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Tory insider says Brown’s exit raises questions about how ballots will be counted

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OTTAWA — A Conservative party insider says Patrick Brown’s exit isn’t likely to change the outcome of the leadership race, but it may encourage candidates to change their strategies.

Cory Hann, who was the party’s director of communications until March, said the party needs to carefully consider how it will handle the vote-counting on Sept. 10 given that the ranked ballots already have Brown’s name on them.

This seems like familiar territory for the Conservatives: in 2017, Kevin O’Leary pulled out of the leadership race after ballots were printed, and the party chose to count his votes.

“They were kind of forced to still count his votes, so as not to upset that balance,” Hann said Thursday. “We actually had to announce the votes that Kevin O’Leary got, and it was a whole part of the reveal.”

But Hann said things are “a little more delicate” this time because the party has disqualified Brown from the race.

“If you’re going to just skip counting Patrick Brown votes altogether, and maybe move to people’s second and third choices down their ballot, that has some unintended consequences early on,” Hann said.

Party president Rob Batherson said the Conservatives are working with a contractor to determine the best path to ensure all ballots are appropriately counted.

Hann said the race is “Pierre Poilievre’s to win,” though he believes Brown’s removal may change how many rounds of ballots will be counted.

Process aside, he said other leadership hopefuls will be wise to start courting the support of the people Brown’s team signed up. He thinks most of those new members will go ahead and vote, given that they’ve already paid for a membership.

Candidates had until June 3 to encourage people to sign up as party members and be eligible to vote. Brown made it his strategy to reach mainly diverse communities, including new Canadians. His team claims to have signed up more than 150,000 people.

He previously said he campaigned in the Sikh, Muslim, Tamil and Chinese communities “that have all felt mistreated by the party.”

A video shared on Facebook from a meeting Brown had with Muslim community members in British Columbia on April 1 captured him saying his “path to victory is bringing new people in and having a decent level of support within the party.”

“In the existing Conservative membership, Pierre is more popular. The existing Conservative membership wants someone who is more hard-right,” Brown said in the livestream.

Akolisa Ufodike, the national chair of the Association of Black Conservatives, said the other candidates have to “learn a thing or two” from Brown’s campaign.

“He’s got a verifiable record when it comes to making inroads into diverse cultural communities,” he said.

“The party runs the risk here of leaving about a quarter of our registered members upset at the whole situation.”

While Ufodike called himself an outsider in the race, he said he feels Brown’s campaign put in the work to expand the “big tent” Conservatives have been talking about for years.

“The demographics of our country are changing. This party — and all the candidates — need to be more intentional about broadening the base,” he said.

Hann said would-be Brown voters may look to Jean Charest or Scott Aitchison, but he’s not ruling out the possibility that Leslyn Lewis or Poilievre could win them over in the next couple of months.

“I think each candidate is probably analyzing that right now, seeing how they go about that,” he said.

Lewis released a statement on her website Thursday evening, saying it’s her intent to build a party that has room for all conservatives.

“Like Patrick, I believe that our party’s tent needs to expand to include many new Canadians who have settled in large urban centres like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal,” the statement said.

Poilievre has been a supporter of the “Freedom Convoy” and recently joined soldier James Topp in the final leg of a march in opposition to vaccine mandates in the military. Critics — including Brown — have pointed out that convoy organizer Pat King has spread the racist “white replacement theory.”

That prompted Poilievre to issue a statement denouncing the “white replacement theory” as ugly disgusting hate-mongering and condemning King.

Hann acknowledged the campaign has attracted a lot of attention for its “appeal to those that have problems with the vaccine mandates, and all the other hangers-on of that movement that drag it towards darker spaces.”

He said he believes Poilievre knows the party needs to attract new members to win a general election.

Ufodike’s advice to the front-runner in the last two months of the race: “Stick to the Poilievre who did a good job of holding (former finance minister Bill Morneau) to account.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2022.

 

Sarah Ritchie, The Canadian Press

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Politics Briefing: Canadian researchers and scientists march for better compensation – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

Scientists and researchers marched on Parliament Hill Thursday for a Support our Science rally, with the group calling for a living wage for early-career researchers.

The group is calling for a funding increase for grad students and post-doctoral scientists who are supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, an open letter details. The value of scholarships for graduate and postgraduate recipients has not changed since 2003, while living costs have risen steadily, the letter notes.

“You’re not able to really even focus on your studies because of so many financial concerns,” Sarah Laframboise, a biochemistry PhD student at the University of Ottawa, told CBC Ottawa Morning on Thursday.

A petition to the federal government is calling for a 48 per cent increase to graduate scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships – to match inflation since 2003. That petition has received more than 1,200 signatures, while the group’s open letter has been signed by around 7,100 people.

A physical copy of the letter – stretching more than 70 metres – was carried along the Rideau Canal toward Parliament Hill on Thursday.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written today by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for by Ian Bailey. 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

INFLATION BILL CREATES POSSIBLE BUMPSWhen the United States Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this week, Canadian political and industry leaders were elated by the legislation’s climate provisions, but other major changes in the bill set the stage for a trade standoff between the two countries over digital sales taxes. Story here.

NON-EMERGENCY PARAMEDICS As a number of hospitals across Canada cut back the hours of operation of their emergency departments amid staff shortages, some veteran paramedics say an innovative form of paramedicine could help take the pressure off, specifically, through community paramedicine programs outside of hospitals. Story here.

EDITS ON SPEECH – A line attributing responsibility for abuses of children at residential schools – specifically, that it occurred “at the hands of the federal government” – was edited out of remarks prepared for Carolyn Bennett, who was the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations at the time. Story by The Canadian Press here.

HIGH UNIVERSITY REVENUES – From coast-to-coast, Canadian universities recorded record profits in the 2020-21 fiscal year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Story by the Toronto Star here.

AID SHIPMENT CANCELLED – A Canadian aid group said that a shipment of food, which they were forced to cancel because of a Canadian anti-terror law, could have fed around 1,800 children in Afghanistan. Story by CBC News here.

FIRES CONTINUE IN NEWFOUNDLAND – Newfoundland residents are preparing for the possibility they may have to evacuate their homes as two large forest fires continue to rage through the central parts of the province. Story here.

SENATOR WANTS TO END NDAs – A Manitoba senator wants all federal bodies to be prevented from using nondisclosure agreements in misconduct cases, following months of concern over Hockey Canada’s handling of a sexual-assault allegation. Story by the Winnipeg Free Press here.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

FUNDING FOR SOMBRE MONUMENT – On Thursday, Betty Ross, an elder and member of the Assiniboia Residential School Legacy Group, along with Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, announced more than $600,000 in funding to build a monument and gathering place to commemorate survivors of the Assiniboia Residential School in Winnipeg.

UNIFOR UNVEILS PROPOSAL – Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, released a proposal Thursday outlining its vision for “vehicle and parts manufacturing that transforms Canada into a global leader as the world transitions to electric vehicle production.”

THE DECIBEL

In today’s episode, chef and author Suzanne Barr teaches The Decibel how to make her famous Caribbean curry chicken and reflects on how the dish helped launch her cooking career. Episode here. It’s the fourth episode of The Decibel’s Food Week.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is on a two-week vacation in Costa Rica.

LEADERS

No schedules provided for party leaders.

OPINION

Tanya Talaga (The Globe and Mail) on the latest battleground for First Nations rights: “The next battleground is to the north and west of Lake Superior, on the traditional territories of Treaty 9, Treaty 3 and the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850. It is here, in an area many Indigenous people share, where the waters of Turtle Island split and either flow north to Hudson Bay or south to urban cities. It is also the spot where the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, or NWMO, wants to send truckloads of radioactive material to be buried 500 metres deep into the Canadian Shield.”

David Parkinson (The Globe and Mail) on the arrival of the ‘great resignation’ in Canada: “Canada has largely avoided this phenomenon, at least in terms of the broad labour market. The number of workers overall who have voluntarily left their jobs has been well below prepandemic levels through the past two years, and has been on the decline over the past three months. … But among the 55-plus population, the story is suddenly very different. It’s as if older workers, having stuck it out during the depths of the recession and the frantic, uncertain recovery, have decided that they’ve had enough.”

Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on the hollow reassurances of Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones: “When asked whether the current health care situation in Ontario is unprecedented, Ms. Jones replied, “No, I’m sorry, it is not,” which is both incorrect and not the winning defence she thinks it is. (Don’t despair, good people of Ontario: our health care system has always been on the verge of collapse!) It is true that the province has faced ER shutdowns before, but it has never faced such a confluence of compounding crises: record-high waits for ward admissions, record-high health care sector vacancies, unprecedented lengths and numbers of “level zero” events where there are no paramedics available to answer emergency calls, and a massive backlog of diagnostic procedures and surgeries that have already put lives at risk and quality-of-life in peril.”

Max Fawcett (National Observer) on the recent U.S. tax bill, and how it should have Canada upping its climate change commitments: “It might finally be time to expect more here in Canada as well. After years of tiptoeing around the energy sector and its numerous allies in politics and the punditocracy, the federal government finally has the cover it needs to bring forward more ambitious policies. Those should include its long-overdue cap on oil and gas emissions and the proposed regulations on methane emissions, which are set to be published next year. And if the government was ever inclined to go easy on the oil and gas industry, recent comments from some of its most prominent (and well-paid) executives should make it think twice.”

Fae Johnstone (Ottawa Citizen) on how Canada must step up to protect LGBTQ2+ rights: “I see increasing attacks on efforts to make schools more inclusive for LGBTQ2+ students, rising incidence of hate crimes against LGBTQ2+ Canadians, and a more organized anti-LGBTQ2+ hate movement than ever before. Since 2015, I’ve lost most of my optimism. Early warning signs indicate Canada could be headed in the wrong direction. Provincially and federally, right-wing fringe parties have adopted anti-LGBTQ2+ rhetoric.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

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Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark endorsed Jean Charest

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OTTAWA — Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark on Wednesday endorsed Jean Charest to be the next leader of the federal Conservatives at a time when she says the party is racing to the extremes.

She also expressed choice words for a pitch from a front-runner in Alberta’s United Conservative Party leadership contest who has vowed to introduce legislation to ignore federal laws.

“I think that is bats–t crazy,” Clark said of Danielle Smith’s proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act.

Clark’s comment followed an impassioned speech she delivered in Edmonton to a room of conservatives gathered to discuss the need for the federal party to stick closer to the political centre.

The event was hosted by Centre Ice Conservatives, an advocacy group that formed at the start of the Tories’ leadership contest to encourage candidates to focus on issues like the economy. It argues that championing affordability measures resonate with mainstream Canadians more than others like fighting pandemic-related health restrictions, which has become a rallying cry for many across conservative movements.

Its co-founder Rick Peterson ran in the party’s 2017 leadership contest and has said the new group will not endorse a candidate in the current race.

Clark was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s event and only waded into commenting on the contest to replace Alberta Premier Jason Kenney as UCP leader when asked to by an audience member.

Clark, who formerly led the centre-right BC Liberal Party, spoke for roughly 20 minutes about the need for political leaders to focus on what Canadians have in common and not stoke division.

She accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of dividing the country when he said the views of the “Freedom Convoy” protesters who blockaded roads and highways last winter to oppose COVID-19 vaccine mandates were unacceptable.

Clark said politicians who divide create opportunities for others to do the same.

“Now we’re watching the Conservative Party of Canada make its race for the extremes to play to the very edges of the political divide,” she said.

“I think some days their rhetoric is just as bad or even worse.”

Her comments come as party members have less than one month left to cast their ballots to pick the next leader.

The race, which began in February, has been a fight for the party’s soul and future direction.

The main rivalry has been between longtime Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, who is running on a broad campaign message of “freedom,” and ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest, who has condemned the convoy as breaking the rule of law.

Of the 678,000 Conservative members able to vote in the race, the party reports that around 174,000 ballots have been returned ahead of the deadline Sept.6.

Speaking Wednesday, Clark said she recently received her ballot in the mail and will vote in the contest.

“I think Jean Charest would be a fantastic prime minister,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2022.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

 

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No politics in election map revision, co-chairs say – CBC.ca

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Two former politicians co-chairing a commission redrawing New Brunswick’s provincial election map say there’ll be no politics involved in their work.

Former Liberal premier Camille Thériault and former Progressive Conservative MP Roger Clinch say they will stick to the letter of the law that requires them to come up with 49 new ridings roughly equal in population. 

“Our mandate is very, very clear. It had absolutely nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with gerrymandering,” Thériault said Wednesday as the commission launched its website. “We’re there to follow the piece of legislation that has been put in place.

“We will continue to look straight forward and not think or talk politics, but do what’s best for New Brunswickers within the legislation that we are under.”

Provincial law requires that an independent commission be appointed every 10 years to redraw the 49 electoral districts in the province to reflect changing population numbers.

The new map will take effect for the provincial election scheduled for Oct. 21, 2024, and will have to shift some districts to account for rapid urban growth in the province.

In June, Green MLA Kevin Arseneau alleged the process would involve political trade-offs between the co-chairs to craft ridings beneficial to their former parties.

The three parties in the legislature were asked to suggest names for the commission, but the Green nominees were not chosen because the party refused to have their choices vetted by Premier Blaine Higgs’s office, as the PC and Liberal names were.

“The people on the commission are all very well-respected people, I think, and I don’t think there’s any bias on anyone’s part toward any particular party,” Clinch said.

The six-member commission will hold 12 in-person public meetings and two virtual sessions to sound out New Brunswickers about the new map starting Aug. 23 and continuing to Sept. 15. 

“People will dictate to us what they think it should be,” Clinch said. “We have rules and regulations to follow.” 

After the first round of meetings, they’ll draft a proposed map that they’ll then take out to a second round of consultations before coming up with a final version within 90 days.

The law requires the commission to calculate the average number of voters in each riding, known as the “electoral quotient.” Thériault said the figure they’ll use is 11,714.

Former Progressive Conservative MP Roger Clinch says the commission has rules to follow in redrawing the electoral map. (GNB)

In the new map, each riding’s number of voters must be “as close as reasonably possible” to the quotient, though the commission can deviate by up to 15 per cent to accommodate what are called “communities of interest” and other factors.

In “extraordinary circumstances” such as the need to ensure fair linguistic representation, the commission can deviate from the quotient by up to 25 per cent.

The last redrawing included the creation of Memramcook-Tantramar, which prompted complaints from francophones in the new riding that they were losing their majority-francophone constituency. 

At the time, the law allowed only a five-per cent deviation from the average, so the new commission now has more leeway to put the village in a mostly francophone riding.

“We will probably hear from the people in Memramcook,” Thériault said. “But I’m not prejudging how they feel 10 years later.”

Thériault said ideally he’d like to “tighten” some of the sprawling rural ridings in the province, such as Southwest Miramichi–Bay du Vin, which can take more than two hours to drive from end to end. 

He also mentioned the expanded footprint of St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton, divided between two provincial ridings, as an example of the “housekeeping” the commission may do when it considers “communities of interest.”

But he said the commission isn’t going in with any fixed assumptions and will be guided by the goal of getting as close as possible to the quotient. 

“What we’re saying is that we will take into consideration what New Brunswickers have to say,” he said.

“We will be very transparent. And the ultimate goal here is to try and achieve the 11,714 electors for a riding, which we know probably is impossible to do.”

Last weekend newly elected Liberal Leader Susan Holt said she would wait to see the new map before deciding where she’ll run in the next provincial election. In 2018 Holt was defeated as a candidate in Fredericton South by Green Leader David Coon.

Thériault said those considerations won’t matter to the commission. 

“The redrawing of the electoral map will not be done to provide seats to anyone or any party,” he said. “It will be done in the best interests of New Brunswick.”

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