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The Defeat of Identity Politics – The New Yorker

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The Defeat of Identity Politics

In a new book, the philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò condemns the “elite capture” of radical movements.

September 21, 2022

Illustration by Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker

Days into the national insurrection that boiled over after the police lynching of George Floyd, in May, 2020, Muriel Bowser, a Black woman and the mayor of Washington, D.C., ordered that the words “Black Lives Matter” be painted in mustard yellow along Sixteenth Street, near the White House. The symbolism radiated from multiple directions. Almost a week earlier, law-enforcement agents had used tear gas to clear Lafayette Park, which intersects the street, of protesters. The mural was a thumb in the eye of Trump, who certainly took it as such. He thundered, in response, that Bowser was “incompetent” and “constantly coming back to us for ‘handouts.’ ”

In the fall of 2021, Bowser announced that the segment of Sixteenth Street displaying the mural—renamed as Black Lives Matter Plaza—had been turned into a permanent monument. She explained, “The Black Lives Matter mural is a representation of an expression of our saying no, but also identifying and claiming a part of our city that had been taken over by federal forces.” Speaking of its wider significance, she said, “There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen, and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city.”

Last spring, nearly two years after her confrontation with Trump, Bowser proposed a new spending budget for Washington, D.C., that spoke as loudly as the paint used to decorate B.L.M. Plaza. In a press conference celebrating a surplus created in part by the federal government’s pandemic stimulus, Bowser announced, “We’ve been able to invest in something we’ve been wanting to invest in a long time—the sports complex. We’ve been able to invest in a new jail.” Bowser was promising to spend more than two hundred and fifty million dollars to eventually replace part of the existing jail. She was also proposing thirty million dollars to hire and retain new police officers, with the goal of bringing the force to a total of four thousand members; another nearly ten million dollars would add one hundred and seventy new speed cameras across the municipality.

Despite Bowser’s very public embrace of the slogan “Black Lives Matter,” even enshrining its existence in the nation’s capital, the D.C. Mayor was now advancing a political agenda that stood in stark contrast to the movement’s demand to defund the police. Instead, Bowser had denuded the most radical imaginings of the movement into the decidedly vague “craving to be heard,” while also wielding it as a shield to protect her from activists’ accusations that her policies would harm Black communities. Bowser was able to benefit from the assumption that, as a Black woman who had angered and been insulted by Trump after painting “Black Lives Matter” on a public street, she could be trusted to do what was in the best interest of the Black community.

The most profound changes in Black life in the past several decades have been along the lines of class and status, creating political and social chasms between élites and ordinary Black people. After the struggles of the nineteen-sixties and seventies, it was no longer politically tenable in the U.S. to make decisions about minorities without their participation. This was especially true in cities that had experienced riots and rebellions. But exclusion gave way to shallow representation of African Americans in politics and the private sector as evidence of color blindness and progress. The rooms where decisions were being made were no longer entirely white and male; they were now punctuated with token representations of race and gender.

Not only could the few stand in to represent the many but their existence could also serve as evidence that the system could work for those who had formerly been excluded. And these new representatives could also use the language of identity politics, because many of them continued to experience racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. But their aspirations were different from those who first used these left-wing political frameworks. The new representatives were not interested in transforming the system so much as they were trying to navigate it.

These tensions are strained when Black élites or political operatives claim to speak on behalf of the Black public or Black social movements while also engaging in political actions that either are in opposition to the movement or reinforce the status quo. It is a process described by the writer and philosopher Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò as “elite capture.” The concept, derived from the politics of global development, describes scenarios in which local élites in developing countries would seize resources intended for the much larger public. Táíwò explains that the term is used “to describe the way socially advantaged people tend to gain control over benefits meant for everyone” (if only rhetorically).

Táíwò, a professor of philosophy at Georgetown, published his first book earlier this year. Titled “Reconsidering Reparations,” it argues that, if colonialism and slavery were responsible for the maldistribution of wealth and resources that has made Black and brown people particularly vulnerable to today’s climate crisis, then the repair should be just as expansive or capable of remaking the world. In 2020, Táíwò wrote several essays critiquing the variety of ways that the concept of “identity politics” has been transformed from a radical invention of the Black feminist left of the sixties and seventies into a placid appeal to racial and gender representation. The themes of these essays have now been spun into a tight, short volume published by Haymarket Books, titled “Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (and Everything Else).”

Táíwò begins his examination of identity politics with the Combahee River Collective, a group of Black lesbian socialists that formed in the late nineteen-seventies. Among them were Demita Frazier and the twin sisters Barbara and Beverly Smith, who wrote the Combahee River Statement, in which they coined the term “identity politics.” The women were veterans of the antiwar and feminist movements but also connected to the civil-rights movement and Black-liberation struggles of the era. In their wide range of experiences, the issues of importance to them—namely organizing against forced sterilizations and intimate-partner violence against women—were rarely taken seriously by others, including Black men and white women.

In the Combahee River Statement, the authors explained that Black women had to map out their own political agenda: “We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us.” They continued, “This focusing upon our own oppression is embodied in the concept of identity politics. We believe that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else’s oppression. . . . We reject pedestals, queenhood, and walking ten paces behind. To be recognized as human, levelly human, is enough.”

In this way, standpoint epistemology, or the ability to acquire knowledge because of your lived experience or social standing, is closely linked to the Combahee’s vision of identity politics. It was a powerful rejection of the status quo in the social sciences, which for many years had relied upon powerful outsiders, typically white men, to extoll their own wisdom about the lives of the marginalized, excluded, and oppressed. The powerful social movements of the era swept aside the common sense of white-male authority, transforming the marginalized from examined objects into subjects capable of controlling their own destiny.

Táíwò describes a subsequent shift in which these frameworks have become unmoored from their outsider status to be used by rich and powerful people, including people of color, to maintain the status quo. He adds that “recent trends in identity politics seem to be supercharging, rather than restraining, élite capture.” He cites examples of Black élites using radical slogans or other kinds of social-movement invocations to further the status quo while appearing to be aligned with the movement and Black public opinion. There are also more complex examples of activists using undemocratic forms of organizing that prioritize the insights and acumen of paid staff and organizers over the working-class public. In some dramatic examples, ostensibly grassroots organizations have transformed themselves into foundations to dispense money and advice to grassroots organizers, as was the case with the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. Táíwò speaks directly to the dynamic that can emerge in these situations: “In the absence of the right kinds of checks or constraints, the subgroup of people with power over and access to the resources used to describe, define, and create political realities . . . will capture the group’s values, forcing people to coordinate on a narrower social project that disproportionately represents elite interests.” This was Audre Lorde’s pointed insight when she remarked that the “master’s tools” cannot dismantle the master’s house; the oppressed cannot use the same methods as the oppressor and still hope for a just outcome.

Though élite capture is a general phenomenon, there is something particularly jarring about its effects on Black politics, especially in the United States. Given the history of racial subjugation of Black people and the prevalence of state-sponsored white supremacy well into the twentieth century, a collective experience attributed to, by Táíwò and others, “racial capitalism,” Americans tend to see racial categories as stable, if not static. This is also true among African Americans, even though within Black communities there is much more awareness of the tensions of social class that pull at the threads assumed in the universalizing trait of blackness. And, because racism remains powerful across categories of class, there is an assumption that a single Black community is united around an ongoing struggle for Black freedom.

Consider the experiences of LaToya Cantrell, the first Black woman to be the mayor of New Orleans. During the protests of 2020, Cantrell was a target of labor activists, who were angry about the lack of sick leave and other provisions for workers in the tourism industry, and who rallied outside her home, where she was working during the height of the pandemic. In an open letter, Cantrell invoked her identity to rebuke the protesters. She wrote:

This moment must redress those who have been marginalized by our
tourism economy, by failed policies, and by an economic collapse that
has hit the least of us the hardest. It cannot be about misdirected
anger. It cannot be about empty gestures. And it cannot be about
storming angrily into a residential neighborhood leaving my daughter
feeling terrorized, a 12 year-old black girl, whose mother rose from
the epicenter of the crack cocaine epidemic, whose family did not come
from a place of privilege. . . . My father was a victim
of the crack epidemic. My stepfather was another casualty of the same
scourge—which ran unchecked by those in power, while it decimated the
black community. My brother was system-involved and turned his life
around. My stepbrother was system-involved and taken from us by
violence at 18. This is not a story about privilege and power. I can
stand up and say Black Lives Matter because I’ve personally had to
fight to make that true every day of my life.

Cantrell’s personal story is a moving one but also one that was dispatched to deflect legitimate protest: she is the mayor; she holds a position of power and authority in local government. This tactic is powerful not because the people it’s directed at don’t understand that élites can be manipulative and evoke personal stories to conjure empathy, but because the persistence of racism makes the stories resonate personally. And, when public officials are subjected to racist attacks, as they often are—just think about the Obamas—then the feelings of familiarity and solidarity are intensified in ways that resemble what political scientist Michael Dawson has described as “linked fate” or the idea that the social, economic, and political fortunes of African Americans are tied together because of shared identity and history.

These appeals to identity politics are much more impactful than the promises of corporate executives to spend money to make Black lives matter. Nevertheless, as Táíwò writes, “treating such elites’ interests as necessarily or even presumptively aligned with the broader group’s interests involves a political naivete we cannot afford.” This confusion then “functions as a form of racial Reaganomics: a strategy reliant on fantasies about the exchange rate between the attention economy and the material economy.” Táíwò adds that we need to “fix the social structure itself—the rooms we interact in, and the house they make up. Deference, as a strategy, bears at best a tenuous relationship to this goal.”

These politics are not only present in big-city encounters between elected officials but also within political movements and coalitions. Táíwò describes this as the tendency to “pass the mic” to supposedly the “most impacted” in a given room or meeting. As he explains, “At face value, a commitment to these ideas should help us resist and contain elite capture. They should provide a basis for respecting knowledge that the institutions of the world otherwise want to discredit.” But, for Táíwò, the focus on deference or passing the mike can be counterproductive, in that it “locates attentional injustice in the selection of spokespeople and book lists taken to represent the marginalized.” He’s not suggesting we return to political meetings dominated by conversations between white men. As he clarifies, “We all deserve these attentional goods, which are often denied, even to the ‘elites’ of marginalized and stigmatized groups.” But he uses his own experiences as an example of the problem in the approach. More than a few times, Táíwò has had the mike passed to him because he is Black and a first-generation Nigerian American in the United States, though to center him as more authentically aware of social injustice ignores Táíwò’s class privilege, as an American kid who went to good schools, with Advanced Placement and honors classes, compared with the fate of tens of millions of Nigerians and many others who grew up in the U.S. He concedes that it may be better to hear from him than to hear from a white person of a similar class background, but he nevertheless maintains that “these are the last facts we should want to hold fixed. And if our aim is simply to do better than the epistemic norms that we’ve inherited from a history of explicit global apartheid, that is an awfully low bar to set.”

To that end, Táíwò is interested in constructive, as opposed to deference, politics. “A constructive political culture would focus on outcome over process,” he writes—“the pursuit of specific goals or end results rather than avoiding complicity in injustice or promoting purely moral or aesthetic principles.” Táíwò does not get into the details of how activist groups might go about building campaigns, but he does see the politics of deference within these groups as undermining their potential. As he writes, “To opt for deference, rather than interdependence, may soothe short-term psychological wounds. But it does so at a steep cost: it may undermine the goals that motivated the project—and it entrenches a politics that does not serve those fighting for freedom over privilege, for collective liberation over mere parochial advantage.” He says, of traumatic experience, “It is not what gives me a special right to speak, to evaluate, or to decide for a group. It is a concrete, experiential manifestation of the vulnerability that connects me to most of the people on this earth. It comes between me and other people not as a wall, but as a bridge.”

With this definition of trauma, Táíwò invokes the feminist classic “This Bridge Called My Back,” and the political debates over social change in which the concept of identity politics emerged. In an interview, Barbara Smith, of the Combahee River Collective, once talked about the importance of the idea of a bridge as a way to overcome difference, saying that the notion of, “ ‘If I don’t have a particular identity, I’m not allowed to work on a particular issue’—that sounds to me like an excuse. That sounds to me like O.K., so that’s what somebody decides if they’re not really willing to go there, and go through the struggle of crossing boundaries and working across differences.”

What Táíwò and the Combahee River Collective, of which Audre Lorde was also a member, were arguing is not to paper over our differences for the sake of building inclusive movements. Rather, they demonstrate that identity politics is an important entry point into a world deeply defined by racism and gender inequality and hatred, but it alone is not enough. We must find the ties that bind us together, to see how our oppressions are linked, to build bridges to each other’s struggles and find ways to unite. This is the opposite of élite capture; it is a remaking of the world. As Táíwò, echoing Marx, reminds us, the point, after all, is to change it. ♦

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Quebec election: Minister could remain in cabinet despite comments about immigrants

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MONTREAL — Despite his widely denounced comments about immigrants, Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet could keep a seat in cabinet if the Coalition Avenir Québec is re-elected Monday, leader François Legault said Thursday.

Boulet, who is also the province’s labour minister, said last week at a candidates debate that most immigrants to Quebec “don’t work, don’t speak French or don’t adhere to the values of Quebec society.”

While Legault has said that Boulet’s comments disqualify him from remaining immigration minister after the provincial election, he wouldn’t rule out moving Boulet to a different portfolio.

“I spoke to Mr. Boulet yesterday and he’s so sad about what he said,” Legault told reporters in Rouyn-Noranda, Que. “Like I said, he won’t be able to be minister of immigration, but still, the guy is a bright guy and he did a good job for the last four years.”

While Legault described Boulet’s comments as unacceptable, he said Boulet knows what he said isn’t true.

“All the people who know Jean Boulet know that it’s not him, what he said,” Legault said.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said Thursday that Boulet should be immediately removed as a cabinet minister, but she didn’t go as far as Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime, who called for Boulet to withdraw his candidacy altogether.

Anglade said Boulet’s comments are a reflection of the tone set by Legault — who has made controversial comments of his own about immigrants.

“He’s the one creating this environment, he’s the one saying that immigration should be compared to violence, he used the word ‘suicidal’ when he talked about an increase in immigration,” Anglade told reporters in the Montreal suburb of Brossard.

On Wednesday, the CAQ leader said it would be “suicidal” for the Quebec nation to accept more than 50,000 immigrants per year, and previously he has apologized for comments that were seen as linking immigration with violence.

During a campaign stop in St-Marc-des-Carrières, near Quebec City, Duhaime said he doesn’t understand how Legault can describe Boulet as being disqualified while allowing him to continue running in the riding of Trois-Rivières.

“When someone is disqualified, they don’t get to keep running in the race …. Is he trying to say that (Boulet’s) comments are unacceptable for a minister but are acceptable for a CAQ candidate or the member for Trois-Rivières?” he said.

Asked about the comments, federal Justice Minister David Lametti, who represents a Montreal riding, said he is the son of immigrants who came to Canada in search of a better life, worked hard and made sacrifices. “That’s the case of my parents and it’s the case for a large portion of immigrants,” he told reporters in Ottawa.

Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet told reporters in Ottawa he was shocked by Boulet’s comments.

While he has concerns about integrating immigrants into Quebec society — and the large proportion of immigrants who settle in the Montreal region — he said “stigmatization by a clumsy and inaccurate number is a serious error by the minister.”

Meanwhile, the Parti Québécois has raised more money since the beginning of Quebec’s election campaign than any other party.

Élections Québec said the sovereigntist party raised $354,175 from 3,852 donors between the start of the campaign on Aug. 28 and Sept. 21.

Polls in late August put the PQ in fifth place, with support below 10 per cent.

But the PQ is now polling in the mid-teens and is in a statistical tie with the three other main opposition parties — all far behind the incumbent Coalition Avenir Québec.

Québec solidaire was in second place in fundraising since the beginning of the campaign, having raised $180,305, while the CAQ is in third with $170,548 in donations.

The CAQ has collected the most money since the beginning of 2022, however, having raised almost $1.15 million, almost $200,000 more than the PQ.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

— With files from Michel Saba in Ottawa

 

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

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Electoral reform can save Canada from Pierre Poilievre's politics – Canada's National Observer

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If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. When it comes to electoral reform, that ought to be the attitude of both Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Jagmeet Singh’s NDP. After failing to reach an agreement on the best way to replace Canada’s first-past-the-post system, both sides have since moved on to other priorities. But with Pierre Poilievre’s rise and the ongoing spread of Trumpist politics in Canada, they ought to revisit the issue — and soon.

Replacing Canada’s first-past-the-post system and the artificial majorities it often creates with a more proportional one would pour political cement on the Liberal government’s signature policies, from its carbon tax and climate plan to the child-care agreements it has struck with the provinces. It would protect the new dental care and pharmacare deals that are currently being fleshed out, both popular with most Canadians. And it would prevent Poilievre or other populist leaders from further undermining key Canadian institutions like the Bank of Canada and the CBC.

Why? Because only a government that served the will and interests of a majority of Canadians could reliably command the confidence of Parliament under a more proportional system. That would probably mean the end of majority governments in Canada, but that’s only a bad thing for the partisan staffers and elected officials who work in them. When it comes to better serving voters’ needs, a proportional system and the sometimes messy coalitions they tend to produce seem like a far better option.

A proportional system would also address the divisiveness and polarization that’s out there right now. Conservatives like to blame the prime minister and his approach to anti-vaccine holdouts for the current political strife, while progressives fault conservatives and the alt-right information ecosystem they’ve built. Either way, it’s clearly a problem standing in the way of level-headed policy and public leadership. While parties once worked across the partisan aisle, the battle lines are now clearly drawn and heavily fortified.

Embracing a more proportional electoral system would fix that. It would foster collaboration and force parties to talk more, fight less and find common ground. It would also encourage more diversity in local representation, whether that’s Liberals and New Democrats getting elected on the Prairies or Conservatives winning seats in Toronto and Montreal.

Electoral reform didn’t happen back in 2016 because the governing Liberals and Opposition New Democrats had different preferred electoral systems in mind and couldn’t bridge that gap. But the imperatives for electoral reform are far stronger today than they were then, and there’s a system out there that can help both sides meet in the middle: single transferable vote, or STV.

This system was proposed by British Columbia’s Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in October 2004 and earned the support of 57.7 per cent of voters in a 2005 referendum (the threshold for victory was set at 60 per cent). Its greatest weakness (other than its name sounding perilously close to STD) is its complexity, which delighted political science professors and pundits but frustrated and confused the general public. Under an STV system, multiple representatives are elected in expanded constituencies, with voters asked to rank them as they see fit.

As the final report from the Citizens’ Assembly noted, “because each district is likely to elect members from different parties in proportion to the votes cast, voters may well be able to go to an MLA who shares their political views. This will help provide more effective local representation.”

Better still, the very nature of the system forces candidates to be more collegial and less combative. “Recognizing that they may not be ‘first preference’ on enough ballots to win a seat, candidates will need to encourage supporters of other candidates to mark them as their second or third preference,” the Citizens’ Assembly’s report said. “This need to appeal to a greater number of voters should lower the adversarial tone of election contests: voters are unlikely to respond positively to someone who aggressively insults their first choice.”

By combining the best aspects of a proportional system (the NDP’s stated preference) with a ranked ballot (the preferred option for Liberals), STV should serve as an acceptable compromise for both sides. Yes, Conservatives would surely howl about the unfairness of it all, but given they already use a ranked ballot for their own leadership race, that would be a tough political sale for them to make. They might also benefit from the change, given they won the popular vote in the last two elections but finished well behind in seats due to the efficiency of the Liberal vote. And when they’ve been loudly complaining about polarization and divisiveness, how could they reasonably object to an electoral system that reduces both?

With the rise of Pierre Poilievre and ongoing spread of Trumpist politics in Canada, Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh ought to revisit proportional representation, writes columnist @maxfawcett. #cdnpoli #ElectoralReform

It’s not like they’re above tilting the political table in their own direction, either. Doug Ford’s government invoked the notwithstanding clause to override a court decision that struck down parts of his government’s bill limiting third-party election advertising, while Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party in Alberta passed legislation last December that seemed designed to help him survive his leadership challenge and smooth the road to re-election in 2023.

The supply-and-confidence agreement between the Liberals and NDP has already produced some modest victories, including the recently announced dental care plan. But if Trudeau and Singh want to deliver a truly lasting win for Canadians, they should revisit their positions on electoral reform and find a way to deliver on the promises made in the 2015 election campaign. There is still time to heal our politics and create a system that rewards our better angels rather than empowering our worst.

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Politics Briefing: 20 Liberal MPs supported NDP's failed bid to lower voting age to 16 – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Twenty Liberal MPs broke with the majority of their caucus and supported an NDP bill to lower the voting age to 16 this week, but it wasn’t enough to keep the idea alive in the House of Commons.

NDP MP Taylor Bachrach’s Bill C-210 came to a vote Wednesday afternoon at second reading. A successful vote would have sent the bill to committee for further study.

However the final resultwas a 246 to 77 defeat. In addition to the NDP’s 24 votes and the 20 Liberal votes, the Bloc Québécois provided 31 votes in favour and two Green Party MPs also supported the bill. Voting against were 130 Liberal MPs, 114 Conservative MPs and two independents, Alain Rayes and Kevin Vuong.

Following the vote, Mr. Bachrach, who represents the B.C. riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, told reporters that the Liberal government needs to explain its position to Canada’s youth.

“I think this is a change that eventually is going to pass in our country and it feels good to be on the right side of history,” he said.

Prior to the vote, Mr. Bachrach asked the government in Question Period whether it will support his bill.

“Our government has constantly taken steps to ensure that our democracy is open and inclusive for all people, particularly young people,” replied Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “I had a very good conversation with my colleague from Skeena-Bulkley Valley and we look forward to working with him on this important issue in the months ahead.”

Following the vote, Mr. Bachrach said he was confused by the Minister’s comment.

“It seemed like he was implying there was some kind of opportunity, but the opportunity was really just a few minutes ago when we could have voted to send this to committee and move the bill forward and hear from witnesses. So I’m certainly open to talking to the government about how we make this bill a reality in the future, but today was a big opportunity and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed to see the vote result and to see so few Liberal MPs supporting it.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written by Bill Curry. 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 sign-up page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

SENIOR CSIS OFFICER ADVOCATED FOR SILENCE ON SERVICE ASSET – The most senior intelligence officer in charge of covert operations at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service went to Ankara in March, 2015, to persuade Turkish authorities to stay silent about the agency’s recruitment of a Syrian human smuggler who trafficked three British teenage girls to Islamic State militants, according to three sources. Globe story here.

YOUTUBE CREATOR WARNS C-11 COULD SLASH GLOBAL REACH – One of Canada’s most successful YouTubers has warned that the government’s online streaming bill could slash her company’s worldwide earnings as well as those of other Canadians making their living from posting on digital platforms. Globe story here.

SENIOR BUREAUCRATS PROBED CRYPTOCURRENCIES AFTER PIERRE POILIEVRE’S COMMENTS – Senior federal bureaucrats examined whether cryptocurrencies protect against inflation not long after Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre made the claim as a candidate in the Conservative leadership race, according to an internal government document. Canadian Press story here.

OPIOID TOXICITY DEATHS DOUBLED IN CANADA – Deaths from opioid toxicity nearly doubled in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the two years before, according to a grim new report from the federal government that reflects a worsening of the toxic drugs epidemic. Globe story here.

MACKENZIE ARRESTED – Jeremy MacKenzie, the founder of the online group “Diagolon,” was arrested in Nova Scotia on Wednesday on charges related to an allegation of assault in Saskatchewan from last year. On Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre asked the RCMP to investigate Mr. MacKenzie after he talked about sexually assaulting Poilievre’s wife, Anaida, during a livestream on the weekend. Canadian Press story here.

LIFE OF PICKERING PLANT TO BE EXTENDED – Ontario will unveil plans on Thursday to extend the life of its nuclear power plant in Pickering for an extra year, running it until September, 2026, while launching a study on whether to spend billions refurbishing the aging facility. Globe story here.

TORY HEALTH CRITIC CALLS FOR NUANCED APPROACH ON MILITARY VACCINE MANDATE – Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is demanding an end to the vaccine mandate for military members, but his health critic suggested the situation might need a more nuanced approach. Canadian Press story here.

GG VISITS JAMES SMITH CREE NATION – Governor-General Mary Simon placed tobacco Wednesday on the graves of some of the people who died in a stabbing rampage on the James Smith Cree Nation earlier this month. Canadian Press story here.

FRONTRUNNER IN B.C. NDP LEADERSHIP RACE PROPOSES MAJOR HOUSING PLAN – David Eby, who is viewed as the front-runner in the B.C. New Democratic Party leadership to replace Premier John Horgan, is promising sweeping changes to provincial housing policy, including measures to increase housing density in communities zoned for single family homes. Globe story here.

SINGH CALLS OUT TORIES ON DENTAL PLAN – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says it’s “ridiculous” that Conservative MPs will vote against a proposed dental benefit for children in low-income families when they enjoy far more comprehensive dental care coverage for their own families. Story here from CTV.

QUEBEC ELECTION – As Quebeckers prepare to go to the polls Monday in the Quebec election, there’s a Canadian Press overview here on what the five main parties are promising on major themes.

THIS AND THAT

TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Sept. 29, accessible here.

JOLY IN WASHINGTON – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is visiting Washington on Thursday and Friday, with talks scheduled with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership and the war in Ukraine. She will also meet with several members of the U.S. Congress and participate in the Atlantic Council’s Front Page platform.

POLITICAL PODCAST WATCH – Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith takes issue with the Liberal government’s view of a private members’ bill to lower the voting age to 16 in an edition of his podcast Uncommons released this week. He calls the rationale for the government’s approach “nonsense.” The podcast edition accessible here features an interview with the author of the bill NDP MP Taylor Bachrach.

THE DECIBEL

On Thursday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Globe and Mail columnist Konrad Yakabuski unpacks the immigration debate in Quebec where the subject has been a ballot-box issue in the provincial election campaigns. The major parties are vowing to set different limits on how many permanent residents the province can let in without compromising its French identity. Meanwhile, its labour force is in decline and businesses are calling on provincial leaders to bring in more immigrants to help fill open jobs. The Decibel is here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Que., held private meetings and was scheduled to meet with local seniors, fishers and small business owners impacted by Hurricane Fiona.

LEADERS

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was scheduled to attend Question Period, meet with clean drinking water activist Autumn Peltier, and then speak with Amanda McDougall, Mayor of Cape Breton, on the impact of Hurricane Fiona.

Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchette is scheduled to speak with reporters on Thursday afternoon before Question Period.

No schedule was distributed for the Conservative Leader.

OPINION

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) writes that something is rotten at Canada’s broadcasting regulator: “These are not good times for Canada’s broadcasting regulator. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has not only managed to contradict itself in two recent decisions affecting the CBC, but it stands accused of both shirking its mandate and sticking its nose where it does not belong. The accusations are well-founded – and they speak to deeper problems at the regulator.”

John Ralston Saul (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on why the world must stand with Salman Rushdie and writers like him: “Salman Rushdie, a fellow writer, remains in hospital, recovering from 10 wounds, each one of them intended to end his life. Salman would be the first to remind us that this attack was not one of a kind. It was symptomatic of our time. The pressure against free expression – sometimes subtle, sometimes violent – has been growing, everywhere, over the last two decades. For so many writers this era has been anything but free. Libel chill. The courts being used to bankrupt writers and publishers. Prison cells. Torture. Assassination attempts. Assassination itself. We in the West are quick to assert that all of this is happening somewhere else far away, in places less democratic, more autocratic, dictatorial. Yet the preaching of legal and physical violence against those who use words to free the imagination – to encourage doubt, debate, change – has been almost normalized, as if it were a sign of intellectual vibrancy.”

Amy Knight (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could be forced out: “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s surprise announcement to his country last week that he had authorized a conscription of reservists to fight in Ukraine suggests the Kremlin is in a panic over its military losses there. A former Russian prime minister even says Mr. Putin’s seemingly desperate decision could eventually cost him his presidency. Adding to the sense of crisis, the Kremlin has also hastily conducted sham referendums on joining the Russian Federation in four occupied regions of Ukraine. Mr. Putin is clearly facing the greatest challenge of his leadership tenure – but is he really in danger of being forced out?”

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