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The Contemporary Clinic #2: Politics in the Clinic – Notes – E-Flux

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When I first began my clinical practice, I had all the financial support I could hope for; my parents helped me rent a nice office, with some cool-looking furniture to go along with it, in a very central location in Rio de Janeiro. But since I had no patients, the room was mostly used as a meeting space for the political collective I was part of, a communist organization that greatly influenced my interest in the economic dynamics within psychoanalytic institutions and, on account of that interest, my increasing disenchantment with the Lacanian School where I did my analytic training. I did not study psychology, medicine, or psychiatry in college, so the more I distanced myself from the psychoanalytic community, the more insecure I became about what legitimately authorized me to engage in clinical work. Of course, we all repeat the famous Lacanian adagio about “analysts authorizing themselves,” etc., but this slogan itself can help to increase the superegoic pressure: I came from a family of psychologists and psychoanalysts, I had the privilege of getting my own clinical space without having worked for it at all, I didn’t have any formal study dealing with mental health, plus I had barely finished my training at an institution I didn’t identify with anymore—so what the hell was I doing calling myself a psychoanalyst? Did I use my parents’ money to just buy a permit to psychoanalyze? It isn’t hard to anticipate that every potential patient who came to see me at the time was served a large plate of analytic platitudes coming from a young man who was more concerned with his desire to appear as a psychoanalyst than with anything that remotely qualified as a desire for analysis to take place. I met most of these people only once.

The reason I mention this rather ordinary initial misstep is because of how my political life actually influenced what happened next. At the time, I was involved with a number of urban occupations in downtown Rio; we used to meet with the squatters once or twice a week, to help out with legal and political issues. Once, while I was there, someone asked me what I did for a living. Embarrassingly, I said, “I am a psychologist.” I guess saying I was an analyst just sounded off, for all the reasons I already mentioned, so I went with the statement that I felt could most easily command some recognition. It didn’t matter, nobody cared: “Ah, so you’re a doctor,” the woman replied, before taking me aside and introducing me to her husband, who had just come back from a drunken bender and was having a hard time convincing his wife he didn’t cheat on her with a fellow squatter. I sat down and we started to chat—and for the first time I felt like I was ready to listen to someone on their own terms, indifferent to the demand to be seen as a real psychoanalyst.

But this is not a story about how politics can help our clinical work—at least not only that. Even though my political position certainly influenced my commitment to sit down and listen to what that man had to say about his own predicament, there was also something else at play, something more embarrassing. As I slowly realized in my own analysis, my political worldview and militancy had also helped to devalue that encounter, making it more bearable—very much like one of those deflating strategies that Freud discusses in “On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love.” I could risk acting as an analyst there because, in some sense, I believed the stakes were lower: Whatever I can offer is good enough for this person.

It’s worth mentioning all of this because it makes no sense to think about the politics of analysts and how our political commitments can inform our clinical listening without also thinking about all the new problems and challenges that come along with it. In fact, I have the impression that when an analyst’s politics effectively help inform how we listen to patients and intervene clinically, on the face of it the clinical work actually looks like business as usual. And this makes sense: the effect we are looking for is, after all, psychoanalytic, so the best that politics can do, within the clinical setting, is to help us further disengage both ourselves and the analysand from constraints that get in the way of a subject’s encounter with their own desire. Politics makes itself much more clearly felt in psychoanalysis when things go wrong.

The most immediate way this can happen is probably when, rather than helping us expand what might count as a significant part of a patient’s speech, the way we articulate our own political commitments ultimately restricts what certain signifiers might mean for others. In 2018, during the electoral campaign that led to Bolsonaro becoming president, a recurring theme with many patients was to recount “dinner scenes” where they confronted their parents’ reactionary political views while trying to get them to vote for the opposition Workers’ Party (PT) candidate, Fernando Haddad—a situation that usually ended up badly and led to intense sessions afterwards. For an analyst who just comfortably expects the world to burst through the couch, regardless of their own political position, this is an easy one: since we couldn’t care less about the political leanings of our patients, all that is left is to focus on the familiar dynamic where a subject questions the shortcomings of idealized authority only to better find a place within the Other’s lack. Sounds “structuralist” enough—that is, independent enough from determinations we don’t care about—and so, after listening to a dozen of these situations, our conservative analyst might end up writing yet another paper on “the new forms of subjective alienation in the family, in a time of the decline of the father function.”

But a more politically engaged analyst might also commit a similar mistake: since we admit that politics introduces a consequential difference into the picture—for example, depending on our particular leftist reading of the world, “Haddad” could signify “democracy,” therefore allowing more space for otherness, and “Bolsonaro” could signify “fascism” and less space for desire—we might simply disregard how those signifiers are mobilized by different patients, and we might end up treating all of them in same way. I had some analysands who really did subsume the whole national political turmoil into their miniature neurotic drama and who would conclude the tales of these vicious dinner debates by saying something like “… and that’s why I have the political duty to live with my parents, to keep them from having these reactionary ideas!” If I were to hasten to the conclusion that the political colors of the family feud pointed to the subject’s separation from the Other as a totalizing figure—since my patient had sided with the democratic emblems against a discourse of hate and exclusion—I might then intervene to say, “But conflict is sometimes the price we need to pay for taking political positions, etc. etc.,” and, in the guise of reinforcing the patient’s political independence, just reproduce the underlying alienating structure.

Other analysands, however, were going through something quite distinct at the time: for them, this sort of situation did not confirm their place in a certain symbolic dynamic, but rather dissolved the exceptional status of that confrontation in the broader hardships of political activism. They had been campaigning, desperately talking to people on the streets to try to get more votes for the Workers’ Party, and they learned, through this process, that people have all sorts of problems with the PT in Brazil today, issues that cross in complex ways with their personal histories. And, all of a sudden, their own parents appeared to them as part of that series, as people with past personal and political histories that they had never previously considered. Quite often, however, this connection would just loom in the background of their sessions, creating a sense of unease in the patients’ speech, and it would take an intervention to point out that there were similar traits between those dinner conversations and their militant activities elsewhere. But if I did not believe that politics exists—that is, that there is a singular power to social experiences of commonality that can lead a subject to paths and places foreign to their own identity—I would not have risked an intervention that would further dissolve the family drama into a broader political sphere, in the hope that new contradictions and associations might appear.

So there are both cases where the politics of analysts come in to lump together distinct subjective experiences, and others where it helps us further differentiate them. And there are also cases where it is the political distinction between the analyst and the analysand that is suddenly at stake. For example, situations where our political commitments seem to compel us to say something not because this intervention might open new associative paths for the patient but because we want to distance ourselves from them and their politics, because we can’t stand to be confused with it even for a second. It is not uncommon to hear analysts proudly talking about how they interrupted a racist, sexist, or reactionary monologue from their patients—sometimes prompting the end of the treatment altogether—without concerning themselves with whether this could produce any anti-racist, anti-sexist, or progressive effects on the actual bigot in the room.

A paradigmatic example of this happened, again, around the time of Bolsonaro’s election, when many psychoanalysts used to brag about the fact they did not have any “bolsonaristas” as their patients. Here, politics does not inform clinical listening; it rather compels us to distance ourselves from elements of the patient’s discourse for the sake of the consistency of our own political identities. The situation got to a point where, for a time, Lacanian Schools were issuing political statements condemning Bolsonaro and all he stood for, a move that certainly made clear that we preferred to avoid having to deal with these “toxic” patients. It goes without saying (or it should) that criticizing these institutional declarations does not imply saying that analysts should be apolitical or neutral—but what is the purpose of issuing these statements as analysts, rather than just signing other petitions and collective texts, like most people do? It seems to me that the point of these documents was rather to send a clear message about what sort of patient we want to listen to—just in case the price and the location of our clinical practices did not drive the point home already.

On the other hand, there are also situations where this restless indistinction between analyst and analysand, brought about by politics, can actually be quite productive. I know we all like to think that Lacanian psychoanalysis operates in a movement that goes from connection to disconnection: patients arrive and address us directly, asking for help with making some symptom go away; as transference is established, that “imaginary” rapport is broken and a new partnership emerges between the subject and the “symbolic” Other, a ghostly dialogue that reveals itself to be equally subject to the messiness of language as analysis goes on, to the point that the solitude of the subject’s encounter with “real” contingency can finally acquire a new dignity. That is all true, I suppose. But it is also true that all of this is also conditioned by the fact that the analyst is equally caught up in the same process. More important to me than the mythical question of “who analyzed Freud” is the fact that he too needed analysis—that is, that psychoanalysis, from the get-go, implies a common ground between analyst and analysand, as the unconscious cuts a diagonal across both, informing not only why we need to listen to patients, but also our awareness of the pitfalls of listening itself. This commonality is not a positive one, for sure, but it is crucial enough to imply an additional axiom to all our dealings with the “clinic of the real” or all the talk of “non-relations” in Lacanian psychoanalysis: be suspicious of every bit of the “real” that could only ever bother your patients but not yourself.

So when it comes to politics in the clinic, sometimes interesting interventions can emerge precisely by pointing to something that makes us politically indistinguishable from our patients—not because of the imaginary bond this creates (we saw already how that can go wrong), but because it can help to empty out some political fantasy while preserving the political form. Sometimes when faced with great tragedies—like the devastating flood that destroyed half of Petrópolis earlier this year—an analysand might evoke their political ideals and the need to “do something about it” as a reproach against themselves and others, motivated by their indignation and impotence before the state’s blunt disregard for the situation. It might be hard, in these cases, to dislodge the libidinal incorporation of the political sphere into an inhibiting neurotic dynamic without also putting into question these political commitments themselves, referring political impotence back to personal impasses and obscenely reducing it to the subject’s phantasmatic drama. Instead, by intervening so as to include ourselves amongst those who are limited by the political possibilities afforded by the current leftist ecosystem, we might be able to move from idealized to real politics, from personal inhibition to the space of collective actions that are effectively possible—but these only appear as possible outlets for our discontent if they stop being directly compared to the grand political gestures we privately imagine as solutions to our feelings of impotence.

Part of what allows us to punctuate a certain ambivalence in speech—for example, equivocating some word or sentence, submitting it to the indetermination inherent to language—is precisely the belief that no one is exempted from this uncomfortable slipperiness of signifiers. If this were not the case, these interpretations could never create breathing room for our patients—a tear in the fabric of discourse, inviting some creative re-stitching—as these interventions would rather confirm the power of the analyst and his capacity to anticipate where these punctuations would lead the subject. The ins and outs of actual political organizing can play the exact same function: submitting political fantasies to the uncomfortable constraints and ambivalences that political life entails preserves the quality of the subject’s discontent—rather than reducing their indignation about a social catastrophe or a political injustice to some private affair—while possibly creating some space for political invention precisely because the analyst, like everyone, is also traversed by the contradictions and shortcomings of actual political struggles.

In some cases, the political belief in this common dimension might appear as the conviction that we can take some patients’ political idealizations seriously and help them flesh out their ideas, exposing an isolated construct to the imposing constraints of following through and working together with others. Usually, when we uphold the conviction that our patients are capable of thinking politically, a distinction slowly emerges between those obstacles that are a product of the real existence of other people—of people we need to consider, convince, and work together with if we want do get anywhere politically—and those phantasmatic impasses that prevent us from ever engaging in any form of collective organization to begin with. It’s the challenges of free association between people coming to the aid of free association between words. And sometimes this same political conviction can lead to actual solidarity—like joining an analysand in raising funds to help victims of the flood in Petrópolis and therefore democratizing the anxiety over how small or inconsequential this action might turn out to be—because we trust that this common ground does not necessarily reinforce an imaginary connection, but sometimes throws a light on everyone’s submission to the hardships of political organization, including—above all—the hardships of economically maintaining our own clinics. It doesn’t always work—and it surely cannot work if we disregard the specificities of each clinical situation—but sometimes it can.

I have focused until now on how the politics of analysts adds new and interesting variables to the picture. One might say that these variables lead to an expanded theory of countertransference, with the caveat that, with the introduction of politics, our usual Lacanian reduction of the common to the imaginary needs to be dropped. I decided to focus on the analyst’s side of the equation first because I really believe it is the only way to avoid falling back into the conservative position which, when faced with new challenges in the clinic, cannot but conclude that it is the world that has gone off the rails, rather than suspect that it might be we who haven’t managed to keep up with it. However, this is not an argument meant to dispel the possibility that novel symptoms and impasses might emerge; it should rather help us clarify the conditions for the intelligibility of some of these novelties.

For example, it happens that political life produces its own subjective impasses, singularly tied to some particular political practice, its forms of material and symbolic organization. One of my patients was part of a collective that actively fought for transformations to our patriarchal social mores and for the legal recognition of more forms of amorous association than just monogamic heterosexual partnership. However, the dynamic of her personal relationships didn’t immediately line up with her values and strategic principles. Sometimes intense jealousy snuck in, along with a desire to control her partners’ lives; other times she felt a deep uneasiness with the way sexuality has latched onto images of power and violence. And things can get even more complicated when the way we collectively articulate our political mapping of the world does not leave much space for even naming these contradictory tendencies without putting other important distinctions at risk, a tension that often adds an anomic dimension to suffering.

But is there anything new here? I believe that, without conceptual and technical tools to help us navigate the imbrication of politics and the unconscious, it would be simply impossible to say. For instance, if an analyst simply lacked the political conviction that the scope of possible amorous relationships exceeds the confines of heteronormativity, they could simply portray this patient’s redoubled difficulty with her own outbursts of jealousy as proof that politics had become a refuge from castration for her and that sexual difference, as we know it, is bound to return with a “hysteric” vengeance. It would be the contemporary against the sexual, the critical times of leftist politics as denegation.

Rather than thinking of psychoanalysts as passive receptacles whose unbiased ears function like sensitive seismographs to the shakings and stirrings of the world at large, we could rather think of analysis as an encounter where we “meet the world halfway”—where changing times appear to analysts caught up in those same changes. But meeting the world halfway and allowing the political commitments we maintain as our own to enrich our clinical listening in no way entails that we should join the superegoic chorus that tormented this militant, further punishing her for not living up to her ideals. Instead, the political widening of what we consider to be possible could actually help us shed light on the novelty of the singular problem she faced: the challenge of how to construct new libidinal arrangements without ignoring the real forces that shape our personal histories and forms of satisfaction. This is an open, common, and real problem—she faced it, and so have I.

I remember many years ago a patient who had an intense militant life as a member of a leftist party in Rio—funnily enough, the same party I used to belong to. He was the first person in his family to go to college, where he got involved with the student movement and then with a Trotskyist tendency within a socialist political party. This increasing political engagement took a substantial financial toll on his life, as he lived far away from where party meetings took place and, being unemployed, he had to rely on his parents’ help to both continue his studies and get around town. He always mentioned the precarious conditions his parents had been subjected to all their lives as one of the main motivations for getting involved in politics—but felt guilty that the economic costs of this engagement either fell back on them or made him lose focus on getting his diploma, something his mother valued deeply. Within his party cell, these questions did not exist: he was seen as a model militant—what we call a tarefeiro, a “tasker”—and so, even if it would have been possible to elaborate his personal impasse more publicly, this would probably have stained his image amongst his peers, who served as an important source of recognition and support outside of the family.

One day, the minister of education came to Rio for a public appearance. This group of militants organized a demonstration in front of the building where the event was happening. At some point during the protest, things got heated, and chanting and banners did not seem to be making any impact, so the protesters started throwing things against the side of the building, to make their presence felt. My patient picked up something from the ground to join in the new tactic and, right when he was about to throw it at building, he remembered that he had recently sent a CV to that same address in the hope of getting a paid internship. Feeling a burst of deep anxiety, he just passed out, then and there.

But when this militant woke up, after fainting in the protest, he was faced with a decision that also confronts me and every other psychoanalyst interested in what’s new in our clinical practices: we can either return home, or we can invent new signifiers to share these contradictions with our comrades.

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Former MPs find new paths and purpose after politics – CBC News

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It’s been a year since Bernadette Jordan last walked through the doors of the House of Commons as an elected official.

She lost the seat she’d held since 2015 to Conservative candidate Rick Perkins in South Shore St-Margarets in 2021.

Jordan was minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard in the Trudeau government — a portfolio that had her navigating a thorny dispute over Indigenous treaty rights in the lobster fishing industry.

“What I tried to do was find a middle ground. I tried to get to a place where First Nations had the ability to exercise their moderate livelihood rights,” she said.

“Unfortunately, that middle ground didn’t make anybody happy and that was what ended my political career.”

So it didn’t come as a “huge shock,” she said, when she lost her seat. She subsequently accepted a position as national director of philanthropy with Shelter Movers in Nova Scotia, a not-for-profit organization that helps women move out of abusive situations.

Then-Fisheries and Oceans minister Bernadette Jordan in 2021. ‘I ran for politics, not because I ever wanted to be an MP or a minister, but because I wanted to help the people who lived in my community,’ she said. (CBC)

Losing is as much a part of politics as winning. Jordan said that, for her, politics was always a means to an end — which made leaving it behind a little easier to take.

“I ran for politics, not because I ever wanted to be an MP or a minister, but because I wanted to help the people who lived in my community,” she said. “That’s always been my guiding principle.”

Every election leaves a handful of MPs looking for something new to do with their lives.

Despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s drive for a majority government, the Liberal Party gained just three seats in the House of Commons (Kevin Vuong, though elected as a Liberal was ultimately forced to sit as an Independent. The Conservatives lost two seats, while the Bloc and the NDP each gained a seat).

Newly appointed Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay, left to right, Minister of Agriculture and Argi-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau and Minister for Women and Gender Equality and newly appointed Minister of International Development Maryam Monsef attend a swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Maryam Monsef was also in Trudeau’s cabinet, serving as minister for women and gender equality and rural development before the 2021 election ended her five-year term as MP for Peterborough-Kawartha.

Monsef’s district is considered a swing riding that sees pitched and unpredictable battles between Liberals and Conservatives. She lost her seat to Conservative candidate Michelle Ferreri by 3,000 votes.

“Losing sucks,” she said. “I’m a competitive person and I work really hard for my community and nobody likes to lose.”

Monsef was 29 years old when she started her local political career and 30 when she became an MP.

“I was in the deep end right away and there’s no manual on how to be an effective cabinet minister or an effective member of Parliament,” she said.

Monsef endured a backlash in August, 2021 after she referred to the Taliban as “brothers” during a press conference in a plea to ensure safe passage for thousands looking to flee Afghanistan.

‘So many times falling off the horse’

She later took the comment back, saying that it’s a term many Muslims use to refer to each other and insisting she still viewed the Taliban as a terrorist organization.

“There were so many setbacks, so many times falling off the horse and getting back up,” said Monsef.

A year later, Monsef is deep into what she calls her “passion project” — a consulting firm called Onward that aims to help women develop leadership skills.

“I’ve always believed that when women are doing well, their families are doing well, society is doing well and countries do better,” she said.

“I started this company so that we could be a source of support to achieve that vision for women and their families — thriving by supporting women leaders.

“If I can play a small part in their leadership journey, well, that’s a life well lived.”

Former Green MP Paul Manly with former Green Party leader Elizabeth May: ‘It’s not easy going from being a very public figure to suddenly being unemployed.’ (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Paul Manly was elected in a May 6, 2019 byelection, becoming the second Green Party MP elected in Canadian history.

His political career proved relatively brief. While he kept his seat in the 2019 general election, he was defeated by NDP candidate Lisa Marie Barron in the 2021 vote.

“It’s not easy going from being a very public figure to suddenly being unemployed,” he said. “So you know you have to figure out what you’re going to do.”

Today, he is the part-time executive director of the Unitarian Shelter, a 24-bed shelter for the chronically homeless.

He also went back to a project he started before launching his political career — a nonprofit community service cooperative called Growing Opportunities.

“I’ve always been someone that’s concerned about environmental issues and about social justice,” he said. “And so I’ve done that kind of work for decades and when I was in the House of Commons, those are the kinds of things I was advocating for.”

‘There’s a lot that can be done’

Now, Manly is taking another run at politics – this time for Nanaimo City Council.

“There’s a lot that can be done at different levels of government,” he said. “We’re in a climate emergency and we need to be taking action to address the urgency of the situation and to make sure that we have a just transition to a new economy.

“And that work needs to take place at every level of government.”

Conservative James Cumming was Edmonton Centre’s MP from 2019 to 2021. He lost his seat to Liberal candidate Randy Boissoneault by 615 votes.

When the dust settled, Cumming was tasked with reviewing the Conservative Party’s electoral results – a typical practice for most political parties following an election.

After the post-mortem was completed, he continued to work as a political insider by helping out in the United Conservative Party’s leadership race in Alberta.

Former Conservative MP James Cumming: ‘If the right opportunity comes along, we’ll consider it.’ (Submitted by James Cumming)

“I’m still involved with conservatism,” he said, adding he still keeps a close eye on federal politics.

“Now that the party has picked its leader, I still remain committed to the movement and will help wherever I can.

“That may be in public life or that may be behind the scenes or a combination of both. But if the right opportunity comes along, we’ll consider it.”

Last year was also a difficult year personally for Cumming and his family. He lost his son Garrett to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He and his wife continue to be involved in charitable organizations that raise awareness of the disease and money for research.

“They did a golf tournament this year in Garrett’s name that the local firefighters put on and we’re contemplating some other activities with that,” he said.

“It’s something we’ve been pretty active with for the past 15 or 20 years.”

The NDP didn’t see significant changes to its caucus in 2021. The party hoped to boost its presence in the House of Commons but finished the election with just one extra seat.

Former New Democrat MP Scott Duvall: ‘Sometimes you think it’s in your DNA to continue on.’ (Submitted by Scott Duvall)

Scott Duvall was the New Democrat MP for Hamilton Mountain from 2015 to 2021. Unlike a lot of MPs who drop out of federal politics, he chose the timing of his exit by announcing in March 2021 that he would not be running again.

“After six years in politics, I was really starting to feel that because of my age, that I wanted to retire,” he said.

But Duvall couldn’t stay away from politics for very long.

‘I’m still useful’

“I was kind of disappointed that when I came back home to see my city in a dysfunctional way, the way the city was going with the crumbling roads and sidewalks,” he said.

Duvall is now running as a candidate for Hamilton’s city council. Ontario’s municipal elections will be held on Oct. 24.

“People were encouraging me to run, so I did. And that was the reason why I came back,” he said.

“Sometimes you think it’s in your DNA to continue on. I just thought, ‘I’m still useful.'”

Duvall said he feels he can make a bigger impact on his city by running municipally.

“In Ottawa, I found it very difficult and frustrating that things go as slow as molasses. It just takes time and it takes patience,” he said.

Duvall said that while he doesn’t have ambitions to run federally again, he wants to support people who hope to start a career in politics.

“It’s time to help somebody else out and bring them up,” he said.

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At 18, I only recently realized the importance of community engagement and politics – CBC.ca

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This column is an opinion by Shayyan Husein, a Grade 12 student at Orchard Park Secondary School in Stoney Creek, Ont. It is part of a special municipal election project by CBC Hamilton, featuring voices from the community. Find all our election coverage here

I turned 18 in April. I thought I cared about politics and being active in my community. I had been living in Hamilton for around a year by then and already felt devoted to helping out my community in any way I could.

For example, I worked for Elections Ontario, helping at a local polling station. I assisted residents of Hamilton to vote without any complications and running the voting location smoothly was our main goal.

This past spring I also helped start Orchard Park Secondary School’s first Muslim Student Association. I scheduled school events such as where we sold Kulfis (ice cream treats) to students and made sure we always had an available room to hold our Friday prayers. It was all part of building a safe and inspiring community for Muslim students. 

Yet, despite my activism, on June 2, I didn’t vote in the provincial election — the first time I would have been eligible to do so. 

Why? It felt like I didn’t have the time. I felt it was not THAT important. As I happened to be working at a different polling station than what was assigned for me to vote at, I felt like I did not have the time to commute to my assigned location and vote. More importantly, I felt like missing my vote once would not matter much, so I allowed myself to miss it.

Just a few months later, I feel differently. This time, in the municipal election, I will vote. 

Why community engagement — and voting — is important

Building our Muslim Student Association from the ground up made me realize the true impact of feedback from the community and how much community voices can influence those in charge.

I’ve learned through my work organizing the association’s first Eid event, which saw 60 students come together at Waterdown District High School, that you can make a change by simply dropping a suggestion or by voicing your concern. 

An Eid al-Fitr event in May saw around 60 students attend, playing games, sports and sharing food. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

As our Eid event consisted only of Muslims, many asked if they could invite their non-Muslim friends, which raised a great suggestion that could be implemented. In the future, we can bring other students from different religions to experience how we, as Muslims, celebrate our holy event. Not only will they learn more about what we do, but they can also enjoy what there is to offer, such as cultural food, different games and the atmosphere of our community.

Many students also wanted the event to be held at Orchard Park, as many students who attended the event were from here. This way, transportation would not be a blockage for the majority of those who came and for those who wished to attend.

If it were not for community engagement and feedback, we would not have thought of these ideas to implement and make our future events better for the community that enjoys them.

Realizing how important this engagement and feedback was also made me realize that my feedback to my own community is important.

That is why I am voting in this election. 

What matters to me

The issue that matters to me the most in this election is the young voices of Hamilton not being heard. I realize some of my peers don’t feel the same way, even though I think their voices matter, too.

During a recent school day in Orchard Park, as my friends wandered through the halls rushing for lunch, I went out to discuss with five of my peers who are or will be eligible to vote in the upcoming years about their views on voting and elections.

Four of them expressed their disinterest in politics and said they are opting to “vote for who their parents or relatives are voting for” in the future. The other friend was still unsure of whether to vote or not.

By not caring about our community and who will end up running it, we are not allowing ourselves to fully distinguish between different political candidates, what they bring to the table and what they plan to bring for the future.

Encouraging my fellow classmates and friends that are eligible to vote is an action that I have slowly started to do, as there is no harm in voting. Allowing the youth to have a voice within our community is powerful, and it is what I stand for when I look to vote in the upcoming municipal election.

This year’s municipal election is Oct. 24. (Colin Cote-Paulette)

I encourage all voters, new or experienced, to use voting as a tool to empower our voices for what we think is most important to us for our city. Hard-working candidates are relying on our feedback for the betterment of our community, so our duty as part of the community is to give our honest feedback. That way, they can continue doing what they strive for — and our priorities will be heard.

Our feedback can come in different ways, such as emails, word of mouth, messages on social media or even with a simple vote. I want to use my vote as a way to allow my voice to help create action within the community.

Not only will I vote for my own voice, but for the empowerment of other young voters as well. After all, how do we plan for our city to change for the next generation if we — the young voters — are not giving our honest feedback?

For more of CBC Hamilton’s municipal election coverage:

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COMMENTARY: The ‘freedom convoy’ will keep driving our politics – Global News

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The so-called “freedom convoy” that blocked Parliament Hill and several Canada-U.S. border crossings may have dispersed earlier this year, but it won’t be leaving our political conversation anytime soon. At least, not if opponents of the federal Conservative Party and their new leader, Pierre Poilievre, have anything to say about it.

The most recent polling Ipsos conducted for Global News shows why.

The party most interested in reminding Canadians about ties between the convoy and Pierre Poilievre will be the Liberal Party. Why? The Liberals are in a very difficult spot. They currently trail the Conservatives in the national popular vote by five points. The Conservatives also lead the Liberals in all regions of the country west of Quebec, with a stunning seven-point lead in seat-rich Ontario. With these numbers, if an election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives would easily win a plurality of seats.

It gets worse for the Liberals.

Justin Trudeau trails Pierre Poilievre as preferred prime minister by about the same amount as the Liberal Party trails the Conservative Party on vote. Most worrying for the prime minister is how high his negatives are. Canadians who strongly disapprove of Trudeau outnumber those who strongly approve of him by a ratio of four-to-one. These negatives are also well ahead of those of Poilievre, who remains largely unknown to a significant number of Canadians.

Trudeau’s relationship with Canadians has gone through the full cycle of Ds: darling, to disappointment, to dislike. This situation will be difficult to reverse, even for a gifted politician like Trudeau.

Read more:

Poilievre overtakes Trudeau as leader seen as best choice for prime minister: poll

Further on leadership, two data points jump out of the polling on how Canadians view Trudeau and Poilievre. Trudeau leads Poilievre by 16 points on which federal leader is most likely to “be in over his head.” This is astounding given that Trudeau has been prime minister for seven years and Canadians barely know Poilievre.

As worrying for the Liberals is that Poilievre and Trudeau are separated by only two points on which leader is most likely to have a hidden agenda. In the past, this issue has proven to be an Achilles Heel for the Conservatives. Not so much for the new Conservative leader.

If the Liberals can’t count on their governing record or the strength of their leader to provide them with an advantage going into the next election, then what about their strengths on policy? Unfortunately, there isn’t much for them to work with here either.

We asked Canadians about which issues they are most focused on for the next election. The top five that came back are: health care, the economy, housing, inflation/interest rates, and taxes. Unfortunately for the Liberals, the Conservatives lead on all these issues with the exception of health care, where there is a three-way tie. Even on the sixth issue, climate, a signature issue for the Liberals, the Liberals are tied with the NDP. In other words, the policy door is closed for the Liberals too.

If the Liberals can’t count on their record, their leader, or a specific policy issue to defeat the Conservatives in the next election then how will they win a fourth mandate? This is where the convoy comes back in. The poll shows Poilievre’s support of the protesters is a potential vulnerability available for the Liberals to exploit. The Liberals are too good at running effective, disciplined, and ruthless election campaigns to miss it.


Click to play video: 'Conservatives hold 5-point lead on Liberals among Canada’s decided voters after Poilievre elected leader: poll'



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Conservatives hold 5-point lead on Liberals among Canada’s decided voters after Poilievre elected leader: poll


Conservatives hold 5-point lead on Liberals among Canada’s decided voters after Poilievre elected leader: poll

Ipsos asked Canadians the following question: “As you know, Pierre Poilievre, the new leader of the Conservative Party, expressed his support for the freedom convoy protests that occurred in Ottawa and at border crossings last year. Are you more or less likely to vote for the Conservative Party because of his stance on this issue?”

Seventeen per cent of Canadians told us they would be more likely to vote for the Conservatives because of Poilievre’s support for the truckers. Conversely, 41 per cent said they would be less likely to vote for the Conservatives due to Poilievre’s position. Most importantly though, 41 per cent said Poilievre’s stance on the truckers would have no impact on their future vote.

If the numbers on the convoy continue as they are, then this issue won’t have much influence on the outcome of the next election. That’s because 58 per cent of Canadians either support Poilievre’s position or say it won’t factor into their vote.

The Liberals will not allow this much fence sitting to continue without challenge. They will push voters to pick a side. If the fence sitters split in the same ratio (roughly 2:1 to unfavourable) as those who have already made up their minds, then the Liberals will have something to work with. That’s why they will go all in on making the truck convoy and various adjacent issues the focus of their campaign. Otherwise, they can only wait for Poilievre to make a serious error or for some crisis to change their prospects. Nearly a decade in power has left the Liberals little else to work with.

Darrell Bricker is CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

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