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SMITH: Removing big money from politics – Toronto Sun

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While I disagreed with many things about Canada’s Liberal government under Prime Minister Jean Chretien, I have to concede that his legislation to put limits on election spending was possibly one of the best things ever done for our nation.

I’ve run local campaigns for federal candidates in Canada; we get to spend roughly $1 per voter during the writ period. You need to be wildly creative and heavily volunteer-dependent to run a campaign on $90,000 – especially given the fact that we have at least one riding the size of Germany (that would be Kenora).

The money spent on U.S. elections is appalling – some reports say Hillary Clinton spent $1 billion on her 2016 campaign. The American Super PAC system is insane; it appears that it was designed to help cheaters cheat. It has spawned a massive election industry with a voracious appetite for uncontrolled spending. It has become a self-perpetuating machine of manipulation and, I think, corruption.

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In America, elections professionals can earn an excellent living selling their services in an endless loop of voting cycles with virtually no limit on spending. Candidates are allowed to raise millions of dollars which they can then spend on friends, family members and loved ones for elections activities which are questionable at best.

Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar has reportedly funneled $2.7 million to her husband’s company, 70% of her campaign spending in this cycle. That’s a nice living, and then some, for both of them.

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Politics Briefing: Liberals table UNDRIP bill – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

The Liberal government has tabled a bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The legislation would provide a framework to ensure that future laws take into account Indigenous human rights.

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The bill is the second time that Parliament will be looking at the issue in recent years. A private member’s bill introduced by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash in 2016 passed the House of Commons, but died in the Senate due to opposition from Conservative senators.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Chris Hannay. 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

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is vetting at least five people to take over as deputy minister of her department, including three current DMs, and officials at the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Canada.

Why the timing of the COVID-19 vaccine is so crucial to containing the virus’s spread.

How Newfoundland and Labrador’s rookie Premier, Andrew Furey, is trying to turn the province around.

The Liberal government has introduced a number of legislative initiatives recently to get tough on the tech giants, and a new Nanos poll shows support for the agenda, including requiring Netflix to charge sales tax and to fund Canadian content.

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Canada has joined its Five Eyes allies in condemning a tweet from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely depicts an Australian soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat.

Health experts say a House petition sponsored by Conservative MP Derek Sloan that refers to the COVID-19 vaccine as an example of “human experimentation” spreads dangerous misinformation.

And former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are teaming up to say they would take a COVID-19 vaccine on TV, if it would help boost vaccination rates.

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau sending out a cabinet minister to explain a broken promise on clean water for First Nations: “The political value of the promise, in fact, was that it was clear, easy to understand, specific, and made by the person who would be PM. And what we are supposed to get in return is accountability. On Wednesday, [Marc] Miller said he takes responsibility. But this was about prime ministerial accountability. Accept no substitute.”

Avvy Go, Debbie Douglas and Shalini Konanur (The Globe and Mail) on pushing back on the Liberal claim that the fiscal update was feminist and intersectional: “Statistics Canada’s most recent labour-force survey confirms that Canadians in Arabic, Black, Chinese and South Asian communities experienced much higher unemployment rates and much higher increases in unemployment rates over the past year compared with white Canadians. The government promised to create more jobs through massive infrastructure investments, but it did not guarantee these jobs will be made equitably accessible to those under-represented in the labour market due to structural racism and other forms of discrimination.”

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston (National Post) on why the Chinese state’s practice of kidnapping other citizens must stop: “This horror has befallen other Canadians, as well as citizens of other countries. It is time for liberal democracies to come together to show China that there are consequences for such actions.”

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Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed (Montreal Gazette) on why small businesses need our help: “For my family, shopping locally has, most of all, meant being mindful about where we buy our takeout food. Since the start of the pandemic, we have made a point of supporting locally owned restaurants. We want to see them still there when (one day) COVID-19 is behind us. That means they need our support now.”

Ralph Nader (The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s inadequate investigations into the crash of 737 Boeing Max jets: “Transport Canada and Parliament are affected by Washington’s unwillingness to require Boeing to divulge the information necessary to evaluate Boeing and FAA claims about the justification for ungrounding. An arrogant Boeing refused even to respond to a parliamentary committee’s belated invitation to testify.”

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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Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth to launch political party – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ashok Sharma, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, December 3, 2020 1:12PM EST

NEW DELHI – Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth has announced plans to launch his own political party in southern India in January, ending years of speculation by millions of his fans on his political future.

He said in a tweet that he will make an announcement on December 31st — apparently in relation to legislative elections in Tamil Nadu state expected around June next year.

He started taking an active part in politics in 2017.

The 69-year-old Rajinikanth is one of India’s most popular stars.

He’s made more than 175 films since 1975, mostly in the Tamil and Telugu languages.

He tweets that in the upcoming Assembly elections, “the emergence of spiritual politics will happen for sure — A wonder will happen.”

His political prospects appear bright following a vacuum created by the deaths of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned politician with the governing party in the state, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the leader of the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.

Cinema has always influenced Tamil politics by turning actors into popular politicians.

Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor for three years before joining an acting school.

He started in small roles as a villain in Tamil cinema and worked his way up, landing roles in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai.

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Pandemic decision-making requires politics and science work 'hand in glove:' expert – CBC.ca

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When it comes to effective decision-making at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, one expert says it’s more complicated than simply following the science.

“If we look at countries around the world that have very successfully dealt with the pandemic, it was when politicians and scientific advice were working hand in glove,” said Heidi Tworek, associate professor in international history and public policy at the University of British Columbia.

“In places like Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Senegal, we didn’t see that politicians completely disappeared. They were actually really crucial in helping people to understand why they were doing what they were doing, what was the meaning of the guidelines that they were following,” she told The Current‘s Matt Galloway. 

“So I think there’s lots of ways in which politicians can be very, very fruitfully involved. But the balance there is what is crucial.”

From U.S. president-elect Joe Biden to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, many political leaders have promised to take cues from the science and medical communities to guide their people to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. But government policy and scientific evidence are not always in lockstep, and those decisions are not always easy to make.

Like any new disease, the science around COVID-19 is constantly evolving, said Tworek, and not all scientists are going to agree on the best course of action.

“And so there have to be decisions made depending on what those disagreements are,” she said.

Striking a balance

Stephen Meek, a former U.K. civil servant, said there is always an inevitable degree of tension between what doctors advise in a health crisis, and what politicians decide to do.

That’s why it’s important that politicians have access to the best evidence and advice possible, he said.

“But fundamentally, what politics is and what politicians have to do, is try to strike the right balance on the base of that evidence,” explained Meek, who is also director of the Institute for Policy and Engagement at the University of Nottingham. 

“And that may mean not doing exactly what the pure medical advice on dealing with the pandemic would say.”

He added that political leaders will more easily maintain public trust if they can clearly articulate the medical evidence that experts have provided, and the reasonings behind their policy decisions — whether it follows medical advice to the letter, or not.

Meek cited the different pandemic responses in England and Scotland as an example of this in action.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has earned public support for being forthright about how she makes political decisions on the COVID-19 health crisis, says Stephen Meek of the University of Nottingham. (Jane Barlow-Pool/Getty Images)

While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had long said he was making pandemic-related decisions based on science, he has since split from that course, which has earned him criticism.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has garnered much stronger public support, said Meek.

“[Sturgeon] has fronted up every day and talked about how she’s taking decisions on the basis of evidence, rather than as we’ve had with Boris Johnson sometimes saying, ‘I’m doing what the scientists say,’ [and] sometimes saying other stuff,” he said.

Dr. Jim Talbot agrees that maintaining public trust is key in fighting this health crisis. 

The only currency you have in public health is trust.– Dr. Jim Talbot, former chief medical officer of health

But that also means giving medical officers of health the ability to speak candidly to the public on health issues, he said.

“In Flint, Mich., where the civil authorities decided they didn’t want to warn people about the lead in the drinking water … people were very angry — rightfully so — that they could have done something to prevent the risk to their kids and to babies if they’d known,” said Talbot , a former chief medical officer for Alberta and Nunavut.

“But they weren’t informed.”

Talbot said that public trust is key for authorities to be able to make decisions and get things done.

“The only currency you have in public health is trust,” he said. “And if you squander that trust, you have nothing. It doesn’t matter your position or funding or anything else. Trust is our only currency.”


Written by Kirsten Fenn. Produced by Lindsay Rempel and Alex Zabjek.

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