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Politics live updates: Senate upholds constitutionality of Trump impeachment trial; senators take oath – USA TODAY

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Maureen Groppe

Bart Jansen

Savannah Behrmann

Nicholas Wu
 
| USA TODAY

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House sends Trump impeachment to Senate for second time

House Democrats have sent the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate, kicking off the trial process.

USA TODAY

President Joe Biden announced the U.S. is working to purchase an additional 200 million coronavirus vaccines, doubling the nation’s vaccine supply with enough to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.

Biden, who outlined the new purchase in remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday evening, is also expected to announce an increase in the weekly vaccine allocation to states, tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses for the next three weeks, according to the official.

The 1.4 million federal boost will primarily be supplied by Moderna’s vaccine, one of two authorized for emergency use in the United States. Pfizer, which makes the second authorized vaccine, announced earlier Tuesday it was ahead of schedule on fulfilling the 200 million doses the U.S. purchased last year.

Each of the vaccines require two doses. A second shot should be administered about three or four weeks after the first, depending on the vaccine given.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also planning to provide states, tribes and territories with allocation estimates for the upcoming three weeks instead of the one week look-ahead they previously received, Biden said.

“These estimates will be updated on a running basis so that every state has at least three weeks notice to help them plan for their vaccination distribution and administration,” the an administration official said.

The announcement comes after several states have reported vaccine and supply shortages while tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose have complained of cancellations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that administration officials were making calls to brief governors on the updated plans for vaccination distribution and coordinate a further rollout.

— Courtney Subramanian

The Senate voted Tuesday to uphold the constitutionality of the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, but the vote suggested a lack of support for convicting him on the charge of inciting insurrection.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., forced the vote with a point of order arguing that Trump couldn’t be tried as a private citizen – and if he were tried, that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts should preside.

Instead, the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, will preside. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside only over a trial of a sitting president.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Paul’s argument “has been completely debunked by constitutional scholars from all across the political spectrum.”

“The theory that the impeachment of a former official is unconstitutional is flat-out wrong by every frame of analysis,” Schumer said.

The Senate voted 55-45 to reject Paul’s motion. The vote revealed more than one-third of the chamber opposing the trial. A two-thirds majority is required to convict Trump.

The vote signaled that more than one-third of the Senate – and the vast majority of Republicans – found the trial unconstitutional. “We’re excited about it,” Paul said after the vote. “It was one of the few times in Washington where a loss is actually a victory.”

Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s White House chief of staff, said the vote showed the case is “dead on arrival.”

“If today’s Senate vote is any sign, the Democrats’ ridiculous impeachment of former President Trump will fail – again – by a long shot,” Meadows said in a tweet. “Dead on arrival.”

Paul had argued that the trial is a “kangaroo court” that will stoke partisan division. But the Senate has tried a former Cabinet official and former judges after leaving office.

Impeachment is typically used to remove someone from office, but the sentence upon conviction could also bar an official from holding future office.

Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Democrats in killing Paul’s motion.

Collins said the vote indicated Trump would likely be acquitted.

“I do the math, but I think that it’s extraordinarily unlikely the president will be convicted,” she said.

— Bart Jansen

Senators took their oaths Tuesday as jurors in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, setting the stage for oral arguments to begin Feb. 9.

The ceremonial start to the trial also formally installed Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, as the presiding officer. Some Republicans argued that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts should preside, but the Constitution calls for the chief justice only in trials of a sitting president.

The longest-serving Republican in the chamber, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, administered the oath to the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Leahy then administered the oath to the 99 other senators, to serve as jurors in the trial.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised a point of order challenging the constitutionality of trying a president who is already out of office. He didn’t expect to win the vote, but to demonstrate that the necessary two-thirds of the Senate wouldn’t vote to convict Trump.

Senators were sworn in after House prosecutors, who are called managers, carried over Monday the article of impeachment that charges Trump with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A clerk handed each senator a different pen as a health precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., signed with a quill pen.

The trial will pause while sides in the trial prepare written arguments about the case. Senators will resume debating confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees and legislation to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

House managers now have until Feb. 2 to provide the Senate with written arguments in the case. Trump’s defense team will have until Feb. 8 to file written arguments. Then oral arguments begin the next day.

— Bart Jansen

President Joe Biden had his first phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin since being sworn into office last week – a conversation that came amid heightened US-Russia tensions.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden called Putin on Tuesday to discuss renewing an expiring US-Russia nuclear arms control agreement and to press the Russian leader on a batch of more nettlesome issues.

Biden used the call to “reaffirm our strong support for Ukraine sovereignty in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” she said, and to raise questions about Russia’s alleged role in the massive SolarWinds cyberattack, the country’s meddling in US elections, and reports that it offered bounties to militant extremists in Afghanistan to kill American soldiers.

“His intention was also to make clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of our national interests in response to malign actions by Russia,” Psaki said.

She said the president also pressed Putin on allegations that the Kremlin tried to poison Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader, and then engaged in a widespread crackdown against protesters who demanded Navalny’s release from prison in demonstrations over the weekend.

Putin’s spokesman has denied playing a role in Navalny’s poisoning.

Even though Tuesday’s call focused on several flashpoints between the two countries, a readout from the White House suggested the U.S. and Russia would be able to work together on renewing the New START treaty for five years. That arms control agreement expires next week, so it’s an urgent issue, but Putin and Biden have both expressed support for a long-term extension. 

“They also agreed to explore strategic stability discussions on a range of arms control and emerging security issues,” the White House said in its readout of the conversation.

While this is Biden’s first call as U.S. president with Putin, the two men have a long history of engagement – much of it frosty.

In 2011, for example, Biden was in Russia for a meeting with Putin when Biden made a startling remark about Putin’s character.

“Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden recalled in an interview with Evan Osnos, whose biography of Biden was published in October. “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’ ”

The comment was a play on former President George W. Bush’s warmer assessment of Putin in 2001, when Bush called the Russian strongman “very straightforward and trustworthy.”

Putin was among the last major world leaders to recognize Biden’s win in the 2020 election. He had a seemingly cozy relationship with President Donald Trump, who often downplayed Russia’s malign actions.

— Deirdre Shesgreen

The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Antony Blinken to be the nation’s 71st secretary of State on Tuesday, as lawmakers scrambled to approve President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees before impeachment proceedings begin.

In a strong show of bipartisan support, the final Senate tally was 78 to 22 and included “yes” votes from several top Republicans.

Blinken will become America’s top diplomat as the world confronts a confluence of threats: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a great-power competition that increasingly pits the U.S. against China on trade, technology and other issues.

Read the full story.

— Deirdre Shesgreen

President Joe Biden on Tuesday will take steps to address what the administration calls systemic racism in housing and criminal justice, including ending the federal government’s use of private prisons.

Biden will sign four new executive orders, building on steps taken in his first week as part of his campaign promise to create a more equitable society.

Biden will also lay out his agenda to address racial inequity, which a senior Biden administration official said will be substantially an economic agenda,

The official also stressed that the actions aimed at creating a more equitable society are not aimed solely at communities of color and stressed that helping the disadvantaged will help the entire society.

The executive actions Biden will sign include:

  • Directing the Housing Department to address racially discriminatory federal housing policies.
  • Not renewing the Justice Department’s contracts with private prisons.
  • Recommitting federal respect for tribal sovereignty
  • Directing federal agencies to mitigate xenophobia and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

On Biden’s first day in office, he signed an order launching a government-wide initiative directing every federal agency to review its state of racial equity and deliver an action plan within 200 days to address any disparities in policies and programs.

The administration said Biden’s “comprehensive mandate” to embed racial equity throughout everything being done is unprecedented.

— Maureen Groppe

Sen. Rand Paul plans to force a vote Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump – a move he doesn’t expect to win, but one to demonstrate the unlikelihood of conviction.

Paul, R-Ky., called the trial “a sham impeachment” if the chief justice doesn’t preside. “It’s just a partisan farce,” he told reporters.

The Senate is scheduled to be sworn in at 2:30 p.m. to serve as jurors in the trial, after the House delivered a charge that Trump incited insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Paul plans to raise a point of order during that ceremonial start to the trial to challenge its constitutionality. He doesn’t expect to win in a chamber controlled by Democrats. But because a two-thirds majority is required for conviction in the 100-member Senate, Paul said if the vote could demonstrate that Trump won’t be convicted.

“I think it’ll be enough to show that, you know, more than a third of the Senate thinks that the whole proceeding is unconstitutional, which will show that ultimately they don’t have the votes to do an impeachment,” Paul said.

Paul and some other Republicans contend the trial is unconstitutional because Trump left office Jan. 20. A Cabinet member and judges have been tried after leaving office, but never a president. 

“The Constitution says you can only impeach the president, and it says if you impeach the president, the chief justice shall preside,” Paul said.

The result of prosecuting a former president is that Chief Justice John Roberts won’t be presiding, as he did at Trump’s first impeachment trial. The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside at the trial of a sitting president, but is silent on who presides for a former president. 

Instead, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the longest-serving member of the Democratic majority, will preside, as happens in the impeachment of judges or executive branch officials. Leahy has insisted he will be impartial in overseeing the proceedings.

Paul called the trial a “kangaroo court” that would further divide the country. He argued both that Trump can’t be tried as a private citizen and that if he were tried, the chief justice should preside.

“Democrats brazenly appointing a pro-impeachment Democrat to preside over the trial is not fair or impartial,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “Hyper-partisan Democrats are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., called Trump’s rhetoric at a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, before a violent mob stormed the Capitol, “inflammatory” and “irresponsible.” But Hawley called the trial unconstitutional for pursuing a former president without the chief justice presiding.

“I think it’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hawley said. “To me, this is an incredibly abusive process.”

At least one Republican senator said he wouldn’t support Paul’s motion. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Republican to vote for Trump’s conviction in the first impeachment trial, said most opinion supports the constitutionality of trying a former president.

“The preponderance of opinion with regards to the constitutionality of a trial of impeachment of a former president is saying that it is a constitutional process,” Romney said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also said the trial was constitutional.

“My review of it has led me to conclude that it is constitutional in recognizing that impeachment is not solely about removing a president, it is also a matter of political consequence,” Murkowski said.

— Bart Jansen

A Senate panel recommended confirmation Tuesday of Alejandro Mayorkas to become secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, where he would be the first immigrant and the first Latino to lead the department.

The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 7-4 to recommend his confirmation by the whole Senate. 

President Joe Biden had asked for the Senate to confirm Mayorkas and three other top posts quickly. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was confirmed last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was confirmed Monday, and Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken has a confirmation vote scheduled Tuesday.

Mayorkas has faced the most contentious confirmation hearing of Biden’s Cabinet so far. Republicans posed pointed questions about Biden’s proposals to create a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and to suspend construction of the wall along the southern border with Mexico. 

Republicans also questioned him about an inspector general’s report that found an appearance of favoritism in how he handled visas associated with business investments during a previous stint with the Democrat. But Mayorkas said he was trying to fix problems in a complicated bureaucracy, and Democrats called the report an attempt to smear him.

The top Republican on the committee, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said Tuesday he would not support Mayorkas’ nomination, citing “serious issues” in his background like the inspector general report, but Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who also serves on the panel, said Mayorkas had acknowledged his previous errors and supported his nomination heading to a full Senate vote.   

Mayorkas has previously been deputy secretary of the department and headed its citizenship agency. He arrived with his parents from Cuba as refugees from Fidel Castro’s regime in 1960.

— Bart Jansen and Nicholas Wu

Biden to outline racial equity agenda

After focusing his first few days on the coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden is turning the spotlight on another top priority: racial inequality.

Biden plans to outline on Tuesday has agenda for fighting racial inequality, one of the four “converging crises” he has said is facing the nation.

“The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” Biden said in his inauguration speech.

Officials have said that addressing inequality will be a focus across all issues. For example, Biden has emphasized the need to help minority communities hit harder by the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the administration is also putting a standalone emphasis on the initiative.

Susan Rice, the head of Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, is expected to talk about the efforts at Tuesday’s White House press briefing.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the administration is speeding up a move stalled under President Donald Trump to put abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Psaki said it’s important the nation’s currency “reflect the history and diversity of our country.”

Also on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“The first Secretary of Defense in history to be sworn in by an African American @VP…is an African American Secretary of Defense,” tweeted Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff.

– Maureen Groppe

More: Amid calls for unity, President Biden and Republicans don’t agree what that looks like

Senate to take oath for second Trump impeachment trial

Senators on Tuesday will be sworn in as jurors in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, who is charged with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that left five dead.

The formal oath-taking comes after House prosecutors walked the article of impeachment Monday across the Capitol, which some have called the scene of the crime.

Trump has said his rally speech near the White House questioning the results of the 2020 election was “appropriate.” But Democrats contend he exhorted a violent mob to lay siege to the Capitol, which interrupted the House and Senate while counting Electoral College votes.

House prosecutors, who are called managers, will present their written arguments to the Senate by Feb. 2. Trump’s defense team will then present written arguments in the case to the Senate by Feb. 8. Oral arguments begin the next day.

–Bart Jansen

More: The second Trump impeachment trial is set for February. What happens next?

More: As Trump impeachment trial begins, he lacks star lawyers, full Republican backing

Vice President Harris to get second dose of COVID vaccine Tuesday

Vice President Kamala Harris will receive her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday evening, according to her office.

Harris received her first dose in December before live television cameras as part of a concerted effort to convince the public the inoculations are safe.

Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will receive the second dose in front of the news media at the National Institutes of Health.

President Joe Biden received his second dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 11. 

Biden’s and Harris’ vaccinations were staggered at the recommendation of medical and national security experts. 

–Savannah Behrmann

Secretary of State nomination moving forward

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee greenlighted Antony Blinken’s nomination to be secretary of State in a bipartisan vote on Monday. The 15-to-3 vote sends Blinken’s nomination to the full Senate, which could take up his confirmation as early as Tuesday. 

Also on Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Gina Marie Raimondo, Biden’s nominee to head the Commerce Department.

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Letter: History keeps some out of politics – Richmond News

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Dear Editor,

With Richmond’s Chinese residents making up over 50 per cent of the population, it’s disappointing, yet not surprising, there are no Chinese-Canadian candidates running for mayor in this year’s municipal election.

It would be a difficult task for any Chinese-Canadian to become part of the political elite. This has less to do with discrimination and more about our rich history of subservience in Western society. We lack a tradition of high profile political or corporate leaders to motivate our youth.

The first influx of Chinese migrants were predominantly poor, illiterate peasants fleeing famine, civil strife and brutal regimes. To survive these turbulent times one learned to stay silent, work hard and keep a low profile. Such qualities would also serve them well in a foreign and hostile land where these lessons were passed on to successive generations to the present.

Unfortunately these compliant attributes rarely ignite our passions, inspiring us to stand up and speak out. Over the years a few “embers” have flickered but were quickly doused.

From childhood, we are psychologically browbeaten into studying industriously and succeeding quietly while western culture heap praise on the loud and proud. Our over-emphasis on academics and status is a catch-22: Asian students graduate from top universities with some of the highest grades but many lack the interpersonal skills crucial for leadership roles.

Except for a few exceptional exceptions, we are content to be in the background, loyal employees toiling diligently to make their mainly “white male” bosses look good. Recall our rich history of subservience, many of us are more comfortable taking orders than giving them. 

In big business and politics, a magnetic personality is just as important as intelligence in leading a major organization or becoming mayor in a large city.

Perhaps a lack of charisma is one reason we find it so difficult to shatter that political glass ceiling, but we sure can polish it. 

Wes Fung

Richmond

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Bill Graham, a political rarity, was a beacon of civility in federal government – The Globe and Mail

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Former Minister of National Defence Bill Graham waits for the Prime Minister to call the federal cabinet meeting to order in Winnipeg on August 26, 2005.CHUCK STOODY/CP

Bill Graham was old school. The former Liberal cabinet minister loved politics, loved the Toronto riding he represented through five elections, loved being out and about in the world, loved gossip and good stories, which he could tell better than just about anyone.

“He was a gentleman,” said Adrienne Clarkson, the former governor-general and close friend, “in a time when many people no longer understand the meaning of the word.”

He was also Canada’s foreign affairs and then defence minister in the critical early years of the century, contributing heavily to keeping Canada out of the war in Iraq and in the war in Afghanistan.

As interim leader of the Liberal Party in 2006, he held a fractious caucus together – at least most of the time – as a defeated party sought to regroup.

He was, above all, a beacon of civility in the bearpit of federal politics, which made him respected on both sides of the aisle.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody speak ill of Bill,” said Scott Brison, who sat in opposition to him as a Progressive Conservative MP, and then with him as a Liberal in former prime minister Paul Martin’s cabinet. “And to be honest, I almost never heard Bill speak ill of anybody else.”

A son of privilege, he championed the rights of minorities. He owned a place in Corsica, but some of the strongest support in his inner-Toronto riding came from the poorest neighbourhoods.

He lived life large but with grace, and never too seriously, no matter how serious things became.

Or as Bob Rae, Canada’s permanent representative at the United Nations, put it, “he was just a wonderful guy.”

Mr. Graham died from cancer, Sunday, at the age of 83. He leaves his wife Catherine, daughter Katy and son Patrick.

He moved in all the right circles from birth, though family life could be tempestuous. (On the day of his stepfather’s funeral, he wrote in his memoir, his mother tearfully confessed that he had actually been his biological father.) He attended Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto’s Trinity College, U of T’s law school and the University of Paris.

It seemed perfectly natural, while he was at Trinity, to buy a Land Rover with a friend and attempt to drive it from Europe to India. (They made it as far as Afghanistan.) He also joined the naval reserves, becoming a sub-lieutenant. As defence minister, “whenever I boarded a ship, they would say, ‘the minister is one of ours, you know,’ ” he recalled years later.

He married Catherine Curry on June 9, 1962, and settled into a life of law at the Toronto firm of Fasken, quickly establishing a reputation in international trade law. In 1980, he joined the University of Toronto’s law faculty. He was highly popular with his students, but with two careers already under his belt, he decided in midlife that it was time to tackle politics.

He ran twice in the downtown Toronto riding of Rosedale (later Toronto Centre-Rosedale, then Toronto Centre), failing both times, but learning about its different communities, from the swells north of Bloor Street – his people – to the public housing projects to the gay village.

In the 1988 campaign, a young man came up to him and said: “I want to help you get elected, though I’m dying of AIDS, and don’t have a long time to live.” Mr. Graham became a passionate supporter of the LGBTQ community, defender of the same-sex marriage act of 2005 and supporter of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, known today as The ArQuives.

The support was financial, but he also showed up and pitched in as an organizer and volunteer. The queer experience in the generations before the LGBTQ rights movement “had not been documented by the community,” said Raegan Swanson, the archives’ executive director, “and here was a chance to make sure that history was preserved, essentially for the first time.”

In 1993, Mr. Graham took Rosedale as part of Jean Chrétien’s Liberal sweep of Ontario. Mr. Chrétien put him on the foreign-affairs committee, which he eventually chaired.

“He came in with a belief in the House of Commons,” said the writer and philosopher John Ralston Saul. (Catherine Graham introduced Mr. Saul to Ms. Clarkson in 1976; they were married in 1999.) A more ambitious politician might have seen committee work as, at best, a stepping stone to cabinet. “But he really loved the House,” said Mr. Saul. Mr. Graham often lamented the decline in the quality of debate in the Commons.

The committee produced major reports on the Arctic, nuclear disarmament and other issues. The historian and former MP John English said that Lloyd Axworthy, who was foreign minister at the time, told him, “Bill made that committee into something it never was before.”

In 2002, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Chrétien made Mr. Graham minister of foreign affairs. This surprised many observers, since Mr. Graham had been friends since university days with Paul Martin, who was challenging Mr. Chrétien for the Liberal leadership.

But he was a loyal and effective minister, supporting Mr. Chrétien in his decision not to involve Canada in the American-led war in Iraq. Mr. Graham did not believe the evidence supported American arguments that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.

But Mr. Graham was also a political realist. As he wrote in his memoir, both he and Mr. Chrétien well knew that “most of the country, most of the cabinet, most of the Liberal caucus, most of the Commons, and a vast majority in the politically key provinces of Quebec and British Columbia were against sending Canadian troops into Iraq.”

Mr. Graham was a political rarity in that he served in the cabinets of both Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Martin. Though he wrote that he was disappointed when, in 2004, Mr. Martin shuffled him into defence, he served the department well.

Mr. Graham successfully pitched to have General Rick Hillier made chief of the defence staff, supported the military’s push for a greater combat role in Afghanistan, and persuaded Mr. Martin and Finance Minister Ralph Goodale to increase defence spending.

For Mr. Graham, the Afghanistan mission differed from Iraq in that it had greater international legitimacy. But in hindsight, he had regrets.

“We knew much less about Afghanistan and the politics of the region than we should have,” he wrote. “… It was unrealistic of us to expect that we could construct a truly effective government and civil society in the midst of the ongoing carnage.”

When Mr. Martin stepped down after Stephen Harper’s Conservative victory in January, 2006, caucus voted to make Mr. Graham interim leader. He successfully persuaded Liberal MPs to support a Conservative resolution recognizing the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada – opposing the resolution would mean the death of the Liberal Party in Quebec, he argued. But he could not bring the caucus with him when the Harper government sought parliamentary support to extend the mission in Afghanistan.

“You don’t understand anything about politics, Bill,” one MP told him. Maybe not, Mr. Graham replied, but “I do understand one thing: if we vote against this motion, Canadians are going to look at us and wonder what kind of chumps would flip-flop on such an important issue, involving the lives of our troops, just because we don’t happen to be sitting in the same seats as we were a few months ago.”

Nonetheless, a majority of caucus opposed the motion, which barely scraped through with the help of Mr. Graham and a rump of Liberal MPs, revealing the depths of divisions within the party in the wake of its defeat.

His friend and cabinet colleague Carolyn Bennett said Mr. Graham’s approach during policy debates was to talk quietly and to genuinely listen to people’s concerns.

“He used his knowledge and his leadership to be persuasive in a way that was kind and gentle,” she said. “I think Bill taught us all how you can be persuasive on progressive matters. … He made politics slightly less of a swear word.”

When Mr. Rae, who had been Ontario’s NDP premier, was looking for a riding to run in as a Liberal, Mr. Graham offered him his. He had decided it was time to step down and let a new crew take charge. Mr. Rae would himself one day serve as interim leader.

After his retirement from politics, Mr. Graham returned to Trinity College, this time as chancellor. He served on various boards, councils and commissions. He endowed the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History (Mr. English was its first director), which promotes the study of contemporary events from a historical perspective.

When the Liberals returned to power under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he served as an adviser for the defence review that was published as Strong, Secure, Engaged. His memoir, which appeared in 2016, received praise for its candour, especially in his writings on Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it was his personal qualities that set Bill Graham apart as a politician. He was respected and admired by all sides, in part because he never let politics become personal.

Chris Tindal tweeted about the time in 2006, when he was running as the Green candidate in Toronto Centre. “One morning, I was canvassing at a subway stop when he pulled up. ‘You were here first,’ he said. ‘We’ll go somewhere else.’ But he stayed and chatted with me for a while. Whenever people recognized him, he redirected. “This is Chris, the Green Party candidate! Good guy!”

The Twittersphere was full of such stories this week, as friends and political opponents praised Mr. Graham’s courtesy, friendliness, lack of pretension, grace.

“Even while a determined opponent, Bill was always a gentleman, and he always kept the best interests of the country in mind,” tweeted Mr. Harper.

“He represented a certain tradition in Canadian political life,” said Mr. English. “It is the passing of a generation, and he was an exceptional representative of that generation.”

Scott Brison just misses his friend. “He was one of the kindest, smartest, wisest, funniest and best people I’ve known. And he embodied public service at its best.”

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Taiwan blames politics for cancellation of global Pride event – CNN

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(Reuters)Taiwan on Friday blamed “political considerations” for the cancellation of WorldPride 2025 Taiwan after it said the organizers had insisted the word “Taiwan” be removed.

Taiwan participates in global organizations like the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei,” to avoid political problems with China, which views the self-governing democratic island as its own territory and bristles at anything that suggests it is a separate country.
Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung had been due to host WorldPride 2025 Taiwan, after winning the right from global LGBTQ rights group InterPride.
Last year after an outcry in Taiwan, it dropped a reference to the island as a “region.”
But the Kaohsiung organizers said InterPride had recently “suddenly” asked them to change the name of the event to “Kaohsiung,” removing the word “Taiwan.”
“After careful evaluation, it is believed that if the event continues, it may harm the interests of Taiwan and the Taiwan gay community. Therefore, it is decided to terminate the project before signing the contract,” said the Kaohsiung organizers.
InterPride said in a statement they were “surprised to learn” the news and while they were disappointed, respected the decision.
“We were confident a compromise could have been reached with respect to the long-standing WorldPride tradition of using the host city name. We suggested using the name ‘WorldPride Kaohsiung, Taiwan’,” it added.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said the event would have been the first WorldPride event to be held in East Asia.
“Taiwan deeply regrets that InterPride, due to political considerations, has unilaterally rejected the mutually agreed upon consensus and broken a relationship of cooperation and trust, leading to this outcome,” it said.
“Not only does the decision disrespect Taiwan’s rights and diligent efforts, it also harms Asia’s vast LGBTIQ+ community and runs counter to the progressive principles espoused by InterPride.”
Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, in a first for Asia, and is proud of its reputation as a bastion of LGBTQ rights and liberalism.
While same-sex relations are not illegal in China, same-sex marriage is, and the government has been cracking down depictions of LGBTQ people in the media and of the community’s use of social media.

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