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Politics Briefing: Trudeau pushes back against premiers, says he's ready to discuss health care funding – The Globe and Mail




Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fending off criticism from Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders, saying he is ready to negotiate on increased health care funding, but that any new dollars must go to health care.

At a news conference in Kingston, Ont., Mr. Trudeau was responding on Wednesday to the outcome of the Council of the Federation meeting of premiers and territorial leaders in Victoria this week.

He was asked by a journalist if he was “ghosting” the leaders on health care, a reference to a suggestion by council chair John Horgan, the premier of British Columbia, that Mr. Trudeau is avoiding their calls for substantive talks on increasing federal health care funding.

“I don’t think there is a prime minister in Canadian history who, over the entire scope of their time in office, has met with the premiers and sat down to talk about health care as much as I have over the past two years,” Mr. Trudeau said, in his first comments on this week’s high-profile exchange between Ottawa and the provinces on the perennial funding issue.

He said the government will invest more in health care, but is intent on ensuring that funding delivers real, tangible results for Canadians in shorter wait times, better services and access to a family doctor.

“There have been huge investments in health care made by provinces and governments in the past that haven’t always delivered the improvements to health care that is necessary,” he said. “We are going to make sure that those investments deliver for Canadians.”

The premiers say that health care funding began as a 50-50 split between the federal government and provinces and territories, but that Ottawa’s share has dwindled to 22 per cent.

Vancouver Reporter Andrea Woo and Queen’s Park Reporter Dustin Cook report here on the meeting of premiers and territorial leaders, which featured jabs between the provinces and Ottawa, but concluded with no resolution on health care.

During the news conference in Kingston, Mr. Trudeau also defended the Canadian government’s recent agreement to import and repair Russian pipeline turbines for up to two years, calling it “a very difficult decision.” Story here from Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase and Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.

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.


BANK OF CANADA HIKES INTEREST RATE – The Bank of Canada increased its benchmark interest rate by one percentage point on Wednesday, the most aggressive rate hike since 1998 and a larger move than investors and private-sector economists were expecting. Story here.

KING IN COURT – “Freedom Convoy” organizer Pat King is expected to appear in an Ottawa court today for a bail review. Story here.

COVID-19 BENEFITS BOLSTER CANADIANS 2020 AFTER-TAX INCOME: CENSUS – Fewer Canadians received employment income in 2020 as COVID-19 upended the labour market, but pandemic support programs more than offset losses for many households, leading to a drop in income inequality, according to census results published Wednesday. Story here.

SCHEDULES CONFOUND GUILBEAULT TRAIN TOUR – Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s promise to travel by train across Canada to talk to people about emissions was derailed by the lack of rail routes available to cross the country. Story here from the National Post.

FIVE-DAY SERVICE CREDIT FROM ROGERS – Rogers Communications Inc. says it will credit its customers with the equivalent of five days of service as it faces a litany of questions from Canada’s telecom regulator regarding a nationwide service outage that left millions without cellphone, home phone and internet service last Friday. Story here.

NO CHARGE FOR SOME RCMP COSTS: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT – The federal government says it won’t bill provinces and municipalities for the retroactive portion of Mountie salaries while it considers whether to help shoulder some of the burden of a steep pay-raise package. Story here.

QUEBEC SETS FRENCH DEADLINE FOR FEDERALLY REGULATED SECTORS – The Quebec government is giving companies in federally regulated sectors one month to begin complying with new requirements to guarantee the use of French in their workplaces. Story here from CBC.


CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in West Vancouver. Roman Baber has a meet-and-greet event in Lloydminster, Sask. Jean Charest is in Quebec. Leslyn Lewis is in Whitehorse. Pierre Poilievre is in Vancouver and Surrey.

BROWN BACKING CHAREST – Patrick Brown says he is unlikely to overturn a disqualification from running for Conservative leader in time to compete in the race, so he will vote for former Quebec premier Jean Charest. Story here.

BROWN ON THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY – “I’m not going to make any commentary about the Conservative Party, but obviously I didn’t find it democratic and if they want to follow a route that is extreme and not inclusive, I am not sure they will be on the right side of Canadians” – Patrick Brown, as Brampton mayor, in a telephone town hall with city residents on Monday night.

NO PIVOT PLANNED: POILIEVRE – Pierre Poilievre tells Rick Bell of the Calgary Sun that he does not plan to pivot. Story here. Also, more than 1,000 people reportedly attended a rally in Grande Prairie, Alta., featuring Mr. Poilievre. Story here from MyGrandPrairieNow.


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

NO THANKS TO BEING B.C. PREMIER: CULLEN – Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen , now British Columbia’s Municipal Affairs Minister, is ruling out a bid to succeed British Columbia Premier John Horgan. Details here. In another province, another high-profile New Democrat is also saying he won’t seek his party’s leadership. It’s Joel Harden, the Ottawa Centre NDP MPP, who was seen as a possible contender for the leadership role vacated by Andrea Horwath. Mr. Harden now says he’s not interested for reasons explained in a story here from CityNews..

FREELAND DEPARTS FOR MEETING IN BALI – Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland departed Toronto for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

ALGHABRA IN WINNIPEG – Transport Minister Omar Alghabra was scheduled to make a funding announcement at the CN Intermodal Terminal in Winnipeg and take media questions.

BOISSONNAULT IN EDMONTON – Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, appearing for Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, was scheduled to make a health-related funding announcement in Edmonton, and take media questions.

DUCLOS IN ST. JOHN’S – At Memorial University in St. John’s, N. L., Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos makes an announcement on support for patient-oriented research in the province.

IEN IN SCARBOROUGH – Marci Ien, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announces investments in training for young Canadians at an event in Scarborough.

RODRIGUEZ IN ST. JOHN’S – Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Minister Steve Crocker were scheduled to co host a news conference in St. John’s on Wednesday at the conclusion of three days of meetings for federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for culture and heritage.

WILKINSON IN BURNABY – Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in Burnaby, announces support for electrical vehicle charging infrastructure in British Columbia.


On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Duncan Dee , a former chief operating officer for Air Canada, talks about what should be done to help with delays and bottlenecks at airports. On Monday, 70 per cent of flights from Canada’s largest carrier Air Canada were delayed – the highest percentage in the world. Mr. Dee worked on a panel that reviewed the Air Transportation Act in 2016, looking closely at what could be improved at Canada’s airports. The Decibel is here.


In Kingston, Ont., the Prime Minister made an announcement, with Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Ontario’s Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli also present.


No schedules released for party leaders.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on a turbine tussle and a warning to allies against complacency in backing Ukraine for the long haul: The international tussle over a turbine that saw Canada stuck in the middle should serve as a warning to Ukraine’s allies about complacency – because Mr. Putin will keep testing them for weaknesses. There was an outpouring of support for Ukraine when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February, and the waving of yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flags was accompanied by stiff sanctions by both Canada and the U.S. and shipments of aid and arms. But that might be easy to forget months later in the Canadian summer.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how, if the premiers want more money, they’ll also have to take more responsibility: So there’s a case to be made that the provinces will need more money in future, even if they don’t now. But it must be accompanied by clearer provincial accountability for the results. Experience teaches that otherwise any increase in funds is likely to be dissipated in higher pay for provider groups, rather than improving care. How to square that circle? Complete the work begun in 1977: convert the whole of federal (non-equalization) transfers into tax points. Only when health care dollars are spent and raised by the same level of government will we end the finger-pointing and blame-shifting that has blocked reform until now. If the provinces don’t want to answer to Uncle Ottawa for how they run their health care systems, they can’t also depend on it for their allowance.”

Don Braid (Calgary Herald) on whether Danielle Smith already has a lock on the Alberta premier’s office: Pierre Poilievre is widely considered a cinch to win the federal Conservative Party leadership on Sept. 10. If that’s true, Danielle Smith’s chances for the premier’s office look very good on Oct. 6. Her campaign, equally aggressive, is aimed at a narrower, more reachable band of voters than Poilievre faces in the far-flung federal party. Smith also appeals to many UCP members who are increasingly angry at Ottawa, while adding dramatic Alberta responses inspired by Quebec’s march to autonomy. It’s working for her so far.”

Thomas Mulcair (CTV) on how Stephen Harper clearly has a preferred candidate in the Conservative race: “Conservative skullduggery in booting out Patrick Brown as a candidate reflects very badly on a Party prone to lecturing others about probity, ethics and integrity. Based on the single, untested word of a longtime party operative, Brown was given the heave-ho. Problem is, he landed on Jean Charest, whose chances of winning will go from slim to none if the Conservatives get away with it. The people who made and profited from that decision were very much aware that what they were doing would effectively decide the outcome of the race. Pierre Poilièvre was being handed a victory not by Conservative members but by Party functionaries. When you look at their connections to the Harper era, this whole manoeuvre appears even more troubling.”

Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty (Policy Options) on the need for Indigenous-led housing: Providing a place one can truly call home, surrounded by family in a safe, healthy environment, should be viewed as a reclamation of sovereignty as part of the land-back movement. There is an immediate need for recognition of Indigenous culture within the housing system to move toward true reconciliation. Canada also needs to follow through on Indigenous legal orders – the pre-colonial Indigenous legal system – under the provisions of UNDRIP to find ways of creating a “braiding” of laws at the national and international law that will recognize Indigenous rights at a government-to-government level.”

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Opinion: What started in Kansas upends American politics – CNN



Sign up to get this weekly column as a newsletter. We’re looking back at the strongest, smartest opinion takes of the week from CNN and other outlets.

(CNN)In “The Wizard of Oz,” a tornado sends Dorothy and her Kansas home spinning into the “Merry Old Land of Oz.” Last week it was what Politico called a “political earthquake” in Kansas that sent the national debate over abortion into a new phase with many unknowns.

For decades, the anti-abortion movement worked to overturn the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established a national right to abortion. But their long-sought goal, finally achieved in June, may turn out to be a case of “be careful what you wish for.” By a vote of 59% to 41%, the people of Kansas rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have eliminated the right to an abortion.
“It’s a huge victory for abortion rights,” wrote Jill Filipovic. “The result in Kansas confirms that Americans simply do not want an extreme anti-abortion movement regulating women’s bodies. Kansans have said what most Americans believe: abortion is an issue best left to women and their doctors.”
But she added that this was a vote which should never have happened. “Fundamental rights — and it doesn’t get more fundamental than sovereignty over one’s own body — should not be up for a vote, even if the righteous side is likely to win,” Filipovic argued.
Writing for Politico, John F. Harris suggested that the vote in Kansas, along with others that may follow, could scramble the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion overturning Roe. He may go down in history as the “the justice who facilitated a national consensus on behalf of abortion rights. Quite unintentionally, today’s hero of the ‘pro-life’ movement could end up being a giant of the ‘pro-choice’ movement.”
Tuesday’s vote in Kansas, which “mirrors polling showing solid majorities of people supported leaving Roe v. Wade intact, suggests that opponents of legal abortion do better when the prospect of an abortion ban is hypothetical, while abortion-rights supporters do better when the issue is tangibly real,” wrote Harris.
A moderate Republican, former Rep. Charlie Dent, noted that “the overturning of Roe v. Wade has energized a previously demoralized Democratic base and could galvanize college educated suburban women in particular … If the GOP can’t win an abortion fight in Kansas, imagine the difficulty it will face in swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”
“Coupled with Trump’s stolen election obsession, mass shootings and a growing number of extreme GOP candidates in competitive races, the unpopularity of the Roe decision may mitigate Democratic losses in November, despite vulnerabilities on a number of other fronts (namely, the economy).”
Dent also faulted Democrats for running ads that backed extreme, election-denying candidates in the GOP primaries in the hope that Democratic candidates could more easily defeat them in the general election. In Michigan, “the courageous freshman Congressman Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach Trump just days after being sworn into Congress, fell to an election-denying candidate, John Gibbs, a former Trump administration official who was backed by the former President,” Dent wrote.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent more than $300,000 on ads touting Gibbs’ “conservatism and fidelity to Trump,” wrote Dent. “I’m sure plenty of Democratic operatives are cackling over their success meddling in the GOP primary, but any smugness may turn into deep regret if Gibbs ends up prevailing in November. Those who play with fire often get burned.

For more:
Mary Ziegler and Elizabeth Sepper: The coming state-federal showdown over abortion

Nancy Pelosi drops in

China fired off missiles, flew jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone and called off talks with the US on issues such as climate change and military relations. The reason: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory.
While Pelosi’s visit sparked apocalyptic warnings and fevered headlines, Taiwanese-American journalist Clarissa Wei wrote that the people of Taiwan are mostly unfazed. “What’s most frustrating about the reaction to Pelosi’s visit is not the prophetic declaration of imminent doom, but the expectation of fear and the surprise that follows when people realize that we aren’t all panicking in Taiwan — as if the calm we exude in light of unprecedented threats is a symptom of our ignorance of the facts before us.”
Threats from China are nothing new. They have been a part of my life, my parents’ lives and their parents’ lives for as long as almost anyone in my family can remember. In fact, Taiwan has been under threat by the People’s Republic of China for nearly 70 years. The three Taiwan Strait crises are proof of that.”

Alex Jones

A Texas jury ordered incendiary radio host Alex Jones to pay a combined $49.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting 10 years ago. Jones’ legal troubles aren’t over by any means: he faces two more such trials.
One of the parents, Scarlett Lewis, even had to testify that her son “Jesse was real. I’m a real mom.”
“It’s an unthinkable statement for a grief-stricken parent to have to make,” wrote Nicole Hemmer, “testifying that her 6-year-old son, murdered while he sat in school, had actually lived, and that she was the woman who had given birth to him and raised him for the too-few years he was alive. But that was the testimony Scarlett Lewis gave this week at a hearing to determine damages against Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist and media personality.”

“After 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Jones began to spin lurid conspiracies that the shootings never happened and that the shattered families were simply actors. The conspiracy triggered years of harassment as conspiracists targeted the mourning parents, who have had to hire security to protect themselves.”
But as Hemmer noted, Jones is not a lone fringe player in the media world. He is “part of the right-wing power structure, from his interviews with soon-to-be president Donald Trump to his alleged role as an organizer at the January 6 insurrection.”
“More than that, many in the Republican Party and conservative movement increasingly sound like Jones, with talk of false flags, crisis actors and pedophile rings now a mainstay of right-wing rhetoric. And while the Trump presidency opened the door for the mainstreaming of Jones, it’s important to understand how ripe the GOP was for Alex Jonesification.
In Dallas, the Conservative Political Action Conference gave a warm welcome to Hungary’s autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
“The audience cheered him on during his blistering attacks on abortion, immigration, LGBTQ rights and more,” Julian Zelizer observed.
“The illiberal and anti-democratic elements of Republican politics, which flared during the Trump presidency, are alive and well. As Orban’s popularity indicates, the profoundly anti-democratic strains that have been shaping the GOP keep getting stronger, not weaker…”
“The talk comes on the same week that several election deniers, as well as participants in the January 6 insurrection, won in the primaries. The assault on the 2020 election continues to be a unifying theme in Republican circles. Even if some Republican voters are tiring of Trump, his rallying cry animates much of the electorate.

Terrorist leader killed

Eleven years after then-President Barack Obama announced the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in a US raid, President Joe Biden described the tracking down and elimination of bin Laden’s former associate, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“The airstrike that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri over the weekend in Afghanistan is part of the long and justified campaign by the United States to bring all the heads of the terror group to justice,” wrote Peter Bergen.
Still, some of the claims about al-Zawahiri’s impact were overblown. “While Zawahiri was influential in the very early years of al Qaeda in turning bin Laden against the regimes in the Middle East, he wasn’t involved in bin Laden’s most important strategic decisions — that is, turning him against the US and planning 9/11. And Zawahiri proved to be an incompetent leader of al Qaeda when he took over the group more than a decade ago.”
Bergen added, “Zawahiri was not a charismatic leader of al Qaeda in the mold of Osama bin Laden. Instead, he had all the charisma of a boring uncle given to long, arcane monologues, someone that you would best avoid sitting next to at Thanksgiving dinner.”

Families in turmoil

Guy Reffitt was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, the longest penalty meted out so far to insurrectionists who took part in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. His son Jackson Reffitt had reported his father to the FBI on Christmas Eve 2020.
“The Reffitts’ story is tragic, but hardly unique,” observed SE Cupp. “Chances are, you probably do know someone who’s been sucked into the cult of Trumpism, as Guy was.
“Maybe it’s an aunt or uncle posting about rigged elections on Facebook, spreading Trump’s lie that the election was stolen…
“Maybe it’s a father, or a mother, or a brother, who’s gone down a QAnon rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, and is no longer attached to reality.”
“The carnage from Trump’s divisive rhetoric, lies, and conspiracy theories is incalculable. Trumpism is a powerful drug, one that can even cause a father to threaten his own child.
This was, incidentally, all by design. Trump stoked the fears and grievances of his base, turned Americans against each other, spread lies and conspiracy theories, undermined our faith in democratic institutions — all so that he could keep his supporters rabid, angry, willing to do whatever he asked. And sadly, many of them did.”
For more:

Bill Russell and Nichelle Nichols

On and off the field, Bill Russell was a leader. On and off the screen, Nichelle Nichols was an inspirational role model. Both died last weekend.
Peniel Joseph recalled Russell’s contributions as an athlete and a crusader against racism. “Russell was a 6-foot-10 center whose defensive prowess, rebounding skills and all-around leadership propelled the Celtics to 11 titles in 13 years,” Joseph wrote. “As if appearing in a news reel of the most significant events of the civil rights era, he was present, time and again, at key moments for the movement, from the March on Washington in 1963 to his visit to Mississippi that same year following the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers…”
Over the years, he never lost his willingness to call out racism, or a perceived indifference to it. In recent years, he chided White Americans for their incredulity — in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the racial and political reckoning that followed — about the existence of systemic racism.”
When “Star Trek” premiered in 1966, one of the cast members “was the cool, sultry, supremely self-possessed Lt. Nyota Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, still a relative newcomer to television,” Gene Seymour recalled. In an era when the civil rights movement achieved its biggest successes, Nichols’ role had a symbolic significance. Yet “she was discouraged by her lines being cut from some of the episodes and was ready to move on to the Broadway stage. And she would have left if she hadn’t met a die-hard ‘Trek’ fan at an NAACP fundraiser in Hollywood: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”
King “told her that he and his family enjoyed watching ‘Trek’ and rooted for her playing a non-stereotypical Black character. She thanked him but said she was on her way out,” Seymour wrote.
“‘You cannot and must not!'” Nichols recalled King saying in her autobiography. “‘Don’t you realize how important your presence, your character is? Don’t you see? This is not a Black role, and this is not a female role… You have broken ground. For the first time, the world sees us as we should be seen, as equals, as intelligent people — as we should be.'”
Nichols stayed with the show for its remaining two seasons and later would embrace “her importance as an inspiration and role model for young Black people whose dreams of space science and travel were emboldened by her character’s futuristic adventures.”

Don’t miss


Lizzo and Beyoncé heard her

It’s no easy task — getting the attention of two of the world’s biggest music superstars. And even more impressive, getting them to make changes in their work.
Yet Hannah Diviney, a disability activist in Australia, accomplished just that.
She called out Lizzo and Beyoncé on Twitter for including an offensive term referring to her disability in recent albums. Both artists soon responded and revised their songs’ lyrics.
“Words matter,” Diviney wrote. “They always have and they always will. Language is one of the few tools in the world most people can wield with ease and on social media even more so. That’s why it’s worth paying attention to how we use it. That’s why my mom always taught me the pen was mightier than the sword. If anything, this week has taught me that thanks to social media and the power of a well-crafted tweet, we have access to the mightiest pens of all. And that’s why I hope we can use this global attention to have bigger conversations about the inequalities disabled people face. From little things, big things grow.”

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Tory leadership hopefuls say it’s time for unity. Here’s what some say that means



OTTAWA — When three Conservative leadership hopefuls met this past week for a debate, the same word kept getting repeated.

Unity. Or more precisely, the need for it.

In a contest largely seen as a battle for the party’s soul, which has put decades-old fissures on display between groups that make up its very coalition, what might it take to achieve unity after results are revealed Sept. 10?

As that question lingers, many in the party and beyond are preparing for a scenario in which Pierre Poilievre takes victory.

Much of that thinking is based on the longtime MP’s popularity with the existing grassroots, coupled with his ability to draw big crowds and sell what his campaign claims to have been more than 300,000 memberships.

But after winning comes the challenge of leading.

“Somebody has to give some thought to the morning after,” said Garry Keller, former chief of staff to Rona Ambrose, who served as the party’s interim leader after it lost government in 2015.

Of the 118 other members in caucus, a whopping 62 endorsed Poilievre. That’s compared to the party’s 2020 leadership race when the caucus was more evenly split between Peter MacKay and the eventual winner, Erin O’Toole.

O’Toole’s inability to manage caucus after losing the 2021 election to the Liberals ultimately led to his downfall. He was forced out by a vote from his MPs under provisions in the Reform Act, measures which will remain in place for the next leader.

Poilievre has said his campaign message of “freedom” serves as a great unifier among Conservatives. However, Keller said if some in caucus are taking that to mean they will be able to say whatever they want on social media, they shouldn’t.

“I think people will be solely disabused of that notion.”

Poilievre and his supporters have throughout the race been accused of sowing disunity in the party by instigating personal attacks against rivals, namely ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest. 

Most recently, MPs endorsing Poilievre — along with Scott Aitchison, a rural Ontario representative and fellow leadership competitor — have called into question whether Charest, who has spent the past 20 years out of federal politics, plans to stick around the party after the race is over.

Longtime British Columbia MP Ed Fast, a co-chair on Charest’s campaign, tweeted “the purity tests must stop” and cautioned party members that when Conservatives are divided, Liberals win.

Fast himself resigned from his role as finance critic after criticizing Poilievre’s vow to fire the Bank of Canada governor, which ruffled some feathers inside caucus.

“It’s a sad situation that Jean Charest, a patriot and champion of Canadian unity, continues to have his loyalty questioned by party members looking to stoke division,” said Michelle Coates Mather, a spokeswoman for his campaign.

“What’s the endgame here exactly? Lose the next federal election by alienating Conservative members who support Charest? Seems a poor strategy for a party looking to expand their base and win a federal election.”

While Poilievre enjoys the majority support of the party’s caucus, most of the party’s 10 Quebec MPs are backing Charest, opening the question of what happens next if he is not successful.

Asked recently about that possibility, MP Alain Rayes, who is organizing on Charest’s campaign, expressed confidence in the former Quebec premier’s chances, saying the party doesn’t need “American-style divisive politics.”

“I’m deeply convinced that our members will make the right choice,” he said in a statement.

The group Centre Ice Conservatives, a centre-right advocacy group formed during the leadership race, contends the party has room to grow if it leaves the fringes and concentrates on issues that matter in the mainstream.

Director Michael Stuart says both Charest and Poilievre have policies that speak to the centrists, and what they’re hearing from supporters of their group is a desire for more focus on “dinner table issues,” such as economic growth and jobs.

“There’s a lot of distraction with noise around vaccines and the convoy and those sorts of things.”

Not only did Poilievre support the “Freedom Convoy,” he used his message of “freedom” to campaign on the anger and frustration people felt because of government-imposed COVID-19 rules, like vaccine and mask mandates.

How he will handle social conservatives also remains an open question.

Poilievre has pledged no government led by him would introduce or pass legislation restricting abortion access.

Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for the anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, said many of those who strongly oppose vaccine mandates also share values with social conservatives.

“They are largely pro-freedom, pro-family, and yes, even pro-life and pro-faith,” he said.

Social conservatives have traditionally been a well-mobilized part of the party’s base during leadership contests and helped deliver wins for O’Toole and former leader Andrew Scheer, who is now helping Poilievre in the race.

While Fonseca and other anti-abortion groups are encouraging members to pick social conservative candidate Leslyn Lewis as their first choice, he said the “freedom conservatives” Poilievre recruited will expect results.

That includes giving Lewis a critic role, he said.

“He will be forced to face that reality and to deliver policy commitments to the freedom conservatives and social conservatives that are his base.”

“If it doesn’t, the peril is you become a flip-flopper like Erin O’Toole,” he said, referring to walk-backs the former leader made on promises after winning the leadership.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2022.


Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

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Former B.C. solicitor-general Rich Coleman is returning to politics – Terrace Standard



Two years after he retired, former B.C. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman is returning to politics, this time at the municipal level, with the “Elevate Langley Voters Association” civic party in the Township of Langley, according to an Elections B.C. register of elector organizations.

The register lists former Langley East MLA Coleman as the “authorized principal official” for the party.

While he has registered a civic party, whether Coleman will be running in the Oct. 15 election himself remains to be seen.

In a response to a Langley Advance Times query on Saturday, Aug. 6, Coleman confirmed he has been approached about running for mayor, but hasn’t decided yet.

“A lot of people have been on me to run for mayor,” Coleman told the Langley Advance Times.

“I’m seriously considering it.”

Coleman said he registered the Elevate Langley party when he did, because the Election B.C. deadline to register elector organizations for the pending municipal elections was Aug. 2, and he wanted to provide a vehicle for some potential Township candidates he has been mentoring.

“I’ve got some young folks who want to run,” Coleman said.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: B.C. Liberal MLA Rich Coleman announced retirement after six terms

In the Elections B.C. register entry, Elevate Langley listed a contact phone number that turned out to be the office number for current Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman, who said she has no involvement with the party, calling it “absolutely an error.”

Coleman said he would check into it.

In 2018, Coleman was considering a run for Surrey mayor, but decided against it.

Coleman spent 24 years in provincial politics before he retired in 2020, including four years as provincial Solicitor-General.

Langley Township councillors Eric Woodward and Blair Whitmarsh have also announced mayoralty bids. So has former councillor Michelle Sparrow.

Elections B.C.’s register of civic parties listed Woodward as the principal official for the “Contract with Langley Association” party, which, the filing indicates, will be fielding candidates for council and school board.

READ ALSO: Woodward announces run for mayor of Langley Township

READ ALSO: Whitmarsh announces run for Langley Township mayor’s seat

READ ALSO: Sparrow joins race for Langley Township mayor’s seat

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