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Politics Briefing: Trudeau says his government will stand with Jewish community at anti-Semitism summit – The Globe and Mail




This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Menaka Raman-Wilms is filling in today. 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.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government will always support the Jewish community at today’s National Summit on Antisemitism.

“We’re here to continue to fight and reject antisemitism in all of its forms,” he said. “The rise in hate motivated crimes against the Jewish community in the past few months is not only alarming, it’s completely unacceptable.”

Hosted online by the Department of Canadian Heritage, Wednesday’s summit brought together politicians and leaders of the Jewish community. The event was created as part of the government’s Anti-Racism Strategy, and will be followed by a National Summit on Islamophobia on Thursday.

Mr. Trudeau was one of several speakers at the virtual event. In his remarks, he referenced how the past few months have been difficult as a result of the “distress and tension caused by the conflict in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.”

He then reaffirmed that Canada stands strong in its support for Israel’s right to live in peace and Israel’s right to defend itself.

“We condemn the indiscriminate barrage of rocket attacks fired by Hamas into populated areas of Israel, putting civilians and children at risk,” he said. “We remain committed to supporting progress towards a two-state solution, and continue to oppose unilateral actions that jeopardize the prospects for peace.”

Speaking to reporters earlier on Wednesday, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul expressed frustration that she wasn’t invited to speak at the summit.

“The choice of the Minister and the Prime Minister not to invite the only Jewish federal leader to attend, and someone who, it pains me to say, is a regular target of antisemitic attacks, to participate…I think is a loss to the conversation.”

On Tuesday, Ms. Paul said on Twitter that she had not been invited to the summit. Today she Tweeted that she had since been sent a link to watch the summit, but was not invited to speak. She then shared a video statement encouraging people to “speak out” and end the silence around hate.

Shadow ministers for the NDP and Conservative parties are attending the summit.


MAY SAYS SHE’S NOT INVOLVED IN PARTY TURMOIL – Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May says she can provide “no insights” into recent events with the party, and that she is not involved in the turmoil that has been a challenge for current leader Annamie Paul.

SINGH MORE POPULAR FOR PM THAN O’TOOLE IN NEW SURVEY – More Canadians believe that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh would make a better prime minister than the Conservatives’ Erin O’Toole, according to a new survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was still the most popular pick for the top job amongst those surveyed.

“TOXIC” ENVIRONMENT IN CROWN-INDIGENOUS RELATIONS OFFICE – Ex-staffers have said that Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office was a ”toxic” work environment, according to reports from the CBC.

REVIEW OF EI SYSTEM WILL GO AHEAD DESPITE POTENTIAL ELECTION – An upcoming election wouldn’t change plans for a review of the employment insurance system, according to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough. After the COVID-19 pandemic exposed issues with the EI system, Ms. Qualtrough said consultations on how to modernize it will start next month.


The Prime Minister spoke at the National Summit on Antisemitism early this afternoon. Later today, an interview with Mr. Trudeau will air on the radio station Rock 95 in Barrie, Ont., and another will air on Omni News: Arabic Edition.


Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet meets with mayors and business leaders in the Abitibi region of western Quebec today. This evening he is scheduled to speak at an event in the region for two local MPs.

Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole is in Ottawa this week.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul held a virtual news conference Wednesday morning where she called on the government to reverse the reduction made to the Canada Recovery Benefit.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a news conference Wednesday morning and then attended a caucus meeting at noon.


Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how Jason Kenney is praying for an Alberta Renaissance, but there are obstacles: “While Calgary is a city that will continue to be identified with the oil and gas industry, it won’t be defined by it in the years to come. It will not be the source of exponential economic growth in the way it once was.”

The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how carbon taxes could ensure a level playing field for environmental standards: “The absence of such tariffs has long led to carbon policy pretzels. Canada has had no choice but to largely exempt some trade-exposed industries from carbon pricing. The lack of international carbon pricing on, for example, cement or steel, meant that Canada has had to go very light on taxing emissions from those industries. Carbon tariffs could change that story.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel (contributor to The Globe and Mail) on why combating antisemitism will require action beyond a single day’s national summit: “The national summit goes beyond acknowledging anti-Semitism – it is about advancing proposals to combat it. Among the recommendations the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) offers are proposals related to education, which remains the most constructive approach to addressing and diminishing hate.”

Blake Murdoch (contributor to The Globe and Mail) on why the downsides of vaccine passports have been exaggerated: “One issue raised by critical commentators is that vaccine passports would be unfair to individuals who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. In reality, the vast majority of eligible but unvaccinated individuals do not have a medical reason. They are vaccine hesitant, opposed to vaccination or simply complacent.”

Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.

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Malaysia's politics are rotten from the top – The Economist



IN KUALA LUMPUR, the chief city, as elsewhere in Malaysia, white flags hang from windows—cries of help from households for whom the pandemic has brought economic distress and even too little to eat. For the relatively prosperous country’s success in handling the coronavirus in 2020 has turned to calamity this year, with over 1.1m infections and a tardy roll-out of vaccines.

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Among proudly middle-class Malaysians, the pandemic has crystallised how their country too often benefits mainly the well-connected. Certain factory-owners have been allowed to continue operating even during lockdowns (thus seeding infections among workers). Politicians flout health rules that carry swingeing penalties for other infringers.

In this context, the black flags that mostly young, educated Malaysians are also hanging outside their flats represent not a cry for help but a political statement: the bendera hitam, or black-flag movement, is a protest against the elites’ various failures of governance, of which the pandemic is just the most glaring. Young medical workers demand better pay and conditions, while activists call for a political promise to lower the voting age, from 21 to 18, to be kept. The hashtag #Kerajaangagal (“failed government”) is popular on social media. Bridget Welsh of the University of Nottingham Malaysia says such challenges represent “a new political training ground”, one confronting the old political hierarchies that have dominated for so long and that operate through patronage, corruption, colonial-era anti-sedition laws and gerrymandered elections.

It was not supposed to be this way. When the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which had ruled since independence, was at last dislodged by an opposition coalition in 2018, Malaysians expected politics to change. But the new government, itself led by defectors from UMNO, proved unwieldy and fissiparous. The current prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, brought it down last year by re-defecting. He then cobbled together a new a parliamentary majority, including UMNO, through back-room machinations.

Although Mr Muhyiddin stuffed his cabinet with backers, many quickly grew disenchanted. Early this year he sought emergency powers until August 1st from the agong, or king (a handful of sultans take turns at the job). That was not only in order to deal with the pandemic, the ostensible reason, but also in order to suspend Parliament and so head off any challenge from a no-confidence vote. In late July the prime minister suspended Parliament again as soon as it had reconvened, citing infections in the building.

The move may only buy time, argues James Chin of the University of Tasmania. A rare rebuke from the king after Mr Muhyiddin unilaterally withdrew emergency ordinances—the agong declared that Parliament should have been consulted—may prove fatal. On August 3rd Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, UMNO’s leader, withdrew support for Mr Muhyiddin, so doing away with his majority. Facing down calls for his immediate resignation, on August 5th Mr Muhyiddin said the king had agreed to a no-confidence vote in September.

But anyone imagining that the opposition or even the king are chiefly motivated by the wishes of the people should think again. The mercurial Anwar Ibrahim, who for decades has eyed the top job and is chief among those calling for Mr Muhyiddin to go, has ruined his reformist credentials, not least by allying with some of UMNO’s sleaziest elements. UMNO itself appears unreformable: Mr Zahid, for one, faces 87 corruption charges. As for the hereditary sultans, their authority has flourished during the bickering and with it their huge but opaque business interests. Despite his dressing-down, Mr Muhyiddin has bent over backwards to please the current agong, the acquisitive sultan of Pahang.

Ordinary Malaysians, meanwhile, feel angry and ignored. The pandemic has emptied the exchequer and, Ms Welsh points out, revealed gaping holes in the safety net. Among the young, unemployment has reached nearly 12%. Mr Muhyiddin now hopes to get credit for a vaccination programme that is starting to pick up speed. Beyond that, little suggests the elites care to sort out popular concerns. On the contrary, bendera hitam supporters attempting to march on Parliament were stopped by police, who all too predictably are now probing the movement for evidence of sedition. There is no doubting Malaysia’s sense of crisis. Yet the stench of politics is still a long way from being cleared.

This article appeared in the Asia section of the print edition under the headline “Flagging enthusiasm”

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Why do Republicans want to punish Facebook and Google? That's not conservative. – USA TODAY



Don’t use Big Government to hammer tech billionaires. Do harness their platforms to push for conservative causes like gun rights and charter schools.

Since when did it become “conservative” to punish private companies for being successful? In recent years, a bizarre and ill-advised frenzy has gripped the right, which has focused intense efforts on breaking up or otherwise hamstringing social media companies. Conservative groups and their dedicated donors have spent vast amounts of money on these anti-“Big Tech” efforts. 

Meanwhile, this war on Silicon Valley is distracting the right from once-in-a-generation opportunities to tackle longstanding conservative priorities – in ways that would only be helped along by effectively using social media instead of lambasting it.

What has social media grievance politics yielded for Republicans? Florida Republicans tried to ax the First Amendment rights of tech companies to moderate content but were swiftly rebuffed by a federal judge. In Washington, swamp creatures are supposedly making plans to repeal the Section 230 protections for moderating online content, which would be a strange victory coming from the onetime party of tort reform. 

GOP once stood for choice and growth 

There also seems to be a buzz of general complaints that tech billionaires – who spend most of their time backbiting and trying to outdo one another, as the Jeff Bezos-Richard Branson space wars make clear – are somehow not competitive enough

The reality is that these people create a product that Americans can choose to use or not use. And Republicans used to be the party of free choice.

Attacking American innovators and job creators is usually a tactic of the radical left. The right has traditionally criticized its political opponents for this sort of grievance politics, which do not allow space for growth-focused policies. To justify taxing successful Americans, the left’s traditional playbook has been to vilify their success. Naturally, if you’re preoccupied with slicing the pie, you’re not focused on growing the pie. Republicans used to be the party of growth, too. 

That’s why the right’s current sideshow struggle against Big Tech, which puts Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., on the same side as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., makes so little sense. Instead of focusing on free choice for our citizens and economic growth for our nation, the right has made enemies of companies that specialize in sharing cat photos and vacation videos.

There are so many better things the American conservative movement could be doing with its time, by taking advantage of our post-COVID moment. 

We need fair rules: Apple and Google totally control what you do on your smartphones 

The pandemic saw a major surge in starting small businesses, which are key job creators and drivers of economic growth

That’s hundreds of thousands of Americans who will, for the first time, butt up against brazen bureaucrats, unrelenting regulations and a torrent of blood-sucking taxes from federal, state and local authorities. This should be a treasure trove of new conservatives, the vast majority of whom also use social media to promote their businesses and sell their products. But they won’t flock to the GOP if they hear confusing anti-growth messaging that vilifies the online tools they use to promote their businesses.

Conservatives are a diverse group 

Meanwhile, the debate over the Second Amendment shows no signs of slowing down, and it looks like conservatives are getting some new recruits. Online surveys of firearm retailers by the trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation indicated that in the first four months of 2020, 4 in 10 pandemic first-time gun buyers were women, and gun purchases by African Americans in the first six months of last year were 58.2% higher than the same period in 2019.

These demographics suggest that pro-gun rights Americans are a lot less “pale, male and stale” than previously thought. But these folks also use social media to share their photos from the shooting range, so why make them feel like “bad conservatives” for doing so?

Left-to-right mistake: Sen. Josh Hawley isn’t a censorship victim, he’s a free speech menace

We may also be on the cusp of major education reform. Education Week reported in late June that over the pandemic, America’s public school systems lost more than 1.4 million students, noting the “loss was spread out across the nation, touching almost every demographic group and concentrated in lower grades. It will likely have academic, financial and staffing repercussions for years to come.” 

With alternatives like charter schools looking better and better, and teacher unions drawing ire from even liberal parents for holding up a return to normalcy in classrooms, parent groups should be organizing (on sites like Facebook) to take these issues on.

It’s often easy (and even cathartic) for conservatives to join in the ritual pillorying of some group that you may find annoying, like tech billionaires who, in their personal politics, do lean to the left.  But if the American right stopped and took a collective breath, they’d realize that sticking to their tried-and-true message of free choice and pro-growth policies – and focusing on issues that matter, like small business freedom, gun rights and education reform – are a much better recipe for success than using the hammer of Big Government to give the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos a black eye.

Bret Jacobson is the co-founder of Red Edge, a digital advocacy agency for conservative and center-right causes. Follow him on Twitter: @bretjacobson 

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Paul Quassa quits Nunavut legislature after 40 years in politics –



Nunavut Speaker Paul Quassa has resigned from his role as MLA for Aggu.

The news was first reported by Nunatsiaq News. Quassa confirmed his resignation to the CBC and said he is done with politics. He said he’s been thinking about the decision since the spring.

“I really cherish the time that I spent [in] my life here at the Legislative Assembly,” Quassa said.

“I knew that I could do at least two terms. And once … that term is up, I think it’s high time that we see somebody else there. And I have great confidence in in the next person that’s going to be elected.”

Quassa was elected as the Nunavut premier in 2017, but was ousted in 2018, though he continued in his role as MLA for Aggu. 

He said he stayed on because he made a commitment to represent his community.

“No matter what happens, you just continue, keep going because you were elected … you’re representing your community. You cannot just stop there just because the other MLAs don’t agree with you,” he said. 

His resignation, which will be effective as of Aug. 13, comes just shy of the end of his term, with Nunavut’s general upcoming election scheduled for Oct. 25.

Quassa says he wants young people to come forward to run for leadership positions in Nunavut. (CBC)

Quassa said he wanted to give others the chance to be in leadership, and in particular, he encouraged young people to step forward and consider the opportunity of running for MLA.

“I thought this would be the right timing after talking with my family and my constituents, that it would be only right for me to step down and give other opportunities,” he said. 

“I believe that our young people should really go for it, because again, we have to remember that at least 60 per cent of our population is under 25. So, you know, that’s a big population to represent. And I think it is high time that we start getting new ideas, new challenges, and then young people can make that difference.”

Though he didn’t say specifically what he plans to do next, Quassa hinted it might be something in the public sphere.

“I’m looking forward to do something else where I can speak my mind on behalf of Inuit and Nunavut,” he said.

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