For years, President TrumpDonald John Trump Democratic challenger on Van Drew’s party switch: ‘He betrayed our community’ Rand Paul pledges to force Hunter Biden vote if GOP backs Dem impeachment witnesses Trump plans to divert .2 billion from Pentagon for border wall construction: report MORE has called the climate crisis a “Chinese hoax,” a “big scam” and even a “make-believe problem.”
But recently and suddenly, his rhetoric has shifted. This week, while announcing a major weakening of environmental protections, he said of climate change, “nothing’s a hoax about that. It’s a very serious subject.”
Has Donald Trump suddenly become worried about rising climate pollution and its impact on our health and economy? Did he read through the National Climate Assessment and change his long-held view on the science of climate change?
More likely, he read the polls. And they make clear that Donald Trump’s record on climate is a political vulnerability.
Don’t take it from me. There are more polls than I can count. Polls that, of course, show that progressives in early primary states are deeply concerned about climate change, but more importantly, we’ve seen people in key states who are also increasingly worried about this issue.
In fact, in the largest swing state of Florida, a majority of residents understand the impacts of climate change and want action.
And that’s what is getting President Trump’s attention. He launched his campaign in Florida, called himself an environmentalist in West Palm Beach and even officially moved there, holding a “homecoming” rally — reinforcing the fact that the state will be ground zero for the presidential fight.
Whatever else you can say about Trump, he can read a crowd like few others. If his rhetoric on climate change is shifting, it’s because he senses the politics are now different.
For Trump, the hard math is not that climate pollution in our atmosphere has reached record levels — it’s that he can’t be re-elected without winning Florida, a state on the front line of climate impacts.
But it’s not just Florida. People across the country are waking up to the stark realities of the climate crisis. From the devastating floods in the Midwest, to what feels like the never-ending fire season in the West, to the more frequent and devastating hurricanes in the Southeast.
That’s why Americans are increasingly prioritizing this issue. They’re demanding that their public officials tackle this crisis head-on with ambitious climate policy. The result must be a transition to a 100 percent clean economy.
Trump may be learning new sound bites on climate change, but actions speak louder than words. The truth is, Donald Trump is still the president and can take real and meaningful action now.
But instead, his administration been making systemic attacks on our air, water and public health for the past three years.
Take clean cars, where the administration isn’t just rolling back a federal clean car standard, but issuing California to take away their right to set their standards for pollution from vehicles.
Just last week, his administration proposed gutting the federal review of projects like pipelines and drilling projects; he threatened to veto a water safety measure around PFOS, a harmful chemical containment; and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushed ahead to weaken protections from coal-related water pollution.
President Trump has also picked lobbyists and industry insiders for key environmental positions, including putting a coal lobbyist in charge of EPA and an oil and gas lobbyist in charge of the Department of the Interior. It’s no surprise that they’re undoing progress, proposing rules that pollute our air and water, curtailing and cutting critical research funding, and simply discrediting science and scientists.
This isn’t leadership on a “very serious subject.” Let’s call President Trump’s newfound religion on climate what it is — political lip service.
Joe Bonfiglio is the president of EDF Action, the advocacy partner of the Environmental Defense Fund.
UN envoy says has agreement on drafting new Syrian constitution
The United Nations Special Envoy said on Sunday that the government and opposition co-chairs of the Syrian Constitutional Committee agreed to start a drafting process for constitutional reform in the country.
Geir Pedersen, speaking to reporters in Geneva after meeting the Syrian co-chairs ahead of week-long talks, said they had agreed to “prepare and start drafting constitutional reform.”
The talks will be the sixth round in two years and the first since January.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet)
Venezuelan government suspends negotiations with opposition
Venezuela on Saturday said it would suspend negotiations with the opposition that were set to resume this weekend, after Cape Verde extradited Colombian businessman Alex Saab, a Venezuelan envoy, to the United States on money laundering charges.
The announcement was made by Socialist party legislator Jorge Rodriguez, who heads the government’s negotiating team. Rodriguez said the Venezuelan government would not attend the talks set to begin on Sunday.
The Venezuelan government in September named Saab – who was arrested in June 2020 when his plane stopped in Cape Verde to refuel – as a member of its negotiating team in talks with the opposition in Mexico, where the two sides are looking to solve their political crisis.
Rodriguez, reading from a statement, called the decision to suspend negotiations “an expression of our deepest protest against the brutal aggression against the person and the investiture of our delegate Alex Saab Moran.”
Opposition leader Juan Guaido condemned the decision.
“With this irresponsible suspension of their assistance in Mexico, they evade once again urgent attention for the country, which currently suffers from extreme poverty of 76.6%,” he said on Twitter. Guaido said he would continue to insist on finding a solution to the country’s crisis.
Venezuela, in a Twitter post by the Ministry of Communications, denounced the extradition as a “kidnapping.”
Hours after Saab’s extradition, Venezuela revoked the house arrest of six former executives of refiner Citgo, a U.S. subsidiary of state oil company PDVSA, two sources with knowledge of the situation and a family member told Reuters.
The U.S. Justice Department charged Saab in 2019 in connection with a bribery scheme to take advantage of Venezuela’s state-controlled exchange rate. The U.S. also sanctioned him for allegedly orchestrating a corruption network that allowed Saab and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to profit from a state-run food subsidy program.
Saab’s lawyers have called the U.S. charges “politically motivated.”
Cape Verde national radio reported the extradition on Saturday. The government of Cape Verde was not immediately available to comment.
A U.S. Justice Department spokesperson confirmed Saab’s extradition and said he is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
In a Twitter post, Colombian President Ivan Duque called Saab’s extradition “a triumph in the fight against drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption by the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro.”
The former Citgo executives, who were arrested in November 2017 after being summoned to a meeting at PDVSA headquarters in Caracas, were taken from their homes to one of the headquarters of the intelligence police, two sources said on Saturday.
The six former executives had been released from jail and put on house arrest in April.
The group is made up of five naturalized U.S. citizens and one permanent resident. The U.S. government has repeatedly demanded their release.
“My father cannot be used as a bargaining chip,” said Cristina Vadell, daughter of former executive Tomeu Vadell. “I’m worried for his health, even more given the country’s coronavirus cases.”
The Ministry of Communications and the Attorney General’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Deisy Buitrago in Caracas and Julio Rodrigues in Praia; Additional reporting by Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; Writing by Bate Felix and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Leslie Adler)
Politics Briefing: Trudeau to visit Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation next week – The Globe and Mail
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accepted an invitation to visit Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation on Monday, after not visiting the community two weeks ago on the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
The B.C. First Nation had previously said that Mr. Trudeau did not response to an invitation to attend a ceremony near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to mark the inaugural event. Mr. Trudeau apologized last week for travelling to Tofino for a vacation on that day instead, calling it a mistake that he regrets. He said he was looking forward to visiting the community.
Monday’s visit will not be a public event, according to a press release.
Mr. Trudeau’s office also confirmed Friday that the swearing-in ceremony for his new cabinet will take place on Oct. 26, and that Parliament will resume a month later on Nov. 22.
The release from the Prime Minister’s Office said that early priorities for the government will include introducing legislation to ban conversion therapy, 10-day paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers, accelerating climate action and working with Indigenous communities on reconciliation.
There will also be a focus on vaccination against COVID-19: the government outlined five vaccination commitments in the first 100 days, which includes ensuring everyone 12 and up who travels by air or rail in Canada has had their shots.
Speculation continues about which MPs will be in the new Liberal cabinet, though Mr. Trudeau promised last month that his cabinet will once again be gender-balanced, continuing a trend established in his first two mandates. He’s also confirmed that Chrystia Freeland will remain Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
The party lost four female cabinet ministers in the last election: three who did not win re-election and one incumbent who chose not to run again.
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s newsletter is co-written with Menaka Raman-Wilms. 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 signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
Opposition parties and military observers are criticizing the federal government for not disclosing the latest sexual misconduct investigation into a senior military officer during the recent election campaign. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and acting chief of the defence staff General Wayne Eyre were notified about the investigation into Lieutenant-General Trevor Cadieu on Sept. 5, but neither the military nor government disclosed the information publicly at the time.
Canada could retaliate against American companies should the U.S. go too far with a Buy American approach, suggested Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, after meetings on Thursday with her counterparts in the G20 and International Monetary Fund. U.S. President Joe Biden said this summer that Buy American provisions would be an important part of boosting a postpandemic recovery.
David Amess, a Conservative MP in the U.K, died on Friday after being stabbed during a meeting with constituents in Essex, England. A 25-year-old man has been arrested and a knife recovered. From the CBC.
Ontario launches its digital vaccine passport app on Friday, a week ahead of the initial Oct. 22 target date. The province has had a paper-based proof of vaccination system since Sept. 22, and the new scannable app moves Ontario to a system like the ones already in place in B.C. and Quebec.
The U.S. will announce on Friday that it plans to reopen its land borders on Nov. 8 to non-essential vaccinated travellers, according to a White House official.
PRIME MINISTER’S DAY
The Prime Minister is in private meetings in Ottawa on Friday, according to his public itinerary.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in Toronto on Friday morning, where he delivered remarks to the Ontario Building Trades Convention.
No public itineraries were issued by the other leaders on Friday.
HOW TO BE A PRIME MINISTER
From Governing Canada, A Guide to the Tradecraft of Politics by Michael Wernick (Published by On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press)
The Politics Briefing newsletter is featuring excerpts from Governing Canada, a new book by Michael Wernick, the former clerk of the privy council. Our focus is a key chapter, Advice to a Prime Minister. (Parliamentary reporter Kristy Kirkup reported on the project here.)
Today’s concluding excerpt sums up Mr. Wernick’s advice to Prime Ministers:
“The tenure of our prime ministers has ranged from a few months to 21 years. In the “modern era” of politics, the attention and the pressures are unrelenting, and at some point personal burnout and weariness by the electorate will set in. However long you hold the office, every week will be an opportunity to make a difference. If you are mindful of what you want to accomplish and pay attention to time management, to team dynamics, and to your own personal resilience, you will get a lot done and leave important legacies. Try not to govern one day at a time, fighting fires and feeding media cycles. Managing the short-term challenges is just a shield, one that lets you aim higher and bend the curve – of history.”
DATA DIVE WITH NIK NANOS
Nik Nanos, the chief data scientist at Nanos Research, writes about how the 2021′s federal election was a wake-up call for Canada’s leaders – but awakening to what? “The campaign should make us ask whether it’s time for a rethink of our parliamentary democracy – and remind us that Canada is not immune to populist politics.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how the Prairies are showing Canada what a COVID-19 disaster looks like: “Thanks to the governments’ slow adoption of vaccine passports and other measures designed to halt the spread of the virus, the unvaccinated have not been convinced to do what is necessary – which has produced the bedlam we are now witnessing.”
Diane Fu and Emile Dirks (contributors to The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa may have emerged a loser after Meng Wanzhou’s release, but it can still challenge and co-exist with Beijing: “Many contentious issues will continue to haunt bilateral ties, including Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan. What’s more, even if relations thaw in the short term, the political values of the two countries remain fundamentally at odds.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how politicians who recently travelled now have a message for Canadians: Don’t travel: “Travelling a year ago was a hard thing to justify. But fully vaccinated individuals who have followed the rules until now ought to be able to escape for a mental-health reprieve without the scorn of federal officials who might not even have unpacked yet from their campaign jaunts across the country.”
Parag Khanna (special to The Globe and Mail) on how if you’re searching for the American Dream, go to Canada: “After all, the “Canadian Dream” is much more attainable. Canada is a policy lab for experiments in reducing inequality. The country is far from perfect, but it ranks far higher than the U.S. in social mobility.”
Send along your political questions and we will look at getting answers to run in this newsletter. It’s not possible to answer each one personally. Questions and answers will be edited for length and clarity.
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