Connect with us

Politics

Take politics out of judicial appointments | wellandtribune.ca – WellandTribune.ca

Published

 on


With everything else going on these days, few Canadians probably noticed when the country’s most prominent legal advocacy group condemned the Trudeau government for the way it appoints judges.

That’s a pity, because the problem identified in an open letter from the Canadian Bar Association earlier this month is a big one. It threatens to undermine not only the faith Canadians have in their country’s justice system but the integrity of the system itself.

The specific practice the bar association zeroed in on was the federal government’s “political vetting of candidates,” which at the very least raises fears that Liberal politicians are quietly rewarding Liberal friends — and in a way that could influence the justice system.

It works like this. As part of its extensive vetting process for would-be-judges, the federal government uses the Liberal Party of Canada’s private database, which is called the Liberalist.

This list tells the government how much, if anything, a judicial candidate has contributed to the Liberal party and also states whether and when someone was a Liberal party member. If they participated in electoral campaigns or leadership races, that information is conveyed to the government, too.

The bottom line is the Liberalist lets the government know exactly how Liberal-friendly a candidate is. And therein lies the failing the Canadian Bar Association is railing against. There’s nothing untoward, for instance, about a lawyer contributing financially to one or more political parties. But such generosity should never be a factor in deciding whether that lawyer becomes a judge.

Public trust in Canada’s justice system largely relies upon having judges who are informed, fair — and apolitical. But thanks to the use of the Liberalist, the federal government’s current process for appointing judges is “open to speculation about political interference,” the bar association said in its letter, adding: “It is time to make the system less open to manipulation.”

A lot of people agree. Last week, the citizen’s group Democracy Watch filed a challenge of the appointment process in the federal court, alleging it is undermining the independence of the judicial system. Before that, former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould confirmed in a recent interview that there was political pressure in the selection of new judges. And last year, Francois Landry, a Liberal official in the office of Justice Minister David Lametti, claimed the prime minister’s office was playing an unreasonable role in judicial appointments.

It shouldn’t be too hard for Canadians to agree there’s a problem that needs fixing, one that could politicize judicial appointments for social engineering purposes. After all, many Canadians were as outraged as their American neighbours when U.S. President Donald Trump succeeded in having staunch social conservative Amy Coney Barrett appointed as the nation’s new Supreme Court justice. Trump’s actions were widely criticized, not only because they came just before the election he ended up losing but because he was consolidating a conservative majority on America’s highest court that will likely last and influence the country for a generation.

Of course, American judicial appointments have long been politicized in a way that remains foreign to Canada. Moreover, when it comes to political pressure in Canadian appointments, a remedy may be on the way.

In the next few weeks, the House of Commons justice committee is expected to launch a study of the judicial appointment process. We wish it success. There are many vital qualifications every aspiring Canadian judge should possess. Being an identifiably staunch supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada should not be on that list.

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Politics

How political symbolism brought down Keystone XL – CBC.ca

Published

 on


The new president of the United States described his inauguration on Wednesday as a moment to move forward. But moving forward properly requires a reckoning with the past. In Joe Biden’s case, that reckoning came for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The project’s fate seemed to be sealed years ago, but it haunts us still. And now, with strident words from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney about a trade war, it could haunt Canadian politics indefinitely.

Or, Canadian leaders could decide that it’s time for them to move forward, too.

The executive order that rescinded Keystone XL’s permit on Wednesday states that “the United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because President Barack Obama said almost the same thing when he blocked Keystone in November 2015. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

John Kerry — secretary of state in 2015 and now Biden’s climate envoy — put an even finer point on the significance of Keystone in his own statement at the time. “The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves,” he said.

A pipeline that became a referendum

In his remarks, Obama argued that the practical value of the pipeline had been wildly overstated — by both sides. Keystone XL, he said, would be neither “a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.”

But the economic arguments in favour of the pipeline could not overcome the profound symbolic value assigned to it by environmental groups and climate-focused voters.

On its own, Keystone wouldn’t spell the difference between a green future and a “climate disaster.” But the pipeline became a referendum on the U.S. government’s commitment to combating climate change — a tangible thing on which American activists could focus their energies.

Trump, who actively sought to undermine attempts to fight climate change, revived the project. But the political frame that was placed around Keystone XL in 2015 never went away, while legal challenges to the project continued.

By the fall of 2019, most of the major Democratic candidates for the presidency had pledged to rescind Trump’s order on their first day in office. Last May, Biden insisted that he would kill the pipeline.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walk down the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

After Biden’s victory in the presidential election, the Eurasia Group said that rescinding the permit was a “table stake” for the Democratic president and that backing away would risk “raising the ire of activists, their committed followers, and — importantly — the left wing of the Democratic party in Congress.”

“Rescinding KXL would be one area the Biden administration could act [on] and deliver a win to a key political constituency with no congressional interference,” the global consulting firm said.

Bill McKibben, one of the activists who led the campaign against Keystone, wrote in the New Yorker on Thursday that he was grateful for Biden’s decision and never doubted that the new president would follow through. “Even today,” he wrote, “Keystone is far too closely identified with climate carelessness for a Democratic president to be able to waver.”

So the second death of Keystone shouldn’t have surprised anyone. It might have seemed rude of Biden to not wait a day or two to allow Canadian officials to make a fuller presentation on the pipeline’s behalf, but that only would have delayed the inevitable.

The lingering costs of climate inaction

Perhaps Biden thought he was doing his neighbours a favour by ripping the Band-Aid off quickly.

What might have happened to Keystone XL had Canada and the United States taken more aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years leading up to Obama’s decision? It’s an intriguing hypothetical. Keystone may have paid the price ultimately for decades of global inaction on climate change.

In the here and now, any debate about Keystone will have to consider whether its additional capacity is even needed at this point. In the meantime, Premier Kenney wants Justin Trudeau’s government to impose trade sanctions on the United States if Biden refuses to revisit his decision.

Stephen Harper could be ungracious in his defence of Keystone — he famously said that approving it was a “no brainer” — but his government doesn’t seem to have ever publicly threatened to impose sanctions if Obama rejected it. Nor does it appear anyone called for sanctions when Obama officially killed the project shortly after the Trudeau government came to office.

Sanctions out of spite?

This idea of reprisals seems to have originated recently with Jack Mintz, a Canadian economist, who also conceded that imposing tariffs could be akin to “cutting off our own nose to spite our face.”

Notably, Erin O’Toole’s federal Conservatives have not joined the premier in calling for sanctions. Kenney — whose government is polling poorly and whose party is being out-fundraised by the opposition — is spoiling for a fight. He has seized on the fact that federal officials did not respond to Biden’s decision in particularly strong terms — and the Liberals may not have struck the right tone for those listening in the Prairies.

WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa ‘folded’ on Keystone XL

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the federal government ‘folded’ in response to U.S President Joe Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline. 2:14

But before launching a trade war against this country’s closest ally and its new leader, one should consider the potential results and opportunity costs.

Would a trade war convince President Biden to brave the wrath of his supporters and reverse a campaign promise? Or would a renewed fight over Keystone XL simply consume political and diplomatic capital that could be put toward other things?

Kenney has said sanctions might discourage the Biden administration from intervening against two other contested pipelines that originate in Alberta — Line 5 and Line 3. Writing in the New Yorker, McKibben did identify Line 3 as a target. But there’s also a decent chance that sanctions would only inflame existing tensions around those projects.

Threats and futility

In May, 2015 — nearly six years ago — former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson wrote that it was time for the Canada-U.S. relationship to move on from Keystone XL. Robertson argued that there were too many other important things to talk about. Six years later, that list of important things includes fostering collaboration on clean energy, fending off ‘Buy American’ policies and combating China’s aggression.

Still, Kenney warned that if the Trudeau government does not do more to defend Keystone, “that will only force us to go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation.”

But if the battle for Keystone was effectively lost more than five years ago, should the federal government’s willingness to keep fighting it have any bearing on Alberta’s relationship with the rest of the country?

The death of Keystone XL will have a real impact on those Albertans whose jobs depended on it. There are real anxieties and questions that need to be addressed, not least by the federal government.

But the question now is whether fighting over Keystone will do anything to address those concerns — or whether it’s time to put that political energy toward other purposes.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Newfoundland ex-pat makes waves pairing politicians with their cartoon doubles – The Guardian

Published

 on


An effort to shake off some homesickness led Adam DuBourdieu to mix pop culture and provincial politics — namely, taking politicians involved in this election and matching them with their visual counterparts on “The Simpsons.”

Originally from Kippens on the province’s west coast, DuBourdieu, 30, moved to Edmonton, Alta., just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

As with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he experienced homesickness in the months that followed the move.

A keen follower of local politics when living in the province, DuBourdieu set about combatting his traveller’s lament by having some fun with the upcoming provincial election.

Combining his love for “The Simpsons” and politics, he matched the politicians running in the election with the Simpsons character he saw as their cartoon counterparts.

“I always loved watching ‘The Simpsons,’” DuBourdieu. “I watched it with my dad.”

Some matchups were tough, while others were easy fits, such as the NDP’s Jim Dinn, a former schoolteacher, and his match with Principal Skinner.

“You can’t take yourself too seriously. Being a teacher, that’s par for the course,” Dinn said of that character match.

Dinn has seen the rather large social media thread containing the pictures.

He said that as a teacher, he learned long ago that you have to have a sense of humour, and it’s a lesson he’s taken with him to politics. Seeing the thread, he took it in good fun.

He said it could be worse. It could turn into a meme like a recent picture of United States Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Let’s have a laugh with it,” said Dinn. “It’s a good thing. It’s a bit of good fun.”


Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter
Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


The result was a 47-part thread on Twitter filled with pictures of the politicians and their characters side by side. It is a mixture of retiring MHAs, incumbents and party leaders of all political stripes.

“The Simpsons” and politics have a bit of history. Across its 32 seasons, the show has mixed humour and politics.

The show seemingly predicted the start of the United States presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the Lisa Simpson presidency that followed him.

Coincidentally, Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans is paired with the presidential Lisa.

The relationship, however, between “The Simpsons” and the political arena doesn’t stop at a coincidental presidential prediction.

The show has often tackled topics of the day, such as same-sex marriage and gun control, and it has often been accused of having a liberal bias. Springfield’s Mayor Quimby is a regularly appearing character, and DuBourdieu saw him as a perfect match for Conception Bay East-Bell Island incumbent David Brazil.


NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter
NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter

Homer Simpson — coupled with Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn — once fought former U.S. president George H.W. Bush after the two became neighbours. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also made cameo appearances on the show.

DuBourdieu tabbed Ford as the right match with Mount Pearl North MHA Jim Lester.

“Politics has always been in ‘The Simpsons,’ and Newfoundland politics has some characters,” said DuBourdieu.

Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons knew at once who voiced Bart Simpsons’ former babysitter, Laura Powers.

“That’s the one where Darlene from Roseanne voiced the character. Sara Gilbert,” she said.

Like other children of the ’80s and early ’90s, Parsons grew up in the early years of “The Simpsons.” She saw the show move from animated shorts on “The Tracy Ullman Show” to a pop culture phenomenon on Fox.

“Growing up as a child, I certainly watched ‘The Simpsons.’ I loved Bart Simpson. I think we all did,” said Parsons. “I even had the little toys that McDonald’s was putting out.”


Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter
Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


Parsons is one of 10 women featured in the long Twitter thread. Of the 10, nine are incumbent MHAs and their animated doppelgangers. The remaining one is Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.

She was paired with Springfield Elementary second-grade teacher Mrs. Hoover.

“I like that (Dubourdieu) was non-partisan,” said Parsons, who appreciated the comedic break it offered. “I got a good chuckle out of it.”

The response to the sizeable thread has been favourable online.

It was something that surprised DuBourdieu at first.

Since it went online, there have been dozens of interactions between politicians and the public. People have marvelled at how perfect some of the comparisons are, such as independent MHA Eddie Joyce being matched with oil tycoon Rich Texan.

“It is something people are familiar with,” DuBourdieu said about why he chose to use “The Simpsons” as a reference point.

Liberal candidate George Murphy tweeted that he thought of himself as the lovable barfly Barney Gumble instead of Police Chief Wiggum, the character he is attached to.

Other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis and the NDP’s Jenn Deon, have expressed interest in being connected to their Simpsons doubles.

Lake Melville NDP candidate Amy Hogan even went ahead and did her own. It was Jerri Mackleberry, the mother of notable twins Sherri and Terri.

“I think I’m probably the twins, Sherri and Terri’s mom, Jerri. It’s is the purple hair and the glasses,” Hogan tweeted.


Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter
Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


DuBourdieu pledged to do a third part of the thread if there is enough interest.

In the days since it was posted, a link to the thread made its way around the Progressive Conservative email chain.

“We got a good kick out of it,” said Conservative MHA Barry Petten. “You can’t help but laugh.”

The Conception Bay South representative readily admitted he wasn’t much of a Simpsons watcher and had little background on Superintendent Chalmers or why he was paired with him.

Still, Petten said he appreciated the work and the humour it brought to the election.

“It’s all good humour,” he said.

Looking back on the process and the result of his humourous entry into the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene, DuBourdieu has no regrets about piecing everything together.

Some comparisons were easy, while others required a bit more thought, he said, and he learned a little along the way, namely, how male-dominated this province’s legislature is.

As the province rolls toward the election on Feb. 13, DuBourdieu will watch from his home in Alberta.

In the meantime, he is glad he got to contribute to the run-up in some way.

“I’m glad I did it and I hope people get a good chuckle out of it,” said DuBourdieu.

Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.

RELATED:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Newfoundland ex-pat makes waves pairing politicians with their cartoon doubles – The Journal Pioneer

Published

 on


An effort to shake off some homesickness led Adam DuBourdieu to mix pop culture and provincial politics — namely, taking politicians involved in this election and matching them with their visual counterparts on “The Simpsons.”

Originally from Kippens on the province’s west coast, DuBourdieu, 30, moved to Edmonton, Alta., just before the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

As with many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, he experienced homesickness in the months that followed the move.

A keen follower of local politics when living in the province, DuBourdieu set about combatting his traveller’s lament by having some fun with the upcoming provincial election.

Combining his love for “The Simpsons” and politics, he matched the politicians running in the election with the Simpsons character he saw as their cartoon counterparts.

“I always loved watching ‘The Simpsons,’” DuBourdieu. “I watched it with my dad.”

Some matchups were tough, while others were easy fits, such as the NDP’s Jim Dinn, a former schoolteacher, and his match with Principal Skinner.

“You can’t take yourself too seriously. Being a teacher, that’s par for the course,” Dinn said of that character match.

Dinn has seen the rather large social media thread containing the pictures.

He said that as a teacher, he learned long ago that you have to have a sense of humour, and it’s a lesson he’s taken with him to politics. Seeing the thread, he took it in good fun.

He said it could be worse. It could turn into a meme like a recent picture of United States Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Let’s have a laugh with it,” said Dinn. “It’s a good thing. It’s a bit of good fun.”


Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter
Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Springfield nuclear plant owner Monty Burns were paired in DuBourdieu’s character breakdown. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


The result was a 47-part thread on Twitter filled with pictures of the politicians and their characters side by side. It is a mixture of retiring MHAs, incumbents and party leaders of all political stripes.

“The Simpsons” and politics have a bit of history. Across its 32 seasons, the show has mixed humour and politics.

The show seemingly predicted the start of the United States presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the Lisa Simpson presidency that followed him.

Coincidentally, Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans is paired with the presidential Lisa.

The relationship, however, between “The Simpsons” and the political arena doesn’t stop at a coincidental presidential prediction.

The show has often tackled topics of the day, such as same-sex marriage and gun control, and it has often been accused of having a liberal bias. Springfield’s Mayor Quimby is a regularly appearing character, and DuBourdieu saw him as a perfect match for Conception Bay East-Bell Island incumbent David Brazil.


NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter
NDP Leader Alison Coffin and Bette Midler were paired together during the exercise. Midler made a cameo on the show in Season 4. Photo courtesy Twitter

Homer Simpson — coupled with Topsail-Paradise MHA Paul Dinn — once fought former U.S. president George H.W. Bush after the two became neighbours. Former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford have also made cameo appearances on the show.

DuBourdieu tabbed Ford as the right match with Mount Pearl North MHA Jim Lester.

“Politics has always been in ‘The Simpsons,’ and Newfoundland politics has some characters,” said DuBourdieu.

Harbour Grace-Port de Grave MHA Pam Parsons knew at once who voiced Bart Simpsons’ former babysitter, Laura Powers.

“That’s the one where Darlene from Roseanne voiced the character. Sara Gilbert,” she said.

Like other children of the ’80s and early ’90s, Parsons grew up in the early years of “The Simpsons.” She saw the show move from animated shorts on “The Tracy Ullman Show” to a pop culture phenomenon on Fox.

“Growing up as a child, I certainly watched ‘The Simpsons.’ I loved Bart Simpson. I think we all did,” said Parsons. “I even had the little toys that McDonald’s was putting out.”


Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter
Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote found her Simpsons doppelganger in Mrs. Hoover. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


Parsons is one of 10 women featured in the long Twitter thread. Of the 10, nine are incumbent MHAs and their animated doppelgangers. The remaining one is Newfoundland and Labrador Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.

She was paired with Springfield Elementary second-grade teacher Mrs. Hoover.

“I like that (Dubourdieu) was non-partisan,” said Parsons, who appreciated the comedic break it offered. “I got a good chuckle out of it.”

The response to the sizeable thread has been favourable online.

It was something that surprised DuBourdieu at first.

Since it went online, there have been dozens of interactions between politicians and the public. People have marvelled at how perfect some of the comparisons are, such as independent MHA Eddie Joyce being matched with oil tycoon Rich Texan.

“It is something people are familiar with,” DuBourdieu said about why he chose to use “The Simpsons” as a reference point.

Liberal candidate George Murphy tweeted that he thought of himself as the lovable barfly Barney Gumble instead of Police Chief Wiggum, the character he is attached to.

Other candidates, such as Progressive Conservative candidate Kristina Ennis and the NDP’s Jenn Deon, have expressed interest in being connected to their Simpsons doubles.

Lake Melville NDP candidate Amy Hogan even went ahead and did her own. It was Jerri Mackleberry, the mother of notable twins Sherri and Terri.

“I think I’m probably the twins, Sherri and Terri’s mom, Jerri. It’s is the purple hair and the glasses,” Hogan tweeted.


Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter
Monorail salesman Lyle Lanley made the perfect visual double for Liberal Leader Andrew Furey. Photo courtesy Twitter

 


DuBourdieu pledged to do a third part of the thread if there is enough interest.

In the days since it was posted, a link to the thread made its way around the Progressive Conservative email chain.

“We got a good kick out of it,” said Conservative MHA Barry Petten. “You can’t help but laugh.”

The Conception Bay South representative readily admitted he wasn’t much of a Simpsons watcher and had little background on Superintendent Chalmers or why he was paired with him.

Still, Petten said he appreciated the work and the humour it brought to the election.

“It’s all good humour,” he said.

Looking back on the process and the result of his humourous entry into the Newfoundland and Labrador political scene, DuBourdieu has no regrets about piecing everything together.

Some comparisons were easy, while others required a bit more thought, he said, and he learned a little along the way, namely, how male-dominated this province’s legislature is.

As the province rolls toward the election on Feb. 13, DuBourdieu will watch from his home in Alberta.

In the meantime, he is glad he got to contribute to the run-up in some way.

“I’m glad I did it and I hope people get a good chuckle out of it,” said DuBourdieu.

Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.

RELATED:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending