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Daily Archives: December 5, 2019
Why liberal satire and conservative outrage are both responses to mainstream media but with very different powers – Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
Posted: December 5, 2019 at 1:50 pm
Editors note: Our friend Danna Young is a scholar of, among other things, the intersection of entertainment and information particularly humors use within the political landscape and the ways in which its messages reach and affect audiences.
She has a terrific new book out this week from Oxford University Press: Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States. In this piece, she describes how conservative and liberal media differ not only in content, but also in form in ways that exacerbate polarization.
1996 was a banner year for Americas polarized media ecosystem.
In October, a new 24-hour news channel was introduced to American audiences. I figure there are 18 shows for freaks, the former Republican strategist and Rush Limbaugh producer Roger Ailes told the Associated Press in 1995. If theres one network for normal people itll balance out. As CEO of the new Fox News Channel, working alongside founder Rupert Murdoch, Ailes would have his chance to create that network for normal people, packed with analysis and opinion programming, with a dash of news for good measure. Among those analysis and opinion shows was The OReilly Report (later rebranded as The OReilly Factor), a conservative opinion talk show hosted by former Inside Edition entertainment talk show host Bill OReilly.
From its inception, The Factor defined the conservative television talk genre. It also exemplified a genre that Tufts Universitys Jeffrey Berry and Sarah Sobieraj refer to as outrage.
But what some people may have missed is that just three months earlier, in July 1996, another non-traditional form of news-ish programming launched also as a response to mainstream media. It was a news parody and satire program called The Daily Show, on Comedy Central. Created by Lizz Winstead and Madeleine Smithberg, The Daily Show featured headlines from the days pop culture news and introduced fictional news correspondents in pretend field segments.
Winstead and Smithberg set out to create a parody program that commented, not just on the politics of the day, but also on the emerging cable news landscape that produced politics as entertainment. In an interview with The Cut, Winstead recalled sitting in a bar, watching Gulf War coverage on CNN: We were all watching the Gulf War unfold and it felt like we were watching a made-for-TV show about the war. It changed my comedy I started writing about how we are served by the media. Their framing from the start: to do a news satire where the genre itself was a character in the show.
The twin births of The Daily Show and The OReilly Factor in 1996 were not a coincidence. Both programs were the result of changes in the economic and regulatory underpinnings of the media industry and the development of new cable and digital technologies. Both presented politically relevant information that offered an alternative (in form and function) to mainstream news. Both were reactions to a news environment being transformed by pressures stemming from media deregulation throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Both were positioned as reactions to problematic aspects of mainstream journalism. Both tapped into an increasingly polarized political electorate. And both reflected the economics of media fragmentation that replaced large, heterogeneous, mass audiences with small, homogenous, niche audiences homogeneous in demographic, psychographic, and even political characteristics.
When scholars and journalists discuss conservative outlets like Fox News, they typically position the cable network MSNBC as its closest functional equivalent on the left. While its fair to say that the MSNBC of 2019 is a liberal-leaning cable news outlet that features liberal political analysis programming, this iteration of the network is relatively recent. When MSNBC was introduced in 1996, the network featured talk shows and news analysis shows from across the political spectrum. In fact, several conservative political talk personalities (including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter) started their cable news careers at MSNBC. It wasnt until the mid-2000s that the network, failing in the ratings war, pivoted to the left and positioned itself as a liberal alternative to Fox.
But from the moment The Daily Show launched during that fateful summer of 1996, it did reflect an overwhelming liberal ideology. Im not referring to its targets or political point of view Im referring to the ideological leaning of the packaging and aesthetics of satire: packaging and aesthetics that run counter to those of conservative opinion talk.
Thats right: What if satire actually has a liberal bias, not due to its targets and arguments, but due to its playful aesthetic, layered and ironic rhetorical structures, and rampant self-deprecation? And what if political talk actually has a conservative bias, not due to its targets and arguments, but due to its constant threat-monitoring, didactic rhetorical structures, and moral seriousness?
Yes, the content, effects, and aesthetics of liberal satire and conservative opinion talk are completely different. So it can seem counterintuitive to conceptualize satire as any kind of liberal equivalent to conservative opinion talk. But we know that the two genres serve parallel functions for their audiences: highlighting important issues and events, setting their audiences agendas, framing the terms of debate, informing them on ideologically resonant issues, and even mobilizing them. And we know that the audiences of both liberal satire and conservative outrage show low trust in news, low trust in institutions, and enormous political efficacy (meaning confidence that they are equipped to participate politically). And both showed up in Americas living rooms within three months of each other in 1996 each framed as a response to problematic aspects of television news.
In my book Irony and Outrage, I argue that the modern birth of these genres can be traced to the same set of political and technological changes in the political and news ecosystem in the 1980s and 1990s. I also argue that the distinct look and feel of these genres can be traced to underlying differences in the psychological profiles of people on the left and the right differences that shape how we orient to the worlds around us and the kinds of content we are most likely to create and consume.
Decades of research from political psychology points to important psychological and physiological differences between liberals and conservatives that hinge on how we monitor our environments for and engage with threat. Conservatives, who are more prone to threat monitoring, have a lower tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity a trait that correlates with various lifestyle, occupational, and even artistic preferences. Liberals, who are less cognizant of threats in their environments, are less likely than conservatives to rely on emotional shortcuts or heuristics, instead thinking more carefully and evaluating information as it comes in.
Conservatives (especially social and cultural conservatives) tend to value efficiency and clarity. They prefer order, boundaries, and instinct. I find that that these inclinations shape their political information preferences preferences for didactic, morally serious, threat-oriented content that leaves very little doubt about what viewers should be worried about and who is to blame. Content like we find on Hannity or The Ingraham Angle.
Liberals, on the other hand, are more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. With a lower threat salience, they are more open to play and experimentation. These inclinations shape their political information preferences for layered, ironic, complex arguments that often never really say exactly what they mean. Content like we find on The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
While these genres have shared roots and may even serve parallel purposes for their viewers, the symbiotic relationship between each sides preferred aesthetic and the psychology of their viewers renders their impact quite asymmetrical.
The underlying logic and aesthetic of conservative outrage make it an ideal mechanism for tactical, goal-driven political mobilization. With its use of emotional language and focus on threats, it constitutes what philosopher Jacques Ellul refers to as agitation propaganda. Writing in 1962, Ellul described hate as the most profitable resource of agitation propaganda:
It is extremely easy to launch a revolutionary movement based on hatred of a particular enemy. Hatred is probably the most spontaneous and common sentiment; it consists of attributing ones misfortunes and sins to another
Importantly, it is not only the content of conservative outrage that renders it powerful. Rather, its the symbiosis between the threat-oriented content and the unique psychology of the conservative audience that facilitates its political impact. These conservative audience members, psychologically oriented towards protection and the maintenance of a stable society, are poised to respond to the people, groups, and institutions that have been identified as threats. The fact that these are the very characteristics of outrage content that have been harnessed by the conservative wing of the Republican Party should not come as a surprise.
In contrast, satire is a genre that remains in a state of play, downplays its own moral certainty and issues judgments through implication rather than proclamation. As a result, liberal political elites ability to harness satire and use it to their own ends is compromised. While the symbiosis between outrage and conservatism lends itself to strategic persuasion and mobilization, the symbiosis between the aesthetic of irony and the underlying psychology of liberalism render satire fruitful as a forum for exploration and rumination, but not for mobilization.
Consider one of the most critically acclaimed and influential pieces of satire of the past decade: Colberts 2011 creation of an actual super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.
Colberts coverage of super PACs and Citizens United influenced public opinion and knowledge of the topic. But, according to Colbert, he didnt create his super PAC with political or persuasive intentions at all. He didnt push the limits of campaign finance in an effort to fuel activism on the issue of campaign finance reform. Rather, the whole thing came about by accident.
After having mentioned a fictional super PAC at the end of a political parody on The Colbert Report, Comedy Central expressed resistance to the idea of an actual Colbert super PAC. Are you really going to get a PAC? a network representative asked Colbert. Because if you actually get a PAC, that could be trouble. To which Colbert replied: Well, then, Im definitely doing to do it.
And so began the largely organic and experimental process of launching and raising funds for an actual super PAC and learning about the (nearly nonexistent) limits of campaign financing. As Colbert explained: [At] every stage of it, I didnt know what was going to happen next. It was just an act of discovery. It was purely improvisational. And, you know, people would say, What is your plan? My plan is to see what I can and cannot do with it.
When The Daily Show and Fox News both appeared in 1996, it would have seemed ridiculous to suggest they had much in common. But I say that they do, especially in terms of the technological, political, journalistic, and regulatory changes that gave rise to both. Ironic satire and political outrage programming look and feel different because of the unique values, needs, and aesthetic preferences of the kinds of people who create and consume each one. But the potential for these two genres to be used strategically towards partisan mobilization is absolutely not the same.
If outrage is a well-trained attack dog that operates on command, satire is a raccoon hard to domesticate and capable of turning on anyone at any time.
Does satire have a liberal bias? Sure. Satire has a liberal psychological bias. But the only person who can successfully harness the power of satire is the satirist. Not political strategists. Not a political party. Not a presidential candidate. Outrage is the tool of conservative elites. But ironic satire is the tool of the liberal satirist alone.
Impeachment hearing: Nothing is more convincing than liberal professors yelling at you – New York Post
Posted: at 1:50 pm
If you loved the first round of impeachment hearings, do Democrats have a treat for you: Liberal college professors yelling!
You wonder if House Democrats do not watch CNN or MSNBC. If voters wanted to watch a group of experts scream their disapproval of President Trump, they could just turn on cable news or go online to watch reruns of Morning Joe from any day in the past three years.
Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan ruptured eardrums when she bellowed out her conclusion that in Trumps dealing with Ukraine, the president had attempted to strong-arm a foreign leader and that his conduct was a cardinal reason why the Constitution contains an impeachment power.
Karlan was the only woman on the stand, which naturally meant heavy praise from the national liberal media. Susan Glasser of The New Yorker tweeted that the professor was quickly emerging as the star of todays hearing on the constitutional basis for impeachment.
Quite the accomplishment, considering the Hollywood A-listers sitting next to her.
Noah Feldman of Harvard at least had hair straight out of central casting. But his line readings sounded a bit rote. Like Karlan, he wasnt there to offer staid legal context and analysis on the purpose and standard for impeachment. He was there to regurgitate the Democrats case.
The president, he said, abused his office by corruptly soliciting President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations of his political rivals in order to gain personal advantage, including in the 2020 presidential election.
Put that on a bumper sticker and call it a day.
Two were not enough, so Democrats invited University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt to serve as yet the third parrot, but with a jolt of caffeine. Trumps actions with Ukraine, he said, are worse than the misconduct of any prior president.
The misconduct of any prior president presumably includes President Richard Nixon lying about his knowledge of Watergate and President Bill Clinton lying under oath about an extramarital affair. And wait until he gets to the late 1800s.
That was all apparently childs play when compared to Trumps concern about Ukraines actions in the 2016 election and his questions about Joe Biden.
The sole voice of reason was provided by legal scholar and George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley, who took great liberty to criticize Trump and his posture toward Ukraine but who nonetheless said it didnt rise to the level of impeachment.
I get it, Turley said in his opening remarks. Youre mad.
Eddie Scarry is an author and columnist at the Washington Examiner.
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Posted: at 1:50 pm
Canada's political parties are preparing to start a new session of Parliament and run the daily gauntlet of question period, when opposition MPs fire out questions and hold the government to account.
Each opposition party leaderhas enlisted a team of critics to shadow the Liberal cabinet ministers, scrutinizetheir policies and keepthem on their toesin the House of Commons.
Here's a look at some of the personalities Canadians will see battling over key ministerial files.
(For the purpose of these comparisons, CBCNews looked mostly at the three main national political parties. Whilethe Bloc Qubcois will have more time than the NDP to grill ministers because it has a higher seat count,the BQ runs candidates only in Quebec and its MPs tend to ask questions solely onissues related to Quebec.)
It will be a differentdynamic in the House this time for the re-elected Liberals, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returnsto Parliament with a minority government and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheerworks to throw his toughest political punches while dealing with internal party critics and a push for a new leader.
After a nasty election campaign, many observers will be watching to see if that tone carries over to the House of Commons, or if the daily duels are more civil. After losing 15 seats, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is now relegated to fourth spot behind BQ LeaderYves-FranoisBlanchet, who will take his seat in the Commons for the first time. That means Singh will have lower priority when it comes to asking questions in question period, and less speaking time in the House of Commons.
Trudeau namedChrystia Freeland deputy prime minister the first deputy PM since Anne McLellan in Paul Martin's government. (Stephen Harper never appointed one.)She's also in charge of the challengingintergovernmental affairs file, tasked with strengthening national unity and leading talks with the provinces and territories on complexissues like health care, pipelines andclimate change at a time of deep political dissatisfaction in the West.
Conservative MP Leona Alleslev, a former Liberal who crossed the floor, will serve as Scheer'sdeputy leader. Alexandre Boulerice will act as Singh's right hand.
Losing their majority government means the Liberals no longer get to call all the shots. Instead, they must engage in tough negotiations with opposition caucuses to advance their legislative agenda. The House leaders for each party are in charge of parliamentary procedure andday-to-day business in the House, including negotiating the timing of debates and votes.
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez will be thrashing things out withConservative House Leader Candice Bergen,NDP House Leader Peter Julian and Bloc Quebecois House Leader Alain Therrien.
Perhaps no portfolio is more important than finance. The department decides how Canadians' tax dollars are spent and could be tasked with steering the economy through rough times ahead.
Finance Minister Bill Morneauis one of a handful of ministers Trudeau has kept on the same file since 2015. He'll be grilled by the same opposition critics he faced in the 43rd Parliament:Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre and NDP financecritic Peter Julian.
The next budget will be Morneau's most important yet, as it must win the confidence of the House to ensure the minority government survives though no party likely has an appetite for a snap election right now.
Public Safety is one of the biggest, most important government portfolios; it was presided over by one of Trudeau's most trusted ministers, Ralph Goodale, until he was defeated in the election. Former Toronto Police chief Bill Blair is stepping up to stickhandlesome important files: national security andborder control, and overseeing organizations such as theRCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Correctional Service Canada.
Delivering on the government's controversial promise to ban semi-automatic rifles and empower cities to ban handguns is likely to be a top priority for Blair. Monitoring his every move will be Conservative public safety critic Pierre Paul-Hus and NDP public safety critic Jack Harris.
Freeland remains the lead minister on the crucial Canada-U.S. relations file, dealing with the Trump administration on key projects such as getting the trilateral trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico approved in all three countries.
But new Foreign Affairs MinisterFranois-Philippe Champagne will still be kept busygiving voice to the Canadian government's positions on international matters, fromglobal conflicts to consular cases. The tense bilateral relationshipwith Chinais a pressing priority; Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavorare still being held inChinese prison cellsa year after their initial detention. Conservative MP Erin O'Tooleand the NDP's Jack Harris will be Champagne's critics.
David Lamettihas a dual role as minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, overseeing Canada's justice system and providing legal services to the government. He is tasked with ensuring all government legislation is constitutional.
Lamettican expect a lot of opposition interest in the matter of whether he intends to provide a remediation agreement to SNC-Lavalin, which could effectively halt criminal proceedings against the Quebec-based engineering company. Lametti has described deferred prosecution agreements a "legitimate legal option" but has said he will not make any decision because of ongoing litigation involving the company. (SNC-Lavalin's legal situation was, of course, at the heart of the political scandal that consumed much of Trudeau's first term and cost him two cabinet ministers.)
Lametti will face questions in the House of Commons from Conservative justice critic Rob Moore and NDP justice critic Randall Garrison.
Trudeau has stated that reconciliation and improving relations with Indigenous persons is a top priority for the government, and improving access to services for First Nations, Inuit and Mtisis critical to fulfilling that promise. Among the pressing tasks facing the governmentare working out a compensation program for First Nations children affected by the on-reserve child welfare system and providing clean water on reserves. Conservative MP Gary Vidal will serve as his party's Indigenous services critic.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh appointed himself to the critic's role.
Marco Mendicino will step into the hot seat as the new minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, overseeing the complex system that sets immigration levels,grants citizenship and manages the refugee intake. It also handles Canadians'travel documents, such as passports.
One of the most pressing problems for the government on this file is managing the flow of asylum seekers entering Canada outside official border points a trend that has generated considerable criticism for the Liberals. Conservative MP Peter Kent is his party's new immigration critic, while Jenny Kwan returns to the critic's role for the NDP.
Addressing climate change emerged as a top election issue, and it will continue to be a priority debate in the coming Parliament. Expect Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to be on his feet a lot,explaining howthe Liberal government will deliver on a plan to cut emissions while it proceeds with plans to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Some critics say the Liberal environmental plan is not robust enough, while others insist a central component of it, afederal carbon tax, will cost Canadian families and harm the economy.Kerry-Lynne Findlay will serve as the Conservative critic she succeeds Ed Fast, a former cabinet minister who declined a critic's post over concerns about Scheer's leadership. Laura Collins, a former city councillor and instructor at the University of Victoria, is the NDP's critic.
New Health Minister Patty Hajdu will be kept busy with issues ranging from the opioid crisis to taking the first steps toward a national pharmacare program. She also willbe tasked with working on a new health funding formulawith provincial and territorial leaders, who are pushing for a significant increase in federal transfers. Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu will keep her on her toes, along with NDP critic Don Davies.
The natural resources file comes with built-in controversy, as the battle rages over reconciling the need to protectthe environment with oil and gas development and transport. The portfolio also is responsible for promoting new energy sources (such as nuclear) and other sectors like forestry and mining.
But job number one for new Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan will be to get a pipeline built to ease political tensions in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the Liberals were shut out in the last election. O'Regan can expect a daily grilling from Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs and NDP critic Richard Cannings.
Rosemary Barton hosts special coverage of the Speech from the Throne beginning at 2 p.m.ET on CBC News Network, CBCnews.ca and Facebook. Tune in to CBC Radio One for coverage of the speech starting just before3:30p.m. ET. And find analysis and reaction on CBC News Network's Power & Politics at 5 p.m. ET, World at 6 on CBC Radio One and on CBC TV's The National at 10 p.m.
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Posted: at 1:50 pm
Jolle Boutin, with Premier Franois Legault in October, came out well ahead of the Liberals' Gertrude Bourdon.Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS
QUEBEC In another blow to the struggling Quebec Liberals, voters in the Quebec City riding of Jean-Talon have hopped aboard the governing Coalition Avenir Qubecs bandwagon.
After voting Liberal in every election since 1966, Jean-Talon flipped to the CAQ following a hard-fought byelection Monday to replace former cabinet minister Sbastien Proulx.
Not only does the CAQ gain a 76th MNA in the legislature, but the crushing defeat means the Liberals take a big symbolic hit politically. Jean-Talon, which had voted Liberal 18 consecutive times, was the only seat the party still held east of Montreal following the 2018 election debacle.
Proulx clung to the riding by 1,363 votes then as the CAQ swept the province, but this time it was not to be. The CAQ wields virtually all the power in the provincial capital.
As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, with 150 of 158 polls reporting, CAQ candidate Jolle Boutin, 40, a chief of staff to CAQ minister ric Caire, had bagged 43.35 per cent of the vote with 8,740 votes and was declared the winner.
That result put her well ahead of former nurse and hospital administrator Gertrude Bourdon, 64, the Liberal candidate, who was making her second attempt to get elected to the legislature. Bourdons score was 23.79 per cent of the vote, with a total of 4,796 votes.
In fact, the Liberals were even struggling to hold second place at various points of the evening, as Qubec solidaire candidate Olivier Bolduc, a 32-year-old court stenographer, came on strong. He ended up in third place with 17.98 per cent of the vote, or 3,625 votes.
The Parti Qubcois candidate, Sylvain Barrette, 61, who campaigned on a hardline independence platform, was a distant fourth with only 9.4 per cent of the vote, or 1,895 votes.
The participation rate was 51.29 per cent.
The CAQs win cast a shadow over the mood in the Ste-Foy brasserie where Liberals had gathered to watch the results roll in.
Many arrived with doubts they could hold the riding in the face of the CAQs rock-solid support in the polls. While the CAQ dropped six percentage points provincially in a Lger poll last week, it is still the hands-down leader in its political base of Quebec City.
The Liberals conceded early, with interim leader Pierre Arcand trying to look on the bright side.
We knew from the start of the campaign that this would be a difficult fight, Arcand told the small band of Liberals in a short speech. But we fought well in this campaign.
The Liberal Party of Quebec will continue working hard to regain the affection of Quebecers. In the history of political parties, it is completely normal that there be periods of reconstruction. Redefining ourselves is completely normal.
In 152 years of history, the Liberal Party has experienced difficult periods. What we need to retain is that our party is the only one to have crossed through them all.
Brushing aside a few tears, Bourdon added: To all of you, I say: until the next time.
Later, Arcand said it was clear voters opted to cast ballots for the government.
Across town, Premier Franois Legault was basking in the CAQs victory.
Jolle has managed to bring down the last Liberal fortress east of Montreal, he told a packed hall of CAQ supporters. Quebec is free of the Liberals.
Mondays loss hurts the Liberals even more because it comes as the party struggles to rebuild its image in ridings outside Montreal, which are dominated by francophone voters.
They now have no seats outside Montreal or the Outaouais region.
The party has just launched a leadership campaign to replace Philippe Couillard and could have used the bounce produced by a win in Jean-Talon.
With the stakes so high, the four main parties tossed everything in their arsenals at the byelection.
While the CAQs Boutin benefited from the support of the CAQ caucus, Bourdon arrived in the race with her load of political baggage. After flirting with both the CAQ and the Liberals in the 2018 campaign, she was accused of being opportunistic and without principles.
Mondays results do not significantly alter the composition of the legislature. Before the vote, the CAQ held 75 seats, the Liberals 28, QS 10 and the PQ nine. There are two independents.
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Posted: at 1:50 pm
"It's something that has been on my radar," says Christopher Skeete, the CAQ point man on anglo affairs.Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette
QUEBEC An anglophone MNAs bill to make free French language training available to all Quebecers makes sense and will be studied, Premier Franois Legault said Wednesday.
Liberal Gregory Kelleys proposed legislation, Bill 590, seemed to spark a turf war for anglophone votes with the Coalition Avenir Qubec government saying it was already working on the idea as part of its own outreach to the community.
Im very open the the idea, Legault told reporters as he arrived for question period at the legislature.
He said Christopher Skeete, the CAQ point man on anglo affairs, met many anglophone groups in the last year all through Quebec. The main suggestion that was coming, again and again, was ensuring that French lessons were offered to anglophones and not only immigrants.
So were really looking at that. It makes sense.
Kelley, the MNA for Jacques-Cartier, rose in the legislature Wednesday to table his one page bill, which proposes to amend the Charter of the French Language to establish free French instruction services for every person in Quebec.
Opposition MNAs are not allowed to table bills that commit the governing party to spending, so the bill leaves the actual application details to the government.Nobody has costed out the idea beyond the preliminary stage.
The first response came from the minister responsible for the French language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, who told Kelley in the legislature that the government welcomes his suggestion.
He said Skeete already had this idea following his recent tour of Quebec to meet anglophone groups.
He said Kelleys idea will be considered and allowed to percolate as the government prepares its own action plan on the French Language Charter, due in the winter of 2020.
Undaunted, Kelley said there is no real reason to wait.
Lets not just look at the bill lets adopt it, Kelley said. Its time to be bold.
Later, at a news conference, Kelley said the governments own Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers where he worked before being elected already has the needed data on the issue from a similar tour of anglophone groups conducted by the Liberals before they lost power to the CAQ.
Theyve had a year to do something, to table something that is concrete, and they have not, Kelley said. This is something Ive been thinking about for a while. This is something people are asking for.
But in the battle for anglophone affections, Skeete had a response at the ready.
Its something we have been focus-grouping to see what the reception would be, Skeete told reporters. Its not new; its not novel, but its a good idea.
The biggest concern I had was: Are people going to think were trying to assimilate the English-community? So I wanted to speak with various groups before proposing the idea. Its something that has been on my radar and I have been saying it for weeks with you guys.
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Posted: at 1:50 pm
The presidential candidate of the center-left coalition that has governed Uruguay for 15 years conceded defeat on Thursday, four days after a close and contentious runoff election, as the nation joined others in the region in shifting rightward.
The concession ushers in Luis Lacalle Pou of the center-right National Party as the countrys new leader. It also spells an end to the tenure of the Broad Front, a coalition of leftist and center-left parties that oversaw the legalization of abortion, same-sex marriage and the sale of marijuana.
Mr. Lacalle Pous rival, Daniel Martnez of the Broad Front, conceded even as the vote count continued on Thursday. Mr. Martnez acknowledged on Twitter that the counting of provisional ballots would not modify the trend and said he would meet with Mr. Lacalle Pou on Friday.
Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia have also moved rightward to varying degrees, though Argentina recently elected a center-left president. Venezuelas leftist government is hanging on despite political and economic turmoil.
Mr. Lacalle Pou, 46, the son of a former president, has vowed to unite the nation of 3.4 million people after the tight vote, a sentiment conveyed in his Twitter message thanking Mr. Martnez.
After the polls closed on Sunday, Mr. Lacalle Pou expressed confidence he would come out victorious but vowed to wait for the final tally to call himself president-elect.
Almost half voted for one candidate, and the other half plus a little bit for another candidate, Mr. Lacalle Pou said. Todays result confirms that the next government cant change one half of the country for another. We must unite society. We must unite Uruguayans.
That language marked a change in approach for Mr. Lacalle Pou, said Mariana Pomis, executive director of Cifra, a local polling firm.
That was about recognizing that there is a large group of people who voted for the other side, Ms. Pomis said. It was a recognition that there is an important group of people who see reality in a different way.
Mr. Lacalle Pou did suggest Thursday that he would pursue a change in the countrys foreign policy, exchanging a friendly message on Twitter with Juan Guaid, Venezuelas opposition leader, who has proclaimed himself the countrys rightful leader.
Uruguay had been one of the few countries in the region that did not recognize Mr. Guaid over the embattled Venezuelan president, Nicols Maduro. Mr. Lacalle Pou vowed to change that during his campaign, and on Thursday he responded to a congratulatory message from Mr. Guaid by vowing to defend democracies and human rights.
Mr. Lacalle Pou won in the runoff election by drawing support from candidates who did not make it to the second round. He will now face the challenge of keeping them united despite their disparate ideologies, at a time when several countries in the region are mired in protests and economic malaise.
Liberal Dem who stood against Ian Blackford at last election is now backing the SNP – Scotland on Sunday
Posted: at 1:50 pm
Published: 19:25 Wednesday 04 December 2019 Updated: 07:21 Thursday 05 December 2019
The Liberal Democrat candidate who stood against Ian Blackford in Ross, Skye and Lochaber at the last election has backed the SNP in the 12 December polls.
Jean Davis, who stood for the Lib Dems in the constituency at the 2017 election, has announced she will now support the SNP as the best option to stop Brexit and because we need to have a further debate and referendum on independence, especially if we do end up leaving the EU.
Ms Davis also said Ian Blackford had a strong connection to the constituency.
Mr Blackford said: At this crucial election, only a vote for the SNP can beat the Tories, escape Brexit, and put Scotlands future in Scotlands hands - not Boris Johnsons
I am delighted former Lib Dem candidate Jean Davis is backing the SNP at this election - joining thousands of former Labour, Lib Dem and Green voters supporting the SNP on 12 December as the main challenger to the Tories, the strongest party of Remain, and the only party offering people in Scotland a choice over our future.
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Posted: at 1:50 pm
We are at a pivotal moment in Albertas history. Once again, Alberta has no representation, no voice in a newly elected federal Liberal government. We are in in our fifth year of recession and unprecedented unemployment. Premier Jason Kenney has responded by creating the Fair Deal panel to consult Albertans on how best to respond to this crisis.
To make informed decisions, its time for Albertans to do a policy audit of the past 30 years. Where have we been? Where are we today? The results are not happy.
Alberta is worse off today than it was 30 years ago. Despite the considerable efforts of such exceptional leaders as Peter Lougheed, Preston Manning, Ralph Klein and others, Alberta is more vulnerable to destructive federal policies than we were in the 1980s. Heres the balance sheet:
Lougheeds greatest achievement was the addition of Section 92A to the 1982 Constitution Act. Section 92A affirms and protects all provinces rights to develop their own natural resources. For Alberta, this meant primarily oil and gas and was intended to prevent a repeat of Pierre Trudeaus National Energy Program. But today, his sons carbon tax and Bill C-69 the no-pipelines-ever law are NEP 2.0. They make section 92A almost meaningless. This stranding of Albertas oil is aggravated by the Liberals tanker ban off the north coast of B.C., Bill C-48. Of course, there is no similar ban on oil tankers in the St. Lawrence River bringing OPEC oil to refineries in Quebec.
Lougheed also was familiar with the centralist bias of the Supreme Court of Canada. He understood that the adoption of the 1982 Charter of Rights amplified this risk. As a precaution, Lougheed insisted on the addition of the Section 33 Notwithstanding Power to protect Alberta (and other provinces) from policy vetoes by judges appointed unilaterally by the prime minister. Today, the notwithstanding power is in disrepute and disuse.
Lougheed was also the strongest advocate for the new constitutional amending formula that treated all provinces equally and gave no special veto to Quebec. This was a major victory for all the western provinces. In 1996, Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien gave the veto power back to Quebec via ordinary legislation.
A final Lougheed achievement was his insistence on limiting the scope of Section 35 to existing aboriginal rights. He successfully demanded the insertion of existing to prevent it from becoming a blank cheque for judicial policy-making. The Supreme Court subsequently ignored the framers intent and invented the duty to consult, words found nowhere in the Constitution. The result is that Canadian pipeline policy is now made mainly by unelected, unaccountable judges.
Albertas economic collapse has been exacerbated by Ottawas abdication of federal responsibility for interprovincial pipelines. In the 1980s, it was unthinkable that a province could block the construction of an interprovincial pipeline that had been approved by the federal government. Now its happened twice: Energy East by Quebec and Trans Mountain by British Columbia. Nothing falls more clearly under federal jurisdiction. But in this falls election campaign, Justin Trudeau pandered to Quebec voters with the promise that he would fight (premiers Kenney and Ford) and the energy companies that support them.
Equalization and other federal transfer programs continue to drain billions of dollars a year out of Alberta over $300 billion since 2000. Meanwhile, Quebec continues to see its share of equalization dollars increase from less than $3 billion a year in the early 1980s to over $13 billion a year today or 66 cents of every dollar Ottawa sends out.
While shocking, these numbers are not that surprising. The Liberal party can and does form majority governments without electing any MPs from Alberta or Saskatchewan. But winning a big chunk of Quebecs 78 MPs is key to the Liberals strategy to build a majority government. Indeed, in 2015, Trudeau was the first Liberal leader to win a majority of Quebecs seats since his father did it in 1980. That hasnt changed.
What has changed is the federal civil service that administers all these programs. When Pierre Trudeau introduced bilingualism, it was sold as only a language proficiency test. But in practice, it has meant that a disproportionate number of federal bureaucrats, especially in the upper levels, are Quebec francophones. The result: administrative decisions in Ottawa are made through an ideological lens that is sympathetic to Quebecs concerns and interests.
In the 1980s, Preston Manning helped to form the new Reform party under the banner, The West Wants In. During the 1990s, Manning and the Reformers did well. They swept the Mulroney Conservatives off the electoral map in 1993 and in 1997 formed the official Opposition in Parliament. Fiscal reform, balanced budgets and Triple E Senate reform all seemed within reach. Today, federal deficits and debt are at record levels. The project of an elected Senate is dead, killed by an arbitrary 2014 Supreme Court ruling and a new Liberal government that was only too happy to let it die.
In the early 2000s, foreign capital investment poured into Alberta. ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Apache and Chevron all made major new investments. But it wasnt just American energy companies. New investors included Shell, BP and Centrica from the U.K.; Total from France; Statoil (now Equinor) from Norway and a host of smaller companies from South Korea, China and Japan.
Today, they are almost all gone. Since 2015, there has been a $50-billion exodus of foreign capital. Add the equity sell-off of Canadian oil and gas companies, and the loss soars past $100 billion. As noted, this collapse has been driven by policy, not oil prices. Where Alberta used to rank near the top in terms of energy sector competitiveness, we now rank 16th in a recent survey of 20 North American states and provinces. The problem: regulatory uncertainty, lack of pipeline access and taxes.
This explains why even Canadian energy companies are bailing out of Canada. TransCanada Pipeline has purged Canada from its new name, TC Energy, and is re-allocating its investments to Texas and Mexico. Encana, which began as Alberta Energy Corp. and grew to the highest-valued Canadian-owned energy company in the world, has changed its name to Ovintiv and slinked away to Denver.
The bottom line is clear: The political strategies of my generation of Albertans have not worked to improve Albertas position within Confederation. It would be a disservice to our childrens generation to say otherwise. Today, we are even more vulnerable to the Liberals tried and true strategy of pillaging Albertas economy to buy votes in Quebec and Ontario.
Its time for a Plan B.
Ted Morton is a former finance minister for Alberta and a senior fellow at the University of Calgarys School of Public Policy.
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Posted: at 1:50 pm
After Parliament returns next week, everyone will be watching to seewhether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's minority government survives a vote on the throne speech.
Butthat's not the only upcoming votethat could topple the Liberal government. It's not even the first one on the agenda.
Senior House of Commons officials told reporters Thursday that the first do-or-die vote after Parliament returns will be on a motionto allow the government to continue operating.
In last month's general election, the Liberals landed 13 seats shy of a majority in the House of Commons. That drop in seats means the Liberals will need the support of other parties on "confidence" votes, such as the speech from the throne and money bills, which include budgets.
In the parliamentary system, the government has to hold and maintain the confidence of the House of Commons. Parliamentary convention says that if a government loses a vote of confidence, the prime minister is expected to visit the governor general and either request a new election or resign.
There's no legal definition ofa confidence vote but, traditionally, they're considered to be votes to approve spending or implement the budget. The government can, if it chooses, hold a vote on the throne speech, which is considered a confidence vote.
The House of Commons can pass a motion that explicitly declares its lack of confidence in the government. The government can also declare a vote to be a matter of confidence.
The speech from the throne is usually the first vote of confidence (if the government chooses to hold a vote). But because this Parliament is resuming onDec. 5,the first vote of confidence on its agenda will be one to allow government spending to continue.
That vote is known as the "business of supply" in Commons-speak. Basically,MPsvote to supplythe government with money to operate to pay public servants, for example, or to cover the costof federal-provincialtransfer payments.
Parliament is scheduled tovote on the business of supplyon or before Dec. 10.
This year'sthrone speech will be the first to be deliveredin the new but temporary Senate building. Traditionally, the House of Commons and the Senate sit in the same building: centre block. But both chambers have been relocated temporarily to make room forrenovations that could take more than a decade to complete.
Instead of walking over to the red chamber for the throne speech, MPs and the newly elected Speaker will take a bus over to the Senate building on Rideau St. across from Ottawa's famed Chateau Laurier hotel.
Becauseit's not logistically possible to bus all 338 MPs to the Senate, a select few from the government and the opposition sides will take the bus. The ceremonial macethe gilded sceptre that represents the authority of the Speaker will also ride along.
The first session of Canada's 43rdParliament opens at 8.55 a.m.Thursday. The first order of business will beelecting a Speaker. After that, Governor GeneralJuliePayette will read the throne speech.
Posted: at 1:50 pm
As Parliament resumes, Foothills MP, John Barlow, is already hard at work advocating for the agriculture sector.
Barlow, who's the Conservative Party's newly appointed Shadow Minister of Agriculture, along with Conservative Associate Ag Critic, Richard Lehoux, sent a letter to the Liberal's Agriculture Minister calling for immediate action on the file in areas such as the Canola trade spat with China.
In the letter to Minister Marie Claude-Bibeau, they say while Canadian canola sits in the bins across Canada, the Government's support has been "underwhelming".
"There is no reason why it should have taken months for your government to follow through on the Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's call to take the Chinese government to the WTO (World Trade Organization)," the letter reads.
They say in order to reverse the trend, the Liberals must act on the Conservative's recommendations.
The outlined recommendations in the letter include the Government's immediate withdraw from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to increase inspections on all Chinese imports and examine possible retaliatory tariffs on Chinese imports.
The letter highlights a number of other actions they'd like the government take, such as providing compensation for supply managed sectors, reduce taxes and support farmers with mental health challenges.
"You can take these mental health issues seriously by first addressing the review of the Business Risk Management which is critical," the letter says.
Barlow and Lehoux conclude the letter by saying they will continue to fight for the ag sector and hold the Minister to account.
They say they're looking forward to meeting at the her earliest convince.
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