinking of developments like the Democrats’ attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker in 2012, his crackdown on union power, and the Legislature’s efforts to curtail the power of Tony Evers, the current governor. What’s the deal? How did the state get so starkly divided?
The Wisconsin political and media ecosystem has long been dominated by conservative talk radio hosts. More than any other state in the country, Wisconsin’s right-wing talkers control the political agenda, and like Fox News nationally, they generate ratings by stoking outrage — usually against Democrats, but sometimes against fellow Republicans.
Scott Walker was raised in this environment. He was a backbench state assemblyman who became widely known from calling into the Charlie Sykes show on WTMJ in Milwaukee. Those shows always had a villain — usually, whichever Democrat or newspaper reporter was in the host’s cross hairs for the day.
When Sykes would spend a segment attacking one of my articles in the morning paper, my voice mail box at the office would be full of angry callers by the time I got to my desk. Imagine what that does to elected Republicans when are on the receiving end.
Skyes has since reinvented himself as a never-Trump podcast host and columnist — and he now trains his considerable rhetorical talents against the Republican Party he once enthusiastically supported. He’s traded his local influence for a national platform.
You cover a lot of the machinations over the control of American democracy. Is there anything unique about how these battles are playing out in Badger country?
Republicans have such control of the levers of power in Wisconsin that voters are almost immaterial. It is the most gerrymandered state legislature in the country — a 50-50 state where Republicans hold 61 out of 99 seats in the Assembly and 21 out of 33 seats in the Senate.
There is at the moment no functional way for Democrats to carry out any sort of policy agenda in Madison; their only hope is to have a governor who will veto things. And the Wisconsin Supreme Court has a 4-to-3 conservative majority that has, with some exceptions after the 2020 election, toed the party line for Republicans.
Some states, like Michigan and North Carolina, have managed to work through many of these same issues and create a more level playing field that reflects the real balance of power between the parties. Why hasn’t Wisconsin done so?
Wisconsin doesn’t afford its citizens the opportunity to petition things into law or the state constitution like Michigan and dozens of other states do. So the only hope is through the Legislature, where Republicans have shown no compunction about maintaining their hold on power through whatever means necessary.
What to read on democracy
Jane Mayer of The New Yorker writes that state legislatures are torching democracy.
Historians privately warned President Biden recently that the current moment in America is among the most perilous in modern history for democratic governance, The Washington Post reports.
There are now fewer competitive congressional districts than at any point in the last 52 years because of gerrymandering, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
Also from the Brennan Center: Lawmakers from the whitest districts in the most racially diverse states are most likely to sponsor anti-voter bills, while racially diverse states controlled by Republicans are far more likely to pass restrictions on voting.
A ‘vote-a-rama’ in Congress
On Politics regularly features work by Times photographers. Here’s what Haiyun Jiang told us about capturing the image above:
When the Senate began its “vote-a-rama” for the Inflation Reduction Act, a marathon series of votes on amendments, I was on Capitol Hill trying to capture the mood and action as senators prepared for an inevitably long weekend.
Around 9 p.m., Senator Ron Wyden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, walked into the press gallery for a briefing with reporters. “I heard that you all wanted a little post-dinner entertainment,” he said as he sat down.
A tall man, Wyden was visibly uncomfortable in a sofa chair that was low to the ground. As the briefing went on, he periodically stretched his legs. I decided to wait for the moment when he stretched again.
His posture conveyed the exhaustion and weariness that I hoped to capture, with a long night of debates and votes looming over everyone on Capitol Hill.
Thanks for reading. We’ll see you next week.
Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com.
Baghdad gripped by protests as political rivals vie for power – The Washington Post
The aftermath of those polls has forced years-long tensions to the surface. In a country where elites rule by consensus, rival Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni politicians have been unable to agree on key government appointments. The election’s biggest winner, powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has withdrawn his parliamentarians from the process, sending his supporters instead to occupy the leafy grounds of the legislature.
He is now calling for early elections, which would be the second in less than a year.
As dusk approached Friday, Sadr’s supporters gathered in provinces across the country and outside the parliament to echo his demands. But they were not alone. Several miles away, near Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, thousands of foot soldiers for the cleric’s rivals — former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and leaders of armed groups linked to Iran — gathered too, protesting what they described as a “political coup” by Sadr.
By nightfall, a crowd of hundreds was building tents in the capital, and people said they were setting up for the long haul.
“We’ll stay as long as it takes,” said Ali Hassan, a 30-year-old government employee from Baghdad. “The people know our demands, and they know that they are legitimate.”
While the politics were complicated, the core problem was simple, analysts said. Twenty years after the U.S.-led invasion, winners from the kleptocratic political system it ultimately installed are now fighting over who reaps its spoils.
Locked out of that system are millions of ordinary Iraqis who have seen little benefit from the nation’s immense oil wealth. Hospitals are crumbling, and the education system is among the worst in the region. For three days last week, as a heat wave pushed temperatures past 125 degrees, three southern provinces failed to even keep the lights on, as the extreme heat pushed an already shaky power grid to the breaking point.
Iraq’s last elections took place several months early, as a response to mass protests that demanded the overthrow of the political system. The young and mostly Shiite demonstrators were met with brutal repression, and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was forced to step down after almost 600 people were killed.
In October, fresh polls left Sadr with the largest bloc in parliament, and Maliki with the second, as historically low voter turnout left powerful parties with large bases as the biggest winners. Many Iraqis viewed the polls as an exercise in reshuffling the political deck chairs, and said that none of the major factions represented them.
But the atmosphere was festive outside Baghdad’s parliament on Friday as men in black T-shirts streamed through the streets carrying photographs of Sadr and his father, a revered cleric killed by dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, to demand more elections, and the sidelining of all the “old faces” — apart from Sadr.
A tinny loudspeaker blasted music through the air as bands of protesters sang and swayed, others enjoyed free kebabs or large chunks of melon. “We’re here to dissolve the parliament and to stand with Sayeed Moqtada’s demands,” said Hassan al-Iraqi, a religious studies student in his 30s who said that he had made the five-hour journey from the northern city of Mosul.
Sadr derives his strength in part from millions of impoverished supporters who view him as a sacred figure of storied lineage, and as someone who has resisted occupation and injustice. For weeks, he has used his Twitter account to praise his supporters’ efforts on the streets, likening their efforts to a “revolution.”
The messages have been received with a mix of excitement and reverence, as bands of teenagers pass around cellphones to read his posts.
By nightfall Friday, politicians from the opposing bloc were tweeting statements in praise of their own supporters too.
Maliki called the rallies “massive” and peaceful.
“Today you have brought joy to the hearts of Iraqis,” wrote Qais al-Khazali, a Shiite cleric aligned with Maliki. “The martyr Muhandis is all happy when he sees his sons defending Iraq and the interest of the people and the state with courage and awareness,” he wrote, in reference to a powerful militia leader killed alongside Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a January 2020 drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.
Experts point to that drone strike as a seminal moment in Iraq’s latest unraveling — both of the slain men were pivotal figures in maintaining unity among the country’s now divided Shiite factions.
In Baghdad’s city center, another group also gathered Friday as the heat ebbed and traffic snarled the streets. They were secular activists, and they had planned their own protest in a place etched in the annals of the American invasion: Firdoos Square, where U.S. troops once pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein.
“This whole system was built on a mistake,” said Najad al-Iraqi, an activist, who said he had not voted in a single election since Saddam’s fall. “None of these parties have ever worked for us,” he said. “They’re all corrupt, every one of them.”
Quebec Premier François Legault promises more affordable housing ahead of fall election campaign
The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec promised today to fund 11,700 new units in the next four years if his party wins a second term on Oct. 3.
He says that amount will bring the province about halfway to filling the estimated shortfall of social and affordable units over the next 10 years, which his government pegs at 23,500 units.
Legault says his party would also subsidize rent supplements for 7,200 housing units, for a total investment of $1.8 billion.
While Legault has yet to announce an official start date for the fall election campaign, the main party leaders have been criss-crossing the province for weeks to hold public appearances and name candidates.
Recent polls suggest Legault’s party has a commanding lead, with more than double the support of his nearest rival.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.
The Canadian Press
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