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Politics Briefing: Montreal will host NATO's new climate centre, Trudeau says – The Globe and Mail

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Note to readers: Politics Briefing will pause tomorrow for Canada Day and resume Monday.

Hello,

Montreal will host NATO’s new climate centre as radical climate change evolves into a serious security risk for the military alliance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday.

Canada will also host the new North American headquarters of NATO’s tech centre but Mr. Trudeau declined, at a news conference in Madrid on Thursday to say why the government has not contributed to the novel €1-billon ($1.35-billion) fund associated with the alliance’s innovation project.

“We continue to be in discussions,” Mr. Trudeau said at the close of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Madrid, referring to the talks to set up the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA) in Canada and its investment structure.

He would not say where DIANA would be located. Reports have suggested Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo area, one of Canada’s top research and development centres, could be high on the list.

Mr. Trudeau also said Canada will send more troops to Latvia as part of NATO’s ambitious effort to shore up its vulnerable eastern flank on, or close to, the Russian border. But he did not say how many more Canadian troops would be stationed beyond the nearly 700 already stationed there. “There will be more,” he said.

Canada has pledged to help Latvia raise the size of the NATO forces in that country to brigade level, roughly 3,000 troops, though the troops would come from many alliance member states.

Mr. Trudeau, who was headed back to Ottawa on Thursday after an international trip that has also included stops in Rwanda and Germany, said Canada is in the final stages of talks to supply Ukraine with up to 39 armoured combat support vehicles to help it fight off Russia.

They had been destined for the Canadian Army but will be diverted to Ukraine. He said all the equipment diverted to Ukraine would be replaced “as quickly as possible” so that the Canadian military would not go short.

European Bureau Chief Eric Reguly reports here.

Reporter’s Comment, Mr. Reguly:The leaders of the NATO countries at the alliance’s summit in Madrid sounded like they had all rehearsed their message together about supporting Ukraine so it won’t lose the war. “As long as it takes” or minor variations of that line were repeated endlessly. No one said whether that would be months or years, how this war might end, or whether their voting publics would tolerate a long war that has already helped to raise food and energy costs to crippling levels for the unrich. If the war is still grinding away during the next summit, in 2023, the NATO leaders may need to retool their message. No one but military contractors wants endless wars.”

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.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

RAPE SHIELD LAW CONSTITUTIONAL: SUPREME COURT – The Supreme Court of Canada, in a ruling Thursday, has upheld a federal law that expands the privacy rights of complainants in sexual-assault trials, saying that Parliament was justified in trying to protect their dignity and encourage them to report crime. Story here.

ARSENAULT TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT ON CBC’S NATIONAL – CBC News is shaking up the anchor roles at The National as it plans to launch a free 24-hour live streaming channel this fall, with the broadcast to be centred around veteran journalist Adrienne Arsenault, who has shared the anchor role in recent years. Story here.

LEGAL CHALLENGE FILED OVER GOVERNOR-GENERAL’s LACK OF FRENCH – A group of Quebeckers has filed a legal challenge of the appointment of Mary Simon as Governor-General on the grounds that her inability to speak French violates constitutional requirements for official bilingualism. Story here.

AIR CANADA CANCELLING ABOUT 150 FLIGHTS DAILY – Air Canada, citing “unprecedented strains” on the airline industry from resurgent travel, says it is cancelling 154 flights per day in July and August, or 15 per cent of its schedule. Story here.

BLAIR DENIES CONNECTING GUN CONTROL TO N.S. MASS SHOOTING IN TALKS WITH COMMISSIONER – Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says he never linked government gun-control measures to the investigation into the mass killings in Nova Scotia during frequent conversations with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. Story here.

LABELLING PROGRAM ANNOUNCED FOR SOME FOODS – Ground meats will not require a warning label under Health Canada’s new nutrition labelling policy, the government announced Thursday. In a press conference, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that its long-awaited policy – which will require labels on foods that are high in sugar, salt or saturated fat – will come into effect in January, 2026. And following weeks of mounting concerns from the meat industry, Ottawa’s plan announced Thursday marks a reversal on its initial position that would have required such labels on ground meats. Story here.

SNOWBIRDS CANADA DAY FLY-OVER IN OTTAWA CANCELLED – The traditional Canada Day fly-past over Ottawa by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds has been cancelled, following a problem with the aircraft’s emergency ejection parachute that grounded the fleet. Story here from CTV.

ONTARIO NDP INTERIM LEADER PROMISES EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION TO FORD, PCS – The new interim leader of Ontario’s New Democrats said Wednesday that he hopes his political experience and commitment to the party will help them act as an effective Opposition to Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives during the NDP’s hunt for a permanent leader. Story here.

CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE

CAMPAIGN TRAIL – There are no events for Thursday listed on Roman Baber’s web site, but he is holding a Canada Day BBQ in North York. Patrick Brown was in Oakville, Mississauga and Brampton. Jean Charest was in Edmonton on Thursday, and then headed back to Quebec. Leslyn Lewis is in her Haldimand-Norfolk riding. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There’s no word on Scott Aitchison’s campaign whereabouts.

POILIEVRE ON THE MARCH – Pierre Poilievre joined Canadian solider James Topp as he neared the end of a walk across Canada on Thursday, set to end at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa. Mr. Topp, an Alberta resident, has said he is on the march, partly to get all vaccine mandates repealed. Video and story here from CTV.

BROWN PRESSED ON WHICH RACE HE WILL FINISH – A city hall opponent is asking Brampton, Ont., Mayor Patrick Brown to confirm what his rivals for the federal Conservative leadership also want to know: which race will he actually finish? Story here from The National Post.

THIS AND THAT

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

FREELAND IN NEWMARKET – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland visited Exco Engineering, a Canadian automotive parts manufacturer on Thursday, met with workers and held a news conference.

FREELAND ON SECURITY DETAILS – “I’m the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada. I almost never have any security. When [U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen] was here, she’s the U.S. secretary of the treasury, she needs to be taken care of, she travels in a convoy. And I rode my bike to the [Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto] to meet that convoy and then they asked me to join the convoy for ease of the day. The Secretary said to me, `You rode your bike here, I hear. How does your security detail feel about riding bikes to be with you?’ And I said, `They don’t because I don’t have a security detail. I just rode here by myself and locked up my bike and rode into the ROM. I think that is a great thing about our country.” – Chrystia Freeland at Thursday news conference in Newmarket, Ont.

DOUBLE DOSE OF DUCLOS – In Ottawa, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and officials provided an update on COVID-19. The health minister also made a nutrition-related announcement.

VANDAL IN CALGARY – Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, also responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, announced federal support in Calgary for events and tourism experiences.

GOULD IN BURLINGTON – Families Minister Karina Gould, acting on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in Burlington, Ont., announced support for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Ontario.

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, The Globe’s education reporter Caroline Alphonso and Decibel producer Sherrill Sutherland talk about Westview Centennial Secondary School in the northwest of Toronto after spending a day there to find out how students they feel about graduating. On Thursday, about 180 students are crossing the stage to get their diplomas. While this is a common rite of passage for teens across the country, these students had anything but a normal high school experience. The pandemic meant online learning, no sports, taking care of younger siblings and little in-person interaction with friends. Westview is also located in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood – one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

In Madrid for the NATO summit, the Prime Minister held a breakfast meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, then met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. The Prime Minister then participated in the North Atlantic Council Plenary Session, followed by a media availability. The Prime Minister was then scheduled to meet with Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain, participate in a working luncheon hosted by Mr. Sánchez, and deliver a joint statement with Mr. Sánchez, and then depart for Ottawa.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet visited the Quebec riding of Rimouski¬–Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques, accompanied by MP Maxime Blanchette-Joncas.

No schedules provided for other party leaders.

PUBLIC OPINION

ONTARIANS SKEPTICAL ABOUT THEIR GOVERNMENT – Ontarians have re-elected a Progressive Conservative government led by Doug Ford , but are skeptical about the government’s ability to deal with the issues, such as inflation and health care, of importance to them, according to new research by the Angus Reid Institute. Details here.

CANADIANS DIVIDED ON CANADA DAY – Nearly half of respondents in a poll by Counsel Public Affairs say the nation should spend Canada Day both celebrating and reflecting while 41 per cent say the holiday is a day for celebrating with reflections on shortcomings left for another day. Details here.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how it is time for RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to tell the whole story:There’s something crucial missing: an explanation from RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. It can’t wait much longer. The allegation that the Liberal government pressured the RCMP to release information about the investigation into the Nova Scotia shootings of April 18 to 19, 2020, in order to advance their gun-control agenda is now boiling down to two increasingly irreconcilable versions of events – with Commissioner Lucki in between. We need the commissioner to come forward, quickly.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the Prime Minister credibly accused of interfering in a criminal matter for political purposes? : “And while nothing in either Supt. Campbell or Ms. Scanlan’s record gives us reason to doubt their version of events, everything in this Prime Minister’s does. To take only the most obvious example – obvious, because the accusation of political interference in a criminal matter is so lethally apt – the Prime Minister flatly denied that he had pressured the former attorney-general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to interfere in the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin (“the allegations in The Globe story are false”). Only later, after it became impossible to deny, did he retreat into those strenuous Clintonian attempts to parse how much pressure was too much pressure: as if there really was any ambiguity to the impressive all-government effort to bend Ms. Wilson-Raybould into compliance, or as if the standard we should expect of a prime minister is that he should tiptoe up to the line of interfering in a criminal prosecution, as long as he can plausibly claim he didn’t cross it.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail)on how the institution of police survives if police aren’t seen to put civilian lives before their own: “Policing as an institution functions off of a certain pact with the public. Officers are expected to take risks we wouldn’t ask of the average civilian and, in exchange, they are afforded extraordinary powers (in Canada, to carry handguns for example), protections (against assault as specifically outlined in the Criminal Code) and honour and esteem. In emergency situations, police are expected to run toward the danger while the rest of us run away, which is why the profession is generally held in high regard. But if police are seen running away with the crowd too many times – or hesitating outside a classroom where kids are being slaughtered, or withholding information to protect police during a killer’s rampage – how does law enforcement’s pact with the public survive?”

Peter Misek (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa must act fast to avoid another economic catastrophe: “It will take leadership and another act of heroism for Canada’s politicians to be honest with citizens about the facts. Governments cannot continue to fight past pandemic-induced battles while ignoring the economic future. Taxing the rich, as the Trudeau government has pledged to do, is a Faustian bargain because at a 53-per-cent top marginal rate, Canada is already uncompetitive and could face capital and talent flight. The best chance for avoiding economic catastrophe requires swift action in three ways.”

John Michael McGrath (TVO) on how this fall’s municipal elections in Ontario will get interesting everywhere but in one notable city: The biggest exception to the general level of interesting races can be found in the biggest Ontario city of all: in Toronto, Mayor John Tory as yet faces no prominent challenger for a third term. If we’re going to see any compelling contests for Toronto city hall in October, they’ll like involve council seats where progressive stalwarts have either already left or announced they won’t run again; people like Kristyn Wong-Tam and Joe Cressy have moved elsewhere, and North York councillor John Filion has announced he won’t run again.

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.

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Why Wisconsin Is the Most Fascinating State in American Politics – The New York Times

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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.

Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

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.

Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times

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.

— Blake

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 onpolitics@nytimes.com.

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Baghdad gripped by protests as political rivals vie for power – The Washington Post

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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.

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.”

Iraq’s wildcard cleric upends politics as summer heat descends

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 broils in dangerous 120 degree heat as power grid shuts down

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.”

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Quebec Premier François Legault promises more affordable housing ahead of fall election campaign

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LAVAL, Que. — Quebec Premier François Legault is getting an early jump on the fall election campaign with a promise to build thousands of new social and affordable housing units if re-elected.

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.

 

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