Trudeau vulnerable in fall election amid growing damage from SNC-Lavalin file

[ad_1]

By resigning his position as principal secretary to Justin Trudeau amid allegations of political interference in the judicial file of the engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, Gerald Butts, the prime minister’s longtime friend and alter ego, may hope to deflect the potentially lethal friendly fire that is headed straight for Trudeau.

Butts was the official who had the most dealings with former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould over her time in the cabinet. As he noted in his resignation statement, he recruited her to federal politics.

Those dealings included discussions of the SNC-Lavalin file. Sources say Butts was already in Wilson-Raybould’s crosshairs when she talked with Trudeau hours before she resigned from the cabinet last week.

But based on his categorical assertion that he never crossed into interference territory in his conversations with Wilson-Raybould, Butts may end up only having taken himself out of the direct line of fire.

The sight of PMO blood in the water is unlikely to distract the opposition parties from the main prey that is the prime minister himself. Stephen Harper who abruptly lost chief of staff Nigel Wright over the Senate spending scandal can testify to that.

Those who believe Trudeau sanctioned a plan to try to force Wilson-Raybould to spare SNC-Lavalin a criminal trial that could have negative consequences for its commercial future by offering it a remediation agreement will find validation in his principal secretary’s resignation.

And while no one is irreplaceable losing a central player such as Butts on the eve of a re-election campaign stands to compound the damage to the Liberals.

For even before it became a political hurricane the timing of this crisis had already made it a perfect storm.

It is not just that it will be hard for the government to shovel itself out of this latest hole if Wilson-Raybould — as most expect notwithstanding Butts’ decision to leave — does bury Trudeau in allegations of political interference.

If it comes down to a choice between his word and that of the former justice minister, there is no guarantee the prime minister will come out as the more credible.

At this juncture, many voters — including some who supported the Liberals in the last election — are already preconditioned to believe Wilson-Raybould’s version over anyone else’s. Over the past week, Trudeau had a big hand in that preconditioning.

Since the Globe and Mail broke the story each of his interventions has added fuel to the fire he was trying to put down.

With the House of Commons reopening Tuesday after a weeklong pause, there is little left of Trudeau’s initial denial but still no convincing or consistent government interpretation of the events that have, over the adjournment, led the former attorney-general to leave the cabinet and lawyer up and the prime minister’s right-hand man to resign.

The latest developments on the PMO front only add a new twist to an already confused plot.

Up until the political interference allegations surfaced 10 days ago, the upcoming general election looked like Trudeau’s to lose.

But now it has become easier to trace a path to defeat for the ruling Liberals than at any time since they took office in 2015.

Which in a roundabout way brings one to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s future. By now, his victory in next Monday’s Burnaby South by-election should be a foregone conclusion.

If Singh can’t win in a relatively safe NDP riding that happens to be located at ground zero of the movement against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and after a campaign whose last stretch is unfolding against the backdrop of the worst crisis in Trudeau’s tenure, he truly is a lost cause. (To a lesser degree the same could be said of Outremont, the other NDP riding in play next week.)

Chances are the ranks of the Liberals who are rooting for Singh in Monday’s vote in the belief that his so far unimpressive leadership will help drive support their way next fall have swelled over the past week.

For many of the progressive voters who are turned off by Trudeau’s evasive explanations or unhappy over his treatment of a leading Indigenous female minister or repelled by the notion that the government may have sought to cut a deal with a well-connected firm with a dismal ethical record, turning to the Conservatives is not necessarily an option.

At the rate that the prime minister has been losing control of the SNC-Lavalin narrative and with collateral damage spreading to the highest levels of his own office, all that may keep Trudeau from leading his party back to opposition next fall is a weak NDP.

Chantal Hébert is a columnist based in Ottawa covering politics. Follow her on Twitter: @ChantalHbert

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

NDP facing an election without a quarter of its caucus as Rankin ponders retirement

[ad_1]

New Democrat MP Murray Rankin said today he’s still thinking about whether to run for his party in this year’s federal election — despite having said he intended to make a decision about his future by early January.

« I’m one of those people in the yet-to-be-nominated, yet-to-confirm category, » Rankin told CBC News.

« I’m thinking about it. It’s four more years. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’ve got to figure out with my family whether … taking me into 2023 of my life is something I want. All those things have to be sorted out. I am definitely thinking about it right now. »

Rankin said that he will make a decision within the next month, despite having told the Canadian Press last year that he would make the decision by early last month.

If he decides to join other NDP MPs and leave federal politics before the fall campaign, he’ll leave behind a party facing down an election cycle without a quarter of its current caucus.

Tom Mulcair gave up his seat in Outremont after he was ousted as party leader. Kennedy Stewart, the former NDP MP for Burnaby South, stepped down to launch a successful run for mayor of Vancouver.

Both of those seats go to byelections Feb. 25. Party Leader Jagmeet Singh is hoping to secure the seat in Burnaby South for himself.

Sheila Malcolmson, the former MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, gave up her seat to run as a B.C. MLA in Nanaimo, an election she won last month.

Erin Weir, the former NDP MP who now sits as a party of one representing the defunct CCF, was kicked out of caucus by Singh a year ago after sexual harassment allegations were made against him.

The ones not running again

Another six NDP MPs have announced they will not run in the next federal election: David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre), Fin Donnelly (Port Moody-Coquitlam), Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona), Hélène Laverdière (Laurier-Sainte-Marie), Irene Mathyssen (London-Fanshawe) and Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou).

Robert Aubin, the MP for Trois-Rivières, has said he is pondering a choice between carrying on in federal politics or making a run for mayor in Trois-Rivières.

Rankin, meanwhile, has accepted a job — an unpaid one, he told CBC News — as the B.C. government’s representative in its Indigenous reconciliation process with the Wet’suwet’en.

The news that Rankin has yet to commit himself to running in the fall comes as his party continues to struggle in Quebec, scene of the ‘Orange Wave’ that propelled the party to the Official Opposition benches in 2011.

Over the past month, three polls have put the NDP below the 12.2 per cent of the vote the party captured in Quebec in the 2008 federal election, when Mulcair was the province’s sole NDP MP. The party stands at 13.8 per cent support nationally in the CBC’s Poll Tracker aggregate of federal polling.

A recent Nanos poll found that just six per cent of Quebecers pick Singh as the best person to be prime minister, well behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (44 per cent), Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer (18 per cent) and People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier (10 per cent).

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Une élection présidentielle à haut risque au Sénégal

[ad_1]

Le Sénégal est à la croisée des chemins et retient son souffle. L’élection présidentielle est un moment important dans l’histoire démocratique d’un pays. Pour cette raison, elle exige une transparence et une égalité des chances entre tous les candidats pour une meilleure prise en compte des votes de tous les citoyens, peu importe leur choix politique.

Pour la première fois au Sénégal, l’élection présidentielle cruciale du 24 février 2019 risque d’être à la fois politique et juridique au vu des actes antidémocratiques posés par l’actuel président sénégalais, Macky Sall. Le Sénégal va vers un contentieux électoral, comme le prouvent l’instrumentalisation politique de la justice et les contestations judiciaires des décisions du Conseil constitutionnel, une institution qui connaît une rupture de confiance avec le peuple sénégalais. Deux prétendants au fauteuil présidentiel ont déjà été écartés et condamnés par une justice inféodée au pouvoir, en l’occurrence l’ancien ministre libéral Karim Wade et le maire socialiste de la capitale, Dakar, Khalifa Sall.

Deux dossiers politico-judiciaires qui ont deux dénominateurs communs : procès politique et délit d’ambitions présidentielles. Penser éliminer arbitrairement plusieurs redoutables adversaires de la présidentielle et croire organiser une élection libre et démocratique, dans un pays avec un engagement citoyen assumé comme le Sénégal, relève de la pure fantaisie.

Chaque fois que la justice sénégalaise a rendu un verdict sur le plan national, celui-ci a été contesté et condamné sur la scène internationale par des juridictions compétentes. L’État du Sénégal sous Macky Sall a violé plus d’une fois les règles du droit élémentaire des personnes. La récente entrevue sur France 24 du président Macky Sall est un aveu de taille sur ses règlements de comptes politiques avec ses deux farouches adversaires. Le président sénégalais est prêt à tout pour se faire réélire, peu importe les moyens. Son obsession à remporter un second mandat se justifie par les nombreux cas de mauvaise gouvernance, l’amenant ainsi à renier son slogan de campagne « La patrie avant le parti » ou la déclaration d’intention « d’une gouvernance sobre et vertueuse ».

Dans l’émission du journaliste indépendant Pape Alé Niang Décryptage-Round-up sur les faits saillants de l’année, Djibril Gningue, membre du Groupe de recherche et d’appui-conseil pour la démocratie participative et la bonne gouvernance, répondait de manière convaincante et structurée à la question du journaliste qui demandait si « le fait d’éliminer les deux candidats potentiels pourrait entraîner une élection à haut risque au Sénégal ». M. Gningue répondait par l’affirmative en se basant sur « l’échelle d’appréciation des risques et menaces électoraux dans une situation préélectorale ». Selon cet ancien secrétaire exécutif du Comité africain des éducateurs à la paix, le Sénégal a « atteint un seuil critique d’alerte mesuré ou évalué par ces quatre éléments : incompréhension, tension, conflit et violence ». Les désaccords, la rupture du dialogue et de confiance entraînent l’incompréhension, la tension, le conflit et la violence.

La fiabilité du fichier électoral, le choix d’une personnalité indépendante pour gérer les élections, le parrainage sont exactement des sources de conflits, comme l’ont souligné le journaliste et ses invités. Dans un communiqué daté du 1er janvier 2018, 23 candidats de l’opposition « dénonçaient un coup de force du candidat sortant Macky Sall consistant à éliminer des candidats à l’élection présidentielle avec la complicité d’un Conseil constitutionnel ».

Soupçons de manipulation

Différents soupçons pèsent dangereusement sur la situation politico-judiciaire du Sénégal. « Les résultats de la présidentielle sont déjà sur la table de Macky Sall », dénonce Mansour Sy Djamil, un candidat et ancien compagnon du président.

Selon les révélations explosives du journaliste investigateur Mamadou Bane, les « sept sages » du Conseil constitutionnel devant valider les parrainages et les candidatures à l’élection présidentielle travailleraient avec un faux fichier électoral, taillé sur mesure par le président Macky Sall. En clair, un faisceau d’indices démontrant l’irrégularité du processus électoral semble indiquer la confiscation du pouvoir du peuple par le dictateur Macky Sall (emprisonnement et déportation de Karim Wade, emprisonnement de Khalifa Sall, imposition du parrainage, confiscation et rétention des cartes d’électeurs, exclusion des primo-votants, refonte de la carte électorale, imposition de son ministre de l’Intérieur, membre de son propre parti, pour organiser frauduleusement les élections). Il déroule son plan en posant plusieurs gestes sans être nullement inquiété.

Le contexte géopolitique sénégalais exige de ne pas abandonner à son triste sort cette ancienne vitrine de la démocratie africaine. À l’approche des élections, le président Macky Sall a commandé 65 engins blindés antiémeutes de fabrication turque et répète partout qu’il sera élu au premier tour, une impossibilité dans la configuration politique sénégalaise actuelle. Selon certaines informations relayées par la presse nationale, il dit qu’il préfère mourir plutôt que de ne pas avoir un second mandat.

Le respect des règles du jeu démocratique aboutirait à la clarté du scrutin, gage d’une élection apaisée, symbole de la tradition démocratique sénégalaise. Le coup de force électoral ne devrait pas passer. Le Sénégal n’appartient pas au président Macky Sall, encore moins à son clan, mais au peuple souverain sénégalais qui doit décider librement et démocratiquement de celui ou de celle qui sera à la tête du pays.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Jagmeet Singh readies for B.C. by-election battle ahead of 2019 election

[ad_1]

OTTAWA – It will be a big January for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh as he looks to get a much-needed seat in the House of Commons.

Singh plans to hunker down next month in the B.C. riding of Burnaby-South as he tries to check “elected” off his to-do list for a critical campaign year ahead.

The byelection, expected for February, marks Singh’s biggest political test to date while he also tries to calm party fears about fundraising, slumping polls and a growing list of veteran MPs who say they won’t run in 2019.

READ MORE: Ipsos poll says it’s advantage Liberals going into 2019, with Conservatives needing a Trudeau stumble

Singh has been to the riding a number of times, said Jennifer Howard, his new chief of staff.

Howard is a longtime party strategist who was elected as a Manitoba provincial politician in 2007.

The party has secured a volunteer team and an office as it sets its sights on a victory for their leader, she said, adding that the New Democrats are not taking anything for granted as they work on a win.

WATCH: NDP leader Jagmeet Singh meets with GM employees in Oshawa







“He is going to become Jagmeet the candidate,” Howard said.

“We are doing all the things that you do to get ready for a campaign so I am very confident.”

For his part, Singh has declined to say whether he will step down as leader should he lose in the riding, which was vacated by former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, now Vancouver’s mayor.

Howard said she’s not letting any other thought enter her mind either.

“He is going to win,” she said. “We aren’t focused on any other outcome because in order to get that outcome, we have to focus on running that race and doing what we need to do to win it.”

READ MORE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh campaigning in Outremont ahead of federal byelection

In addition to taking on the byelection battle, Singh also faces the task of looking at the party’s roster for the 2019 election campaign.

Earlier this month, MP Fin Donnelly joined a growing list of NDP incumbents who will not seek re-election. It includes Romeo Saganash, Helene Laverdiere, Tom Mulcair, David Christopherson, Irene Mathyssen and Linda Duncan.

B.C. MPs Nathan Cullen and Murray Rankin are also mulling their futures during the holiday break.

WATCH: NDP claim Liberals are holding back on calling byelections







Canadians should not draw unnecessary conclusions from the departure of veteran NDP MPs, Howard said.

“I don’t see any basis for that,” she said. “I don’t think that this is anything different than (what) typically happens at this stage (as) you get closer to an election … This is about the time in the cycle when people make those decisions.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Maxime Bernier says People’s Party set up in all 338 ridings ahead of 2019 election – National

[ad_1]

OTTAWA – The People’s Party of Canada says it has reached its goal of setting up 338 riding associations as it sets its sights on being a competitive force in the upcoming federal election.

In an email to supporters, leader Maxime Bernier says the move amounts to a “gift of hope” for Canadians seeking to bring back freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect to the country.

Bernier was a Conservative MP for more than a decade before he announced in August he was leaving the fold to launch his own party.

READ MORE: Ipsos poll says it’s advantage Liberals going into 2019, with Conservatives needing a Trudeau stumble

The party’s platform is still being finalized, but its website says positions taken by Bernier in the Conservative leadership race – such as a pitch to phase out supply management for the dairy sector – will form the basis for its policies.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer defeated Bernier for the federal Tory leadership by a slim margin in May 2017.

WATCH: Bernier say he will end the cartel of supply management with People’s Party







Bernier has accused the Tories of abandoning conservatives, adding the party has “nothing of substance” to offer Canadians seeking a political alternative.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Liberals’ election reform bill becomes law on last day of parliamentary sitting

[ad_1]

After receiving royal assent today — the final day of the current parliamentary sitting before the Christmas break — the Liberal government’s electoral reform bill, C-76, is now law.

The Trudeau government tabled C-76 last year. It limits the length of federal election campaigns, restricts the amount of spending allowed in the period immediately before a campaign, works to prevent foreign interference and introduces new rules to regulate third-party political activity.

On third parties, the bill would require them to use a dedicated Canadian bank account for payment of election-related spending. It also limits their spending on advertising, surveys and other election-related activities to $1 million in the two months before an election is called, and to $500,000 during the campaign.

Commissioner of Elections Yves Côté told CBC in October that Parliament needed to adopt C-76 by December to give him powers to fight foreign interference and social media abuse in the coming federal election, scheduled for October 2019.

« We have reached a critical moment now and, to me, I would say if this bill is not passed by December, we’re going to be in a very, very difficult situation, » he said.

Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault also called for C-76 to be adopted in short order to give him time to implement it during the next election.

Arms trade and border security

Other bills that were given royal assent today include C-21, introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale more than two years ago.

The bill would implement an « entry/exit program » to keep track of when individual Canadians enter and leave the country — information that wasn’t always collected in the past.

Bill C-47, the Act to Amend the Export and Import Permits Act, was also given royal assent. The act enables Canada to join the international Arms Trade Treaty — something the Liberals promised they would do during the 2015 election campaign.

And C-51 was made law Thursday. The act purges the Criminal Code of old, outdated laws — often referred to as « zombie laws » — and clarifies the Code when it comes to sexual assault law.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Corporations fuelled Ontario Proud’s pro-PC election spending

[ad_1]

Ontario Proud, a group credited with helping Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives win the provincial election, received nearly $460,000 in corporate donations to fund its campaign efforts, new documents reveal. 

Development companies and construction firms contributed the bulk of Ontario Proud’s election campaign funding, according to the group’s newly submitted report to Elections Ontario.

Ontario Proud rose to prominence online in 2017 with Facebook posts targeting then-premier Kathleen Wynne. During the campaign, once the polls showed the New Democrats to be the biggest threat to the PCs, the group shifted its focus to attacking Andrea Horwath’s party. Ontario Proud’s Facebook page attracted more than 360,000 followers by the June 7 election.  

The 2018 campaign was the first in which Ontario’s political parties were banned from receiving donations from corporations or unions. However, corporate and union donations to political action groups such as Ontario Proud and Working Families are still permitted. 

Corporations gave Ontario Proud $459,000 for political advertising, while individuals donated $53,198, says the group’s report to Elections Ontario. 

The document shows some of Ontario Proud’s top donors previously contributed to the Ontario PC Party. With no limits on donations to political action groups, several companies gave Ontario Proud more money for its 2018 campaign than they gave to the PCs over a three-year period that included the 2014 election. 

Mattamy Homes, one of the biggest developers in the province, topped Ontario Proud’s list, donating $100,000 in May. The company gave $61,394 to the PC party and candidates from 2014 to 2016, according to Elections Ontario data.

The company also donated $32,351 to the Liberals in those years.

Nashville Developments, a home builder headquartered in Vaughan, gave $50,000 to Ontario Proud in March. The company donated $36,350 to the PCs from 2014-16. 

Merit Ontario, representing non-union construction companies, also gave Ontario Proud $50,000. The group was one of the biggest donors to the PCs before corporate donations were banned. Previously known as Merit Open Shop Contractors Association, the group and its national affiliate gave $90,000 to the PC party and candidates from 2014 to 2016. 

Ontario Proud’s fundraisers used the publicly available list of PC donors to recruit donors to its cause, said the group’s founder Jeff Ballingall. 

« We looked up donor records and we saw who was giving previously and we contacted them. We wanted to make sure we were reaching and talking to the right people, » Ballingall said Tuesday in an interview with CBC News. 

« They were quite tired of the anti-business climate in Ontario and they were more fearful of Andrea Horwath and so a lot of people put their money where their mouth was and got involved, » Ballingall said.

Jeff Ballingall is founder of Ontario Proud. (CBC)

Ontario Proud spent $447,411 on political advertising in the period covered by the report (the six months leading to the campaign and the month-long campaign itself). That included more than $154,000 on Google AdWords and nearly $98,000 on television ads. 

Ballingall said the group raised other funds and spent money on operational activities that do not have to be disclosed under Ontario’s election campaign finance laws. He declined to provided any figures.   

Ontario Proud’s top corporate donors

Mattamy Homes $100,000

Nashville Developments $50,000

Merit Ontario $50,000

Opportunities Asia Ltd. $30,000

Shiplake Properties Ltd. $25,000

The following 17 firms contributed $10,000 each: Basecrete Inc., Ballantry Homes, Callian Capital Partners, Corrado Carpenter Contractor Ltd., Davie Real Estate Inc., Giampaolo Investments Inc., Lakeview Homes Inc., Maple Drywall Inc., Matalco Inc., Michael Bros. Excavating, Primo Mechanical Inc., Res Precast Inc., Riva Plumbing Inc., Solmar Development Corp., Speedy Contractors Ltd., Triple M Metal Corp., Verdi Inc.,     

All groups that engaged in political advertising ahead of and during the election campaign were obligated to submit a financial report on their fundraising and ad spending by last Friday. The reports of some of the 59 groups registered as non-party advertisers, including Lead Now, were not on file at Elections Ontario’s office when CBC News examined the documents Tuesday. 

According to the reports reviewed by CBC News, the biggest non-party spender in the run-up to the election campaign was the Ontario Medical Association. The doctors’ negotiating body spent a total of $596,652 in the campaign and pre-campaign period. The OMA spent about $248,000 of that on radio ads. 

Ontario Proud was the second biggest spender, followed by the Ontario Real Estate Association. Its report shows it spent $344,452 on advertising, predominantly for digital and radio ads.  

Working Families, whose anti-PC ad campaigns were credited with helping the Liberals win successive elections from 2007 onward, was the biggest spender among labour groups who have filed statements with Elections Ontario. However, its advertising outlay of $282,500 was a fraction of what it spent in previous campaigns, because of limits on spending ​the Wynne government imposed on such political action groups. 

Unifor was next among labour groups, spending $211,644, followed by the Amalgamated Transit Union, which spent $113,000.  

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Alberta political leaders fuel early provincial election speculation

[ad_1]

Let the election speculation begin.

The seats in the Alberta assembly are still warm from the fall sitting that ended Thursday but we’ve already moved past that.

Now, we’re focused on the next Big Thing in provincial politics: the timing of the 2019 election.

Premier Rachel Notley has helpfully added fuel to the speculation fire by declaring she might not have a spring sitting of the legislature, not even a day-long event where she’d introduce a feel-good speech from the throne.

‘May or may not be’ a budget

That would suggest she is thinking of going earlier next spring, not later.

« I will commit to ensuring that we consider all the options that are available to us to ensure that Albertans have a good understanding of what their options are before we go into the next election, » said Notley, in a comment to journalists that seemed to convey nothing but actually telegraphed a lot.

By refusing to commit herself to holding a spring sitting of the legislature — one that typically begins in February — Notley is opening the door to the possibility she’ll kick off the campaign as early as February.

Supporting that possibility was her comment she might not even introduce a budget before dropping the writ: « There may or may not be a budget. There are two options and one of those two options will happen. »

Those betting on an earlier election point out Notley will want to avoid releasing a budget that would be filled with bad fiscal news. But if Notley doesn’t have a financial plan she won’t be able to attack United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney for not producing his own pre-election shadow budget outlining what he would do as premier.

There is one thing she will commit herself to: « The election will be held within the times that the current legislation suggests. »

That legislation says the voting day must fall sometime from March 1 to May 31.

If Notley wanted to hold the election on the earliest day possible, she’d drop the writ and start the 28-day campaign on February 1.

That’s just what Kenney is urging her to do.

« Albertans don’t want to wait until May or June, and so I’m calling on the premier to hold that election as soon as possible under the legislation, » said Kenney. « That would be at the beginning of February. »

Last hurrah

There was definitely a feeling of denouement inside the legislature this week, as if the MLAs could sense this was the last time they’d be in the assembly before the election, perhaps forever.

If the public opinion polls are prescient, many of the NDP MLAs will not be returning. This week seemed to be their last hurrah.

On Tuesday, for example, NDP members spent so much time introducing guests that an exasperated UCP MLA Nathan Cooper finally interrupted to request they get on with question period.

On Thursday afternoon, when the fall sitting formally wrapped up, veteran MLA and NDP house leader Brian Mason, who will not be running next election, seemed to be waving goodbye.

« I love this place, » he said. « I’m going to miss it very much. »

He said afterwards that he has « no idea what the premier is going to decide » when it comes to the election. But his sentiment Thursday appeared to be one of a politician heading into the sunset, not one expecting to return once more to the legislative breach.

Final decision Notley’s

The final decision is, of course, Notley’s.

Journalists didn’t have much time to press her on the issue Thursday as she headed to Montreal for the first ministers meeting.

It promises to be an odd gathering with all kinds of strange bedfellows.

Notley, for example, is at odds with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe over the federal carbon tax. But the two are snuggled under the covers, politically speaking, on the need to have the leaders talk about the oil price differential that is playing havoc with Alberta’s economy and the provincial treasury.

Notley is likewise at odds with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, but the two are canoodling when it comes to reviving interest in the defunct Energy East pipeline project.

Depending on the issue, various premiers will be jumping in and out of bed with an assortment of other premiers. It’ll be more confusing than a British bedroom farce.

Notley, though, is mostly alone — an NDP premier who has more political foes than friends, who has been publicly critical of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and who is at odds with a litany of conservative premiers and is even feuding with Canada’s one other NDP premier, John Horgan of British Columbia.

Even if she makes allies in Montreal, they’re not going to be much help to her on the election campaign trail, whenever she calls it.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Ottawa planning larger effort to safeguard 2019 election

[ad_1]

OTTAWA–The Canadian government is planning a larger push to protect the integrity of the 2019 federal election against foreign meddling, the Star has learned.

Ottawa is expected within weeks to announce a broader effort by federal agencies and departments to safeguard the 2019 vote, sources have confirmed. The total number of departments is not yet known but it is described, in Ottawa terms, as a “whole of government” effort.

Both the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) are expected to have a role, but non-security agencies like Global Affairs Canada and the Privy Council Office are also involved.

The initiative was described to the Star by a number of officials from different agencies, who requested anonymity because the government’s planning is not yet complete. A spokesperson for Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould told the Star that her ministry was not prepared to comment. “I can only say we continue to work on new measures to protect against foreign interference as we approach the 2019 election,” wrote Amy Butcher in an email.

One of the key questions officials are grappling with is how exactly Canadians would be informed about any attempt — either by influencing Canadians’ debates through disinformation campaigns, or by a more direct efforts — to meddle with the election.

Call it the “James Comey question,” after the former FBI director who reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in the middle of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

It could also be called the “Barack Obama question,” since it’s exactly the same issue Obama’s administration dealt with in 2016 according to David Sanger, a New York Times reporter whose recent book, The Perfect Weapon, details Russia’s campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election and the Obama administration’s internal debates.

“(Obama argued) he would be accused of trying to swing the election in Hilary (Clinton’s) favour by arguing the Russians were coming in Trump’s favour,” Sanger told the Star.

“There’s not an easy answer (to that) but there’s an answer. The naming and shaming of cyber actors, once you’ve got reasonable confidence in the attribution, (becomes) routine … Once you’ve started that process, long before the election begins, the populace becomes accustomed to it. And you’re just calling balls and strikes, to use a very American metaphor,” he said.

“The hard thing would be not doing that, and then start doing it during the election.”

Obama’s decision was to largely keep quiet, except for a few short statements about Russia’s campaign. It doesn’t appear that the Canadian government, if it detects a foreign influence campaign, will do the same.

Melanie Wise, a spokesperson with Elections Canada, said the arm’s-length agency has been working with partners — including some in the security community — about how the Canadian public will be informed if a foreign agent or government is trying to swing the election.

“It’s a big question,” Wise said. “We’re meeting, actively, regularly, to discuss roles and responsibilities under various scenarios and we’re developing appropriate communications plans.”

Officials including Wise stressed that Elections Canada is independent of government. But Wise said the agency has been meeting with the commissioner of Canada Elections, who investigates and enforces elections law, CSE, CSIS, the RCMP, Public Safety Canada, and the Office of the National Security Advisor on elections integrity matters.

Michael Pal, a professor with the University of Ottawa’s faulty of law, said that more transparency around how the federal government would deal with these issues would be a positive.

“One of the things I’d like to see is a bit more public disclosure of what the protocols would be in the case of foreign interference … which the U.S. has done,” Pal said.

“They deemed elections critical infrastructure, but they also made public what would happen — Homeland Security contacts the secretary of state, then we announce it under these factors and conditions — because it can get very partisan very quickly, especially if the foreign interference is seen to help or hurt one party.

“I would like to see a commitment to setting out those standards in public,” Pal said. “I think it’s better for building trust in the Canadian public, if everybody knows the rules in advance.”

Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس