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These issues will dominate federal politics in 2020 – Global News

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Five days after Parliament resumed in December, it became even clearer that Canada’s current minority government situation will require the Liberals to engage in even deeper cross-party collaboration to accomplish their goals.

On Dec. 10, the Liberals experienced their first defeat after opposition parties voted in favour of a Conservative motion to strike a special parliamentary committee to probe Canada’s tense relationship with China.






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House votes in favour of special committee on Canada-China relations


House votes in favour of special committee on Canada-China relations

Though the Liberals survived their first confidence vote that same day, they will need to get at least one of the opposition parties on side to ensure that future votes of confidence go their way in the future.

Here are some of the top issues that will be tackled by Parliament over the next year after it’s scheduled to return on Jan. 27.

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Income tax cuts

The Liberal Party’s hallmark campaign promise of an income tax cut will likely be one of the easiest ones to follow through on, as the Conservatives had also pushed for large-scale tax cuts.

On the first day of Parliament in early December, the Liberals introduced a motion to increase the amount of tax-exempt income to $15,000 by 2023. The Liberals say that an estimated 20 million Canadians will benefit from this, with individuals saving an average of $300 annually.






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Throne Speech: ‘First act’ for new parliament is a tax cut for ‘all non-wealthy Canadians’


Throne Speech: ‘First act’ for new parliament is a tax cut for ‘all non-wealthy Canadians’

“Conservatives always support tax cuts,” Pierre Poilievre, the Conservatives’ finance critic, told reporters in response to the Liberal motion. “It’s in our DNA. it’s who we are.”

Climate change and pipelines

The Liberals’ speech from the throne highlighted the government’s “ambitious, but necessary” plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A government report from April warned that Canada’s climate, especially in the north, is warming at twice the global rate.

While the speech did not explicitly refer to pipelines or the oil and gas industry in western provinces, the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline is predicted to induce the most division in Parliament.

During meetings with federal leaders in Ottawa earlier this month, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney issued five demands for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, including that the government put a hard deadline on completing the pipeline project as the province’s unemployment rate rose a percentage point to 7.2 per cent in November.

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Debate over pipelines clouds concern for climate change


Debate over pipelines clouds concern for climate change

A recent poll found that just 15 per cent of people who supported the Liberals during the fall election said the pipeline expansion should be a top priority, strikingly lower than the 52 per cent of Conservative Party voters who said it should be top of mind.

The NDP and the Greens vehemently oppose pipelines and have vowed to urge the Liberals to take aggressive stances to tackle climate change. Trudeau has said that his government would use proceeds from the government-owned TransMountain pipeline to invest in initiatives to lower Canada’s overall emissions.

Medical assistance in dying

In September, a Quebec judge struck down the part of the Liberals’ 2016 assisted death legislation that limits eligibility to terminally ill patients whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.” The court stated that this requirement is unconstitutional because it can force patients to live in significant pain.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin suspended the ruling for six months to allow federal lawmakers to respond. In the meantime, she allowed the two plaintiffs to proceed with their request for a medically assisted death.

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Leaders’ Debate: Trudeau says he would “relax” assisted dying law in next 6 months


Leaders’ Debate: Trudeau says he would “relax” assisted dying law in next 6 months

During the campaign, the Liberals vowed to “relax” the assisted death legislation. Trudeau urged Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti in his mandate letter on Dec. 13 to expand the legislation.

During the French leaders’ debate in October, the Greens, NDP and Bloc Québécois said they would support expanding the assisted death criteria. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said his party would “evaluate” the court’s decision and would be devoted to the protection of “vulnerable people.”

Pharmacare

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh opposed the Liberals’ speech from the throne, in part, for being too vague on its pharmacare promise.

Trudeau’s mandate letter to new federal health minister Patty Hajdu tasked her with implementing national universal pharmacare, including the establishment of the Canada Drug Agency and a national formulary to reduce the cost of expensive drugs for rare diseases.

In June, a national advisory council struck by the Liberals and overseen by former Liberal provincial health minister Eric Hoskins called for a universal, single-payer pharmacare program, the cost of which would be $15 billion a year by the time it’s fully implemented by 2027.

Scheer and the Conservatives had previously opposed such a program.

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Gun control

Earlier in December, on the 30th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in which a gunman killed 14 women, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair renewed the government’s gun reform pledges and said that it will soon draw up a list of semi-automatic weapons it wants to ban.

The Liberals had promised during the election to ban military-style assault rifles and allow municipal governments to implement their own restrictions on handguns. Trudeau has also said the government will buy back roughly 250,000 military-style assault rifles at an estimated cost of $400 million.

In his mandate letter, Blair is tasked with bringing this about and also imposing stronger penalties for gun smuggling. However, the government will not re-impose the scrapped long-gun registry.

The NDP, Green and Conservative parties had their own gun reform proposals that overlap with the Liberal plans, signalling possible consensus on those plans. However, the Conservatives had proposed harsher mandatory minimums and halting bail for repeat “gang” offenders.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Essential Politics: Remaking California's political maps – Los Angeles Times

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This is the July 26, 2021, edition of the Essential Politics newsletter. Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get it in your inbox three times a week.

In a summer filled with public health worries, a state budget surplus and a historic gubernatorial recall election, there’s been little time to talk about what might end up being California’s most consequential political news of 2021.

That’s redistricting, the once-a-decade requirement to draw new maps for congressional, state and local representation — a process that itself is being dramatically reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With big developments on the horizon, let’s set the stage for what to watch.

The census delay’s domino effect

California’s embrace of independent redistricting — wherein maps are drawn by citizen commissioners rather than the elected officials who serve in those jurisdictions — has relied on robust public input and timely access to accurate, comprehensive data about the number and location of the state’s residents.

An unprecedented delay in obtaining census data has thrown everyone a curveball. Federal officials are delivering the information more than four months late, sparking demand for changes to the established timelines for local redistricting efforts and the maps to be drawn by the 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission. Census officials have now promised a full set of data, though not in a user-friendly format, on Aug. 16.

California uses a statewide repository for organizing the needed census data and adding additional information on voters and elections, thus producing the information the statewide citizens panel needs to revise congressional, legislative and state Board of Equalization maps. Local commissions in a number of California communities draw maps for city councils, boards of supervisors, school districts and more.

So the question is this: How long do the state and local panels need to pull this off? And is the delayed process a legitimate threat to holding California’s primary election on June 7, 2022?

The debate over the deadline

Almost two weeks ago, the state citizens redistricting commission decided it wants to move its deadline for producing the final maps to Jan. 14, 2022 — a time frame that would probably be longer than the one given to the 2011 commission, the state’s first independent panel after voters stripped legislators of their power to draw the districts.

The argument, over a series of meetings, was that community groups would struggle to offer thoughtful input if the redistricting deadline is during the end-of-the-year holidays. But the state association of elections officers quickly sounded an alarm, noting that candidates and local officials could be left scrambling. One notable concern is that the maps could be challenged in court — as they were in 2011 — and lead to even further delays in preparing for the primary.

But moving the June 7 primary also presents problems, given the way election returns often take weeks to complete, and planning for the November general election would also be affected if the primary election is moved into late June.

Redistricting: What to watch for

The California Supreme Court, which extended the timeline for statewide redistricting last year once the census delays became apparent, now must consider the request from the state commission to allow them an extra two weeks to draw the maps, until Jan. 14, 2022. There’s no sign on when the justices might act, though sooner would be better.

Officials who oversee the statewide redistricting database have said initial census data will be made public as soon as Aug. 23 — this will allow anyone who wants to tinker with population and geography to do so. But the data needed to draw the official maps probably won’t be ready until late September, due to a 2011 law that requires California prison inmates to be counted in the communities where they last lived and not as residents of the communities where their prisons are located.

When the California Legislature reconvenes in mid-August, lawmakers may want to modify election deadlines to account for the delayed maps. They also will be asked to extend the deadline for local redistricting commissions to produce maps. Those panels, under existing rules, will have even less time unless the Legislature intervenes.

We know the maps will change, in some cases, quite a lot from those drawn a decade ago. And we know California will lose one seat in the House of Representatives, the first rollback in history of the state’s delegation in Washington.

Voters, of course, simply want to know that the elections for those posts are fair, conducted under well-established procedures and using political maps that have been smartly — and fairly — laid out.

‘California Politics’ launches Aug. 13

As the state’s redistricting challenges come into focus, the gubernatorial recall moves into full campaign mode and the Legislature heads into the home stretch for its work this year, we’ll be launching The Times’ newsletter devoted solely to California politics.

This is my final edition of Essential Politics. I look forward to joining the ranks of its readers to catch weekly updates from David Lauter, Noah Bierman and Laura Blasey, my colleagues in our Washington, D.C., bureau.

If you want to keep track of the political ups and downs of the Golden State, sign up for the new newsletter here.

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.

National lightning round

— Lawmakers racing to seal a bipartisan infrastructure deal early this week are hitting a major roadblock over how much money should go to public transit, the group’s lead Republican negotiator said Sunday.

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday named a second Republican critic of Donald Trump, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, to a special committee investigating the Capitol riot and pledged that the Democratic-majority panel would “get to the truth.”

Former President Trump, again upending American political norms, is moving to remake Congress and the Republican Party in his own image.

— The Border Patrol’s approach to missing migrants has evolved amid an increase in migration and deaths.

Thomas Barrack, a prominent L.A. investor, awaits trial on charges of obstruction of justice and acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates.

Today’s essential California politics

— Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder will appear on the recall election ballot, while Kevin Faulconer will not be described as a “former San Diego mayor” on official election paperwork, two California Superior Court judges ruled last week.

— Facing criticism from recall supporters for California’s rise in gun violence and retail theft, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday called for more accountability and enforcement but insisted the state is on the right path on criminal justice.

— With the renewed spread of COVID-19, Newsom faces a delicate decision over whether to again impose statewide mask requirements in indoor public places and risk upsetting Californians just weeks before they decide if he should be recalled from office.

— An appeals court Friday ruled that state leaders violated the rights of parents by forcing private schools to stay closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay in touch

Keep up with breaking news on our Politics page. And are you following us on Twitter at @latimespolitics?

Did someone forward you this? Sign up here to get Essential Politics in your inbox.

Until next time, send your comments, suggestions and news tips to politics@latimes.com.

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Analysis: Politics might not be a sport, but Texas sports are political – The Texas Tribune

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Kais Saied: The political outsider accused of a coup – Al Jazeera English

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President accused of attack on Tunisian democracy after sacking the country’s prime minister and suspending parliament.

Tunisia’s president described his election victory in 2019 as ‘like a new revolution’ – and on Sunday night he brought huge crowds of supporters onto the streets by sacking the government and freezing parliament in a move his foes called a coup.

Kais Saied, a 63-year-old political independent and former constitutional lawyer with an awkward public manner and a preference for an ultra formal speaking style of classical Arabic, is now at the undisputed centre of Tunisian politics.

Nearly two years after his election and a separate vote that created a deeply divided parliament, he has sidelined both the prime minister and parliament speaker with a move seen by critics as an unconstitutional power grab.

However, as tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of major cities to celebrate, Saied appeared to be riding a wave of popular anger against a political elite that has for years failed to deliver the promised fruits of democracy.

While the parliament speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, has been tainted with the messy compromises of a decade of democratic politics since Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, Saied entered the scene in 2019 as a comparative newcomer.

Presenting himself in his campaign as an ordinary man taking on a corrupt system, he fought the election without spending money and with a bare-bones team of advisers and volunteers – winning the backing of leftists, Islamists and youths alike.

His supporters said he spent so little on the election that it cost only the price of the coffee and cigarettes he consumed meeting Tunisians and presented him as a paragon of personal integrity.

People celebrated in the street after Tunisian President Kais Saied announced the dissolution of parliament and Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi’s government [Fethi Belaid/AFP]

Once elected, he appeared for a while shackled by a constitution that gives the president direct power over only the military and foreign affairs while daily administration is left to a government that is more answerable to parliament.

Saied has made no secret of his desire for a new constitution that puts the president at centre stage – prompting critics to accuse him of wanting to emulate Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in stripping his foes of power.

Power struggle

As president, Saied quickly feuded with the two prime ministers who eventually emerged from the complex process of coalition building – first Elyes Fakhfakh and then Hichem Mechichi.

However, the biggest dispute has been with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party and its veteran leader Ghannouchi, a former political prisoner and exile who returned to Tunisia in 2011.

Over the past year, Saied and Mechichi, backed by Ghannouchi, have squabbled over Cabinet reshuffles and control over the security forces, complicating efforts to handle the pandemic and address a looming fiscal crisis.

As protests erupted in January, however, it was the government and the old parties of parliament who faced the public’s wrath – a wave of anger that finally broke last week as COVID-19 cases spiked.

A failed effort to set up walk-in vaccination centres led Saied to announce last week that the army would take over the pandemic response – a move seen by his critics as the latest step in his power struggle with the government.

It set the stage for his announcement on Sunday following protests targeting Ennahda in cities around the country.

People came out on the streets to celebrate the government’s removal but mahy demonstrators also want social and economic reform [Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

During the 2011 revolution, his students and friends said, he used to walk the narrow streets of Tunis’ old city and the grand colonial boulevards downtown late at night, discussing politics with his students.

Saied was one of the legal advisers who helped draft Tunisia’s 2014 democratic constitution, though he soon spoke out against elements of the document.

Now, some of the main political inheritors of Tunisia’s revolution are casting him as its executioner – saying his dismissal of government and freezing of parliament are an attack on democracy.

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