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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is playing down suggestions of a pre-election tour as today he visits Alberta for events that include talks with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, and touting federal pandemic support programs.
It’s the second province, outside of Ontario, that the federal Liberal Leader has been in this week after stops in Saskatchewan on Tuesday.
During an appearance on RED FM radio in Calgary, the Prime Minister was asked about his travels.
“All this shows you are in an election-campaign mode,” host Rishi Nagar said.
“Actually it doesn’t. It shows that we are getting things done,” said Mr. Trudeau, making his first in-studio appearance for an interview in 16 months.
Mr. Trudeau said the government has been focused on supporting Canadians through the pandemic, but working on rebuilding the economy.
“As our economy opens up again, there are lots of things to announce,” he said. “I am taking advantage of the fact that our [pandemic] case loads are now lower, that people are getting vaccinated to be able to travel a little bit more and make the announcements on things that we have been working on for many, many months.”
Mr. Trudeau is not the only leader departing Ottawa to hit the road. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is in British Columbia this week. And Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will be travelling to Alberta Thursday for a western swing that includes stops in Saskatchewan and B.C.
In a pitch for Alberta support, Mr. Trudeau told Red FM that having strong Liberal voices from the province in caucus and at the cabinet table was key to “getting big things done” for the province such as buying the Trans-Mountain pipeline.
Asked, more pointedly about an election, Mr. Trudeau said, “We will be ready if there is an election, but our focus is on supporting Canadians.”
Video of the interview is here.
Reporter’s Comment, from Kelly Cryderman of the Alberta Bureau on Mr. Trudeau’s visit:
A return to 2015 when the Liberals won two Calgary seats isn’t on the agenda for the Prime Minister’s visit to the city today but the possibility winning any seats back in Alberta’s largest city is likely to be the underlying theme of the visit. With a federal election call expected soon, Justin Trudeau will likely be eyeing the city’s central and northeast ridings where his party has a small chance of eking out a victory in the home turf of Canadian conservatism.
Mr. Trudeau is likely to play up the acclamation this week of Murray Sigler in the riding of Calgary Confederation. The nomination of the well-known businessman, most recently interim president and chief executive of the Calgary Chamber, is a potential game-changer in the riding. During his RED FM interview, Mr. Trudeau also praised both outgoing Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who has brushed off suggestions he will make a quick leap into party politics, and current city councillor George Chahal – a potential fit for the Liberals in the northeast riding of Calgary Skyview. The Prime Minister said he has tremendous respect for both men, and he looks forward to continuing to work with them “however things end up happening.”
The Liberals’ chances in Alberta are still not particularly strong. Many Albertans believe they don’t really care about thousands of oil and gas workers who have lost their jobs in recent years, or the economic upheaval likely to come from future energy transitions. But the province has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic and the oil-demand drop of last year, and Ottawa’s pandemic income and business supports have been a much-needed lifeline. The Liberals are still hoping their handling of the pandemic is less despised than Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s, whose approval numbers are low and who is facing political challenges from the left and right. They’re also hoping to capitalize on the fact that federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has failed to build any huge momentum to now.
VOTING UNDER WAY FOR NEW AFN CHIEF – First Nations chiefs are voting to name a new national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Wednesday, a role that will involve navigating working relationships with the Prime Minister, the federal cabinet and the premiers at a critical moment in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
LIFE AND CAREER OF NEW GOVERNONR-GENERAL MARY SIMON – Deputy Ottawa Bureau Chief Bill Curry and Ottawa Staff Reporter Menaka Raman-Wilms report here on the life and career of Canada’s new Governor-General Mary Simon: “Ms. Simon’s appointment caps a high-profile career at the centre of Indigenous policy making. She has worked on the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in the early 1980s, played a senior role with the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and represented the Inuit during then-prime minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 residential schools apology. She was president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), a non-profit organization representing more than 65,000 Inuit in Canada.”
AGREEMENT WITH COWESSESS – The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan where hundreds of unmarked graves were recently discovered near the site of a former residential school is the first in Canada to take back control of children in care under federal legislation. Chief Cadmus Delorme signed an agreement on Tuesday alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe on the powwow grounds at Cowessess.
NEW VISIONS TO REPLACE QUEEN VICTORIA STATUE – Indigenous artists are reimagining what could sit in front of Manitoba’s legislature building after a statue of Queen Victoria on the grounds was brought down on Canada Day by a small group of participants in a walk held in honour of children forced to attend residential schools. Details here. From CBC.
RANKIN URGED TO FOLLOW CAMPBELL/MOE EXAMPLE – Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin’s apology for a previously undisclosed impaired driving conviction must be followed up with action on the issue, the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said Tuesday.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
A day after he was in Saskatchewan, the Prime Minister is in Calgary. The day begins with a live interview with Calgary’s RED FM, private meetings and then a visit to AAA Doors Ltd, a local business that received federal support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then comes a meeting with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, followed by a meeting with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. After that, the Prime Minister and Mr. Nenshi visit the CT – Oliver Bowen Maintenance Facility to make an announcement.
OPINION – ON THE NEW GOVERNOR-GENERAL
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail ) on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau skirting language symbols to appoint a new Governor-General who expresses hope for Indigenous reconciliation: “One could see why Mr. Trudeau would settle on Ms. Simon as the symbol for a vice-regal appointment now. Her C.V. provides a list of reasons: an Inuk woman from the region of northern Quebec now called Nunavik, who was involved in the negotiation of the 1975 James Bay agreement, running the Makivik Corporation that managed the financial compensation, serving as Canada’s first Arctic Ambassador. But her optimism about the prospects for reconciliation, and about Canada, make her the Governor-General Mr. Trudeau needed.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on how becoming French will be one of new Governor-General’s biggest jobs: “Imagine a governor-general who could not speak English fluently. How is the inability to speak French fluently any different? That said, the people of Quebec and francophones across Canada may be willing to accept what would otherwise be an unconscionable affront. We are at a crossroads in the life of our country. The discovery of many hundreds of bodies buried in unmarked graves at former residential schools and the federal government’s decision to incorporate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law are bound to lead to fundamental changes in the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. There is good reason for this Liberal government to decide that the next governor-general simply must be First Nation, Métis or Inuit.”
Dakota Kochie (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) on Mary Simon’s historic appointment as Canada’s next Governor-General being worth celebrating: “This appointment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make Ms. Simon the first Indigenous governor-general. in Canada’s history, and sends a strong message to all Indigenous peoples that while we have a long way to go to achieve meaningful reconciliation in Canada, we are on the right path to a more inclusive and successful country for everyone. As a First Nations person myself, the significance of Ms. Simon’s appointment is not lost on me. Whether you are First Nations, Métis or Inuk, having representation at Rideau Hall is more than just symbolism, it’s progress.”
Aaju Peter (Contributor to The Globe and Mail) on new life, new sunrise with new Governor-General: “In the footsteps of Michaëlle Jean, Adrienne Clarkson and David Johnston, all of whom I had the great pleasure of meeting, I have no doubt that Ms. Simon is the perfect choice. After the sun disappears from the horizon and it becomes dark and cold in Inuit Nunangat, Inuit perform a ritual when the sun reappears. The song goes, “Alianaittuqaqput inuunialirama ulluq suli tauva …” loosely translated as, “I am so happy that I shall be alive again. The daylight is still there…”. Indeed, this is a great day for celebration. There is a new life, a new sunrise for us all. Ms. Simon is a very compassionate woman and I trust we are all witnessing a new sunrise after a long dark winter.”
Paul Wells (Maclean’s) on Mary Simon and the Prime Minister’s winning conditions: “Expect Ms. Simon’s formal installation to take place before mid-August, the likeliest kickoff date for an election nobody needs but one man wants. The omens and portents are many. The Prime Minister is newly clean-shaven, as he was the last time he campaigned for re-election. His polling advantage is impressive. Members of his campaign staff who had government jobs are already, I’m told, working on their campaign tasks instead. The pieces are falling into place for the next chapter in the many, many adventures of Justin Trudeau.”
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‘It’s 2021, it’s not 1950:’ Women politicians in N.S. show support for Robyn Ingraham – Global News
Pamela Lovelace is no stranger to the sexism encountered by women in politics.
She ran for Liberal nomination back in 2013, and is now a Halifax regional councillor for District 13 and says she’s encountered all sorts of comments — because she is a woman — while trying to get elected.
“I remember someone saying ‘why are you here? Why are you doing this, you have a family?’” said Lovelace. “I said, ‘well my opponent has a family too’ and the response was ‘yeah, he has a wife though.’”
While Lovelace says politics is still very much an old boys’ club and that it’s hard for women to get into office, she says parties should support diversity among their candidates.
She says it was discouraging to find out a Liberal candidate in this provincial election was kicked out of the party for posting and selling boudoir photos online.
“I was really disappointed to hear that the political landscape is talking about what a person has done with their body rather than the actual ideas that Nova Scotians care about,” Lovelace said.
Earlier this week Robyn Ingraham withdrew as the Liberal candidate for Dartmouth South. She originally posted online that it was due to mental health reasons, but then she later posted to her Instagram account that the party had taken issue with her boudoir photos and Only Fans account despite her having disclosed that during the nomination process.
A barber and small business owner, Ingraham also published an email she said she had sent to Rankin, which stated the party had made a mistake by forcing her out. “The misogynistic behaviour of those above you is not tolerable,” she wrote to the premier. “It’s not my job to make old white men comfortable.”
Former Liberal candidate says party ousted her over ‘boudoir photos’
On Friday, Rankin’s news conference in rural Cape Breton about tourism funding quickly turned into a barrage of questions from reporters about how the ousting of Ingraham occurred, what was said and who was responsible. He confirmed his team “assisted” Ingraham with her resignation statement and said he has been repeatedly trying to contact her to learn her version of events.
But in a brief interview with The Canadian Press at her barbershop in Dartmouth, N.S., Ingraham said she doesn’t plan to speak with Rankin.
“I haven’t spoken to him and I have no intention of speaking to him,” she said. “I just wanted my story to get out there.”
She also said she doesn’t want to run for any other party. “I just want to get back to running my business,” she said at her shop, called Devoted Barbers and Co.
Lovelace said what was done to Ingraham was an injustice.
“Let’s get her back on the ballot,” said Lovelace. “It’s 2021, it’s not 1950, so let’s move on to better politics in Nova Scotia.”
Claudia Chender is running as the NDP candidate for the same riding Ingraham has dropped out of and says this whole situation shows the double standard for men and women in politics.
“I think we are past the point where we should be embroiled in this type of situation as a scandal, but unfortunately we still have a lot of misogyny, frankly, in Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia politics.”
Chender says whether or not someone takes or sells revealing photos of themselves does not have an impact on how they can help the community.
Nova Scotia housing prices an election issue
“Political candidates should be judged on how are you going to make things better, how are you going to fix things?” said Chender.
“I think anything else that’s happening in their own personal lives that isn’t causing people harm is nobody’s business.”
Ingraham’s removal from the ballot has caught the attention of women across the country and many are showing her their support.
In a Twitter post, Mackenzie Kerr, a Green Party candidate in British Columbia posted her own boudoir image with the caption “It’s time we change the definition of professionalism.”
Back in Nova Scotia, a former PC candidate for Dartmouth South says she can’t believe women are still being judged for taking control of their own bodies.
“It’s horrible because Robyn is experiencing what I went through,” said Jad Crnogorac.
Crnogorac is a fitness instructor and says she herself has had professional boudoir photos done and hasn’t been shy of posting those photos or bikini photos of herself online.
She says when she was nominated as a PC candidate the party knew all of this but says just before the writ dropped she was approached and asked to remove some of her photos.
“I was really really angry,” said Crnogorac. “This is why strong women don’t go into politics because someone always finds a way to drag you through it and it’s just not appealing.”
Crnogorac was ultimately kicked out of the PC party as a candidate after tweets deemed racist surfaced but she maintains there’s a double standard for women in politics versus men.
“The leader of a party can do something illegal and have two DUIs and still be the leader of the party,” she said, referring to Iain Rankin’s recent admission to past impaired driving charges.
“Why do we have to have this picture-perfect female versus the men who can do whatever they want and still be a politician?” she asks.
–With files from The Canadian Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Politics: The Minders and Mandarins of Capitalism – The Wall Street Journal
James R. Otteson’s “Seven Deadly Economic Sins” (Cambridge, 305 pages, $27.95) is a fine effort to introduce readers to the basic principles of market economics. The hamartiological framing—the “sins” are bad assumptions about how markets work—is part of the author’s effort to make the subject more engaging than a typical treatise on economics. It works. Mr. Otteson, a professor of business ethics at Notre Dame, writes with an apt combination of casual wit and rigorous logic.
I only regret that the book had to be written at all. There was a time in this country’s history—if the reader will allow a bit of declinist gloom—when America’s political class understood by instinct that wealth in a market economy comes about by voluntary exchanges in which all parties benefit. We do not live in such a time. About half of this country’s high-level elected officials appear to believe that some Americans have money because they took it from other Americans (the rich got rich “on the backs of workers” is a common trope). And so it is left to scholars such as Mr. Otteson to spell out the difference between zero-sum and positive-sum economic relationships.
A transaction based on extraction or theft is zero-sum (1 – 1 = 0). A transaction based on a mutual exchange is positive-sum (1 + 1 = 2). Wealth in most societies before about 1800, he reminds us, was based on the former model; wealth in market economies is based on the latter. What we need is someone able to explain to our well-intentioned politicos that the wealth they want to reallocate came about from mutually beneficial positive-sum transactions and not from zero-sum extraction. The way to diminish poverty and aid the disadvantaged is therefore not to punish positive-sum exchanges by taxation, but to allow more of them.
Other chapters in the book treat the “Good Is Good Enough Fallacy,” or the idea that every beneficial end is worth pursuing by all available means; the “Progress Is Inevitable Fallacy,” or the idea that a certain level of prosperity is guaranteed no matter what we do; and the “Great Mind Fallacy,” or the idea “that there is some person or group that possesses the relevant knowledge to know how others should allocate their scarce time or treasure.”
This latter point isn’t new—you can read the gist of it in Friedrich Hayek’s essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945) or Thomas Sowell’s book “Knowledge and Decisions” (1980)—but Mr. Otteson helpfully elucidates it in terms of individual experience. The experts may know that high-sugar carbonated drinks are on balance bad for your health, but they cannot know if you, in your circumstances, should or shouldn’t have a Coke. Most people would agree with that observation, but it is remarkable how many government policies are premised on its antithesis. City bans on unhealthy habits, state subsidies for favored industries, tax breaks meant to encourage virtuous behavior—these and a thousand other state-backed strategems assume the authorities and their experts understand immeasurably complex circumstances that they can’t possibly understand. But the alternative—allowing the people who do understand them to make their own decisions, even if they’re wrong—isn’t so satisfying to our governmental minders.
“The Power of Creative Destruction” (Belknap/Harvard, 389 pages, $35), translated by Jodie Cohen-Tanugi, is a full expression of the Great Mind outlook. Not that the authors—Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin and Simon Bunel, all associated with the Collège de France—are socialists or militant redistributionists. They are mandarins. They recognize that you can’t pay for the modern welfare state or enjoy high levels of prosperity without robust economic growth. But capitalism, in their view, is constantly menacing itself and requires the aid of sage policy makers to prevent its collapse.
The authors are heavily influenced by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter. In “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” (1942), Schumpeter contended that capitalism was doomed by its own logic. The capitalist system depends on a constant succession of entrepreneurs dislodging established firms—a process he called “creative destruction.” But eventually, he saw, yesterday’s innovators become today’s monopolists and learn to use the levers of power to prevent further innovation. Growth diminishes; a dissatisfied public demands welfare-state protections and restrictions on entrepreneurial activity; and capitalism, deprived of growth, slowly transmutes into socialism.
Clearly some parts of that analysis are valid, although Schumpeter was mistaken, in my view, to think of capitalism as a “structure” that can’t adapt to the demands placed on it by an intermittently irrational public. Mr. Aghion, Ms. Antonin and Mr. Bunel share Schumpeter’s overdefined understanding of capitalism. “Capitalism must reward innovation,” they write, “but it must be regulated to prevent innovation rents”—rents meaning profits accruing to incumbent firms—“from stifling competition and thus jeopardizing future innovation.”
And what sort of regulations do they think will encourage innovation, foster competition and save capitalism from itself? You may have guessed already. Industrial policy: tariffs and other protections, subsidies to viable industries and firms, “investments” in R&D and higher education, and so on. What capitalism needs, if I may put their argument in my own words, is more public officials ready to heed the advice of centrist academic economists.
The book is rife with charts and graphs, and the authors cite a bewildering array of highly specialized studies. Much of this technical argumentation strikes me as overdone. I appreciate, for instance, the conclusion that lobbying and barriers to entry are likelier than innovation and competition to aggravate inequality. But people who think markets worsen inequality are committed to an unfalsifiable ideology and won’t be moved by any combination of graph-packed quantitative studies.
Love and death in a utopian community, the remorseless business of slavery, a passion for peacocks, updating Sir Gawain and more.
“The Power of Creative Destruction” is an impressive book in its way, but the authors don’t acknowledge the—to me—obvious objection. Once you afford governmental bodies the power to manage the economy, you also give established firms the tools with which to insulate themselves from competition. Wouldn’t it be easier and more effective to deprive incumbent firms of any special privileges and let them figure out how to survive? Then again, if we did that, we wouldn’t need so many mandarins.
Book review: Border politics serve up racism, human exploitation – Vancouver Sun
Border & Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism
Harsha Walia | Fernwood Publishing (Halifax and Winnipeg, 2021)
$27 | 320pp
Borders are far more than lines on paper.
As local organizer, activist and scholar, Harsh Walia demonstrates in her passionately felt, deeply researched and closely reasoned new book, Border and Rule, that borders can serve as lethally intricate mechanisms of imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism and class exploitation.
They work to divide workers and undermine international solidarity, while inscribing cartographies of privilege and oppression on the long-suffering face of the Earth.
And yet in mainstream discussions, borders are only questioned when heart-rending images of migrant children huddling miserably in U.S. border holding pens or drowned on the shores of the Mediterranean inspire brief and self-congratulatory spasms of outrage and pity among comfortable observers on the “right” side of the borders.
Walia, who has spent much of her adult life doing the hard work of organizing solidarity activity and saving lives of those threatened with deportation back to the dangers they are fleeing, is understandably dismissive of such liberal responses. She points out that centuries of imperial conquest, colonial occupation and gendered, racist segmentation of the workforce have set the stage for the current global crisis, which saw over 80 millions of our sisters and brothers driven forcibly from their homes last year, according to the United Nations, while hundreds of millions more have been forced to migrate by climate disasters, poverty and famine. Such disasters are, Walia persuasively argues, not so much “natural” as created by economic and social relations (aka predatory and racialized capitalism and a world order designed to serve the needs of the rich over the needs of the rest of us).
Walia’s analysis is dense and complex, and her language occasionally overburdened with abstraction. But even where her thought is difficult, it is always worth the time it takes to grasp.
This is a remarkable book that reflects a lifetime of activism and reflection on the author’s part — Walia has been in the news lately, resigning as executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association after a controversial social media post on arson committed at several Catholic churches. Still, this book is rich with learnings for us all.
Her core argument, that “a political and economic system that treats land as a commodity, Indigenous people as overburden, race as a principle of social organization, women’s caretaking as worthless, workers as exploitable, climate refugees as expendable and the entire planet as a sacrifice zone must be dismantled,” will challenge and inspire readers.
Tom Sandborn crossed a border to live in Vancouver in 1967. He welcomes your feedback and story tips at email@example.com
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