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Politics Briefing: Trudeau visits Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation after Tofino blunder – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is visiting a First Nations community in British Columbia today after not responding to earlier invitations as residents there dealt with the discovery of unmarked burial sites of former residential school students.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops had previously invited Mr. Trudeau to attend a ceremony in the community marking the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

Instead, Mr. Trudeau went on vacation in the Vancouver Island community of Tofino. He subsequently apologized.

Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup provides a Reporter’s Comment on what’s at stake today – “All eyes will be on Justin Trudeau today for his visit to the B.C. First Nation. Since coming to power in 2015, the Liberals have repeatedly said its relationship with Indigenous people is the most important relationship. Mr. Trudeau has also stressed this thinking comes from him personally. But his decision to travel to Tofino on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was met by condemnation from Indigenous leaders, who said they were hurt by his decision and noted the Prime Minister will have to work to rebuild relationships. I will be watching to see how he goes about trying to achieve that today. The event will include other speakers, including new Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, who has stressed the need for concrete action. How does Mr. Trudeau convey that at today’s ceremony? And how long will it take him to repair lost trust?”

The agenda for today’s three-hour event includes remarks by Mr. Trudeau, Ms. Archibald and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir as well as a media availability. Also scheduled are comments from Indian residential school survivors and community youth.

Ms. Kirkup and B.C. politics reporter Justine Hunter report on today’s events here.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

LIBERALS DODGING SCRUTINY, OPPOSITION SAYS – The Liberal government’s move to limit House of Commons sitting days this year and delay the return of Parliament until late November is part of an effort to avoid scrutiny, opposition MPs say, amid a needed debate over pandemic economic supports.

FEDS DENOUNCE END TO YEMEN WAR PROBE – The federal government is speaking out after the United Nations Human Rights Council, which includes such countries as Russia, China and Venezuela, shut down the only independent international probe into Yemen’s long and deadly civil war. Story here.

ALBERTA EQUALIZATION REFERENDUM TODAY – Albertans will cast ballots Monday in a referendum that is technically about rejecting equalization, but has morphed into more of a Prairie Festivus airing of grievances.

NDP SEEK SOCIAL MEDIA WATCHDOG – New Democrats are demanding the federal government crack down on social media giants following recent revelations by a Facebook executive.

ANCIENT KNIFE FOUND IN CENTRE BLOCK RENOVATION – An ancient Indigenous knife unearthed during the renovation of Centre Block will be the first artifact found on Parliament Hill to be returned to the stewardship of the Algonquin people who live in the Ottawa region.

CUSTOMERS SUBJECT TO COST HIKES: BANK OF CANADA – Canadian businesses are grappling with labour shortages and supply-chain disruptions, with many planning to respond by raising wages and passing on cost increases to customers, according to the Bank of Canada’s quarterly survey of businesses. Story here.

ELECTORAL REFORM OR I QUIT: DEL DUCA – Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says, if elected to government, he will “resign on the spot” if he does not follow through with a commitment to enact ranked ballots in provincial elections. The next provincial election is set for June 2, 2022.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL VISITS GERMANY – Governor-General Mary May Simon has arrived in Berlin for her first international visit on behalf of Canada – a four-day state visit that will include a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Story here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister, in Kamloops, B.C., holds private meetings and visits Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc.

LEADERS

No public itineraries were issued by the other leaders.

POLITICAL BOOKS

Another former member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is writing about her experience in federal politics.

Catherine McKenna, who served as environment and infrastructure minister, told the Herle Berly podcast last week that she has written Run Like a Girl, which she said was not a tell-all, but touched on lessons in politics.

“It’s just about being a woman and being yourself,” said Ms. McKenna, who served as Ottawa Centre MP from 2015 until this year, when she announced she would not seek re-election.

As she announced her plans to leave politics last June, Ms. McKenna mentioned the phrase “running like a girl” as she encouraged more female participation in elected politics.

Ms. McKenna’s book project comes after recent books from former federal ministers, including Indian in the Cabinet by former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, a memoir about she challenges she faced in Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet. Ms. Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet over the SNC-Lavalin affair. Indian in the Cabinet was recently nominated for the inaugural Writers’ Trust Balsillie Prize for Public Policy.

Contacted by The Globe and Mail, Ms. McKenna said in a social media exchange that she had worked on her book over the course of the pandemic. “It’s about politics and women in politics. More to come later.”

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the challenge Erin O’Toole faces with a handful of unvaccinated Tory MPs as the opening of Parliament looms: “Imagine a new hybrid Parliament, with 330-odd MPs sitting in the House of Commons, live and in-person, but a handful of unvaccinated Conservatives relegated to video participation because they won’t get the shots. Erin O’Toole has about a month to avoid that damaging image.”

Kevin Chan, Rachel Curran and Joelle Pineau (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Facebook collaborating to make progress against harms associated with social media: “As three Canadians working directly on public policy and research at Facebook, we take very seriously the opportunity and responsibility to contribute to this effort, and to always strive to do better. Importantly, we hear the calls for more regulation, and we agree. Matters of hate speech, online safety and freedom of expression are some of the most challenging issues of our time, and we have been vocal in calling for a new set of public rules for all technology companies to follow. As Canadian lawmakers seek to construct new frameworks for platform governance, we stand ready to collaborate with them.”

Tzeporah Berman (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how the bar for climate leadership is far too low in Canada: “Canada claims to be a climate leader, but it’s time to get clear on what that means. We need a plan to stop the expansion of existing oil and gas projects and to help transition workers and communities involved in the industry into other sectors. We need to step up internationally and work with other countries as we did in the face of great challenges, such as the Second World War and ozone depletion.”

Naheed Nenshi (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on the crises we are facing: “We are at a crossroads in our country. We have five future-defining crises in front of us, any one of which could bring a lesser society to its knees: a public-health crisis in the pandemic, a mental health and addictions crisis, an economic dislocation like none we’ve seen before, an environmental crisis, and a reckoning on the issue of equity. This is all playing out at political and national levels, but also in every one of our families. It all feels sometimes like too much. Is our country ungovernable? Are the voices of anger and hatred and division simply too loud? Have they won? I don’t believe that. I never have. I can’t. I won’t.”

Mike McDonald (Rosedeer) on the British Columbia election that continues to impact politics in the province 30 years after the ballots were counted: “It was the election of Premier Mike Harcourt’s NDP government and only the second time in B.C. history that the NDP had gained power. The election was hugely significant for the NDP, as they governed for a decade. But its more profound impact was the realignment of the free enterprise vote in B.C.”

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.

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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Study: Politics Outweighed COVID Severity in Reopening Decisions – Inside Higher Ed

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The political leaning of the county in which a college or university is located is the factor most closely associated with whether it offered in-person or remote instruction in fall 2020, research released Tuesday shows. The article, published in Springer’s Research in Higher Education, finds that the severity of the pandemic near a college and sociopolitical factors in its state were also associated with institutional decisions on how to offer instruction.

State political factors were a stronger factor for four-year public institutions than for four-year private or community colleges, while county political preferences had a stronger effect on four-year private and two-year public institutions.

“Given that in-person instruction was associated with increased COVID-19 incidence in the local area,” the authors write, “polarization, political identification, and institutions feeling compelled to operate as politicized entities (to stay close to the ‘in-group’) likely made the severity of the pandemic worse. These outcomes are aligned with the general findings [of previous research] that institutions seemed to give more weight to sociopolitical features over pandemic severity when choosing in-person instruction for Fall 2020.”

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Why American Politics Is So Stuck — and What New Research Shows About How to Fix It – POLITICO Magazine

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Why does American politics feel so stuck these days, with bipartisan bills vanishingly rare and solutions seemingly taking a back seat to constant attacks?

Our newly published research suggests an answer — and maybe a way to get un-stuck.

Most policies are rife with trade-offs. They have an intended outcome and some regrettable side-effects. Our recent studies suggest that political polarization in the United States runs so deep that it leads partisans to see the other side’s intended outcome as a ruse and the side effects as the real intention. In other words, Democrats and Republicans not only disagree about policy matters; they believe the other party’s agenda is intentionally designed to do harm.

We call this tendency the partisan trade-off bias, and it applies to both parties. To a Democrat, the purpose of an environmental policy that reduces carbon emissions, for example, is to preserve the environment, and a corresponding loss of coal mining jobs is an unfortunate side effect. But a Republican, our research finds, might look at that same policy and see a plot to eradicate jobs in the fossil fuels industry. Meanwhile, a Democrat might presume a Republican push to lower corporate tax rates is more about helping the wealthy and hurting the poor than fueling economic growth.

Of course, skepticism about motives is sometimes warranted. But, oftentimes, it is misguided, and the deeper it runs, the harder it is to get anything through the policymaking process. Unless politicians find a way to lessen the effects of the partisan trade-off bias, we’re likely to keep seeing stalemates on important policy issues.

We documented the partisan trade-off bias across five studies using online samples of a total of 1,236 participants, a mix of Republicans and Democrats. As an example, in one of our studies participants were randomly assigned to view a set of policy trade-offs, some proposed by Republicans and some proposed by Democrats. The policies dealt with taxes, environmental regulation, gun control and voting rights. Participants then rated how intentional they perceived the negative side effects of each policy to be. The more participants identified with the Republican Party, the more intentional they perceived the side effects of the Democratic-proposed policies to be, and the more participants identified with the Democratic Party, the more intentional they perceived the side effects of Republican-proposed policies to be.

In a nutshell, our studies showed that the negative side effects associated with different policy trade-offs are not interpreted by opponents as side effects at all, but as intended goals of the policy.

To date, the political science literature has shown that political polarization leads partisans not only to dislike each other, but to see the other side increasingly as a threat to the country. Our identification of the partisan trade-off bias reveals a psychological tendency that might help to explain this perception of threat. After all, how can you get along with someone who you perceive as intentionally trying to do harm?

The good news is that by identifying the partisan trade-off bias, our research points a path forward: Policymakers who pay more attention to this bias might be better equipped to achieve compromise. This means that rather than focusing only on the main goal of a policy, they need to communicate clearly to the public what is intentional and what is a regrettable side-effect of that goal.

Fortunately, our studies also suggest this might be achievable. The partisan trade-off bias happens not because people don’t understand a given policy, but because they don’t trust the policymakers who are pushing that policy. We found that the level of trust a person feels toward a policymaker proposing a policy is a crucial driver of the partisan trade-off bias. And when we were able to increase people’s trust in the policymaker in our studies, we saw the partisan tradeoff bias decrease substantially.

Existing research suggests there are many ways politicians can earn others’ trust, but one of the most powerful is also the simplest: making sure people feel their voices are heard and listened to before a policy is announced, including both those inclined to like and dislike a policy. When we told participants in our studies that a policymaker spoke with stakeholders from all sides of the political spectrum before rolling out a proposal, the partisan tradeoff bias subsided.

Practically speaking, these findings suggest that announcing a big policy goal, and then doing press tours and campaigns to tout its benefits, likely does little to build trust. What happens before the policy is announced is crucial to building broad support for the policy. Politicians need to make it clear that they are speaking with and listening to those likely to be affected by a policy’s side effects. In the context of climate policy, a politician might visit coal miners in West Virginia or oil and gas workers in Texas while in the process of formulating a plan to reduce emissions, for example. The more widely the politician can advertise these efforts — across multiple types of media and across the ideological spectrum — the better.

Giving people a voice in the process does not mean they will change their minds about the value of the policy. But it does increase the chances that they will see the policy as a sincere attempt to solve problems rather than a form of hidden malice. That, in turn, can help lower the temperature and de-escalate the cycle of polarization. The same lesson holds for those of us who are not policymakers but ordinary citizens who want to have better conversations about politics. If you think you know what the other side’s real intentions are, think again. What you see as malice might be an unintended side effect. And if you want someone to give you the benefit of the doubt, put in the work of making them feel heard before you make yourself heard.

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A new reason to move: politics – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Blue states will get bluer, and red redder, in coming years, as more Americans factor political issues into their relocation decisions and head for places with like-minded tribes.

That’s the forecast from real-estate brokerage Redfin, which included “more migration for political reasons” in its outlook for the housing market in 2022. The deepening political polarization of the country includes new city- and statewide laws likely to attract adherents and repel detractors, driving political issues deeper into community life. Texas this year passed the nation’s strictest anti-abortion law, for instance. A Mississippi anti-abortion law could lead the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal everywhere. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, states will once again be free to set their own abortion statutes, creating a drastic dividing line between permissive and restrictive states.

Another Supreme Court case, involving gun rights, could make it easier to carry concealed weapons in New York and 7 other states, eroding gun-control efforts propagated largely by Democratic governors and mayors. On the other hand, marijuana is now legal in 19 mostly blue and purple states. Cities such as Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York are experimenting with police reform meant to cut down on lower-level arrests. Public-school curricula is a new flash point between parents who want racial and social justice taught in schools, and traditionalists who feel threatened by “wokeness.”

A U.S. Supreme Court police officer walks past its building as rulings are expected in Washington, U.S. November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A U.S. Supreme Court police officer walks past its building as rulings are expected in Washington, U.S. November 22, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Covid pandemic led to sharp disparities in masking rules, school opening policies and business restrictions among states and cities. That’s on top of longstanding differences in regulation and taxation between traditionally Democratic and Republican states. While there’s nothing new about regional differences in governing styles, policy polarization is making it easier for Americans to live in areas they find ideologically compatible. It’s also getting harder for liberals to find a comfortable enclave in conservative states, and vice versa.

[Click here to get Rick Newman’s stories by email.]

Moving patterns reflect politics

Americans seem increasingly likely to sort themselves into ideological groups by geography. “We know people are leaving blue counties and moving to red counties,” says Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. “I think this will start to happen at the state level and at the neighborhood level. After next year’s midterm elections, we’ll be able to see if neighborhoods become more polarized.”

Up till now, the migration from blue states to red states has largely been driven by affordability. Blue states along the coasts typically have higher living costs and taxation levels than, say southern red states such as Texas and Florida. More and more, however, moving patterns reflect overt political choices.

An October Redfin survey of people who recently moved, for instance, found that 40% said they would prefer or insist on living in a place where abortion is fully legal. The portion taking the opposite view—saying they would prefer or refuse to live in an area where abortion is fully legal—was 32%. It’s not unusual for survey respondents to express strong opinions on abortion, but it may be new for people to factor such views into moving decisions. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe and more states ban or severely restrict abortion, it could become a bigger factor in relocation.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 12: A newly sold home is shown on August 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Home prices have climbed during the pandemic as low interest rates and working from home has become more abundant. Home prices around the country continue to surge in the second quarter as strong demand continues to overwhelm the supply of homes for sale. Nationwide, the median single-family existing-home sales price increased by 22.9% in the second quarter. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 12: A newly sold home is shown on August 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Home prices have climbed during the pandemic as low interest rates and working from home has become more abundant. Home prices around the country continue to surge in the second quarter as strong demand continues to overwhelm the supply of homes for sale. Nationwide, the median single-family existing-home sales price increased by 22.9% in the second quarter. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

A newly sold home is shown on August 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The Redfin survey of movers also gauged attitudes toward other touchy political topics. Larger percentages favored living in areas with liberal policies such as strong voter protections, gender anti-discrimination laws and legal weed. But 23% said they don’t want to live in places with strong anti-discrimination laws, 22% don’t want to live in a state with legal weed, and 16% don’t want to live where there are strong voter protections.

Americans consider many factors when deciding where to live, and some of those factors have political overtones. Many parents base home-buying decisions on the quality of schools, which drives up home prices in the best school districts and creates de facto segregation. The white-flight phenomenon has a similar effect, with whites who can afford to leaving urban areas for places where they consider quality of life better.

But those types of location decisions are based more on family-first attitudes than the liberal-conservative divide that’s taking root now. Americans choose a political tribe when they vote, donate money to political causes and decide which cable-news station to watch. Perhaps it’s only natural that Americans want to live among their political comrades, as well. Like much of America, real-estate listings are trending toward liberal or conservative.  

Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. You can also send confidential tips.

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