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Hill Life & People

Canadian group mobilizes against Trump

By Derek Abma      
A group called Canadians Rallying Against Trump is trying to prevent Donald Trump from being elected president of the United States. Photograph by Gage Skidmore
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Apparently, there are people in Canada who are not fond of Donald Trump. Yes, it is a bit strange. The U.S. Republican presidential nominee seems like a nice-enough fellow, though somewhat humble and understated for someone seeking such a high-profile job.

Nonetheless, there is a volunteer group called Canadians Rallying Against Trump, which was officially launched on Sept. 27, the morning after first presidential debate held between Mr. Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton last week.

“Donald Trump poses a serious threat to our world,” group founder Glyn Lewis said in a press release.

Mr. Lewis said Canadians interested in helping will be connected to Ms. Clinton’s campaign team. Some volunteers will travel to battleground states during the next several weeks to help reach out to voters, and there will also be some campaigning by phone.

“Every American we reach and encourage to vote will make a difference,” he said.

Some of the people who are part of this anti-Trump campaign were also part of a group that supported U.S. President Barack Obama before he got elected; that organization was called Canadians for Obama.

Mr. Lewis said in an email that his organization is run by a core group of about 10 people, most of them based in Vancouver with some in Ottawa. He expects many more volunteers to step forward in the coming weeks to help support the cause.

Asked how Americans respond to Canadians campaigning for a U.S. election, he recalled his experience eight years ago during the Obama campaign.

“Every so often it would come up that I was a Canadian volunteer,” said Mr. Lewis, who was 24 during Mr. Obama’s first presidential campaign. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time people thought it was inspiring that a young Canadian would spend months volunteering for a campaign in their country. I think it helped them realize how much was really at stake, not just in the U.S. but for the entire world.”

Harper book due out on anniversary of defeat


Cover for new Harper book. Image courtesy of McGill-Queen’s University Press

A new book on former prime minister Stephen Harper, promising to challenge pre-existing notions, is due out on Oct. 19, exactly one year after the federal election that resulted in Mr. Harper’s Conservative government being replaced by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

The book is called The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy and is published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. It’s edited by Graham Fox, CEO of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, and Jennifer Ditchburn, editor-in-chief of this organization’s Policy Options magazine.

It includes sections by several writers on different subjects, including the book’s editors. Mr. Fox has written about Mr. Harper’s lasting effect on intergovernmental affairs and Canadian federalism, while Ms. Ditchburn has written about the former government’s impact on government communications and the media.

“Canadians have strong opinions about Stephen Harper, positive and negative,” Mr. Fox said in a press release. “We wanted to set aside all the assumptions, and do a deeper analysis of his impact on policy. Our goal in producing this book is to cut through the partisan noise and give readers an assessment that’s dispassionate and rooted in evidence.”

Other contributors include Toronto Star and iPolitics writer Susan Delacourt addressing Mr. Harper’s impact on “the conduct of politics,” CBC reporter Murray Brewster on defence policy, iPolitics contributor and former Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Tasha Kheiridden on justice policy, and University of Ottawa professor David Zussman on the government’s relationship with the public service.

Book offers insight into minds of Quebecers


A new book offers insight into Quebecers. Photograph by Tony Webster

What’s up with Quebec? Many in English Canada, particularly those with an interest in politics, have asked that question repeatedly over the last several decades.

Finally, a book has come along that will hopefully put it all in perspective.

Cracking the Quebec Code: The 7 Keys to Understanding Quebecers, published by Juniper Publishing, went on sale last week. Its authors are pollster Jean-Marc Léger, HEC Montréal marketing instructor Jacques Nantel, and longtime Quebec journalist Pierre Duhamel.

The book draws on 30 years of survey research, with more than 1,000 different questions posed, showing how Quebecers differ from other Canadians and also Americans.

A press release for the book said it “draws a new portrait of Quebec uniqueness. A surprising portrait and one that doesn’t rest on easy assumptions, it will crack the code of Quebec for you.”

Some of the general conclusions of the research, spelled out in the first chapter, are: Quebecers are not as different from the rest of Canada as they think; there are substantial differences between Quebecers across different regions of the province; the rest of Canada is not what Quebecers think it is; Quebec has changed significantly since the Quiet Revolution more than 50 years ago; and differences between Quebecers and other Canadians are lessening over time.

That said, the book spells out the following seven general characteristics of Quebecers: they place a high priority on fun and pleasure; they are easygoing, seeking consensus over argument; they are non-committal on political choices and other matters; they often portray themselves as victims; they are “villagers,” being much more products of their local environments than other North Americans; they are creative; and they are proud and ambitious.

Bélanger going-away party planned for Brixton’s on Oct. 4

A going-away evening of cheers and beers for outgoing NDP staffer Karl Bélanger is set for Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Brixton’s on Sparks Street in Ottawa.

Among other duties, Mr. Bélanger has worked for NDP leaders Alexa McDonough, Jack Layton, Nycole Turmel, and most recently Tom Mulcair. He announced on Twitter last month his work on the Hill is done, and told The Hill Times he is a “free agent” with no definite plans for future employment.

As is common with going-away parties involving comms people or journalists, Don Martin, host of CTV’s Power Play, is acting as chief organizer. He sent an email, distributed to Parliamentary Press Gallery members, asking people to “attend a farewell cocktail reception for federal NDP force of media-spinning personality Karl Bélanger.

“At this gathering, Karl will be accepting job-search tips, auditioning for political shows, and looking for generous people to buy him drinks as he departs Parliament Hill forever, subject to change without notice.”

Mr. Martin said the party goes from 6 p.m. to whenever bar staff start kicking people out.

And speaking of going-away parties …

Karl Belanger cbc Terry Maleski 2.t5307d73e.m800.xb94cc87b

Longtime NDP staffer Karl Bélanger, left, and CBC journalist Terry Milewski both have going-away parties this week. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Milewski adieu get-together set for Oct. 5 at Met

A goodbye bash for retired CBC reporter Terry Milewski is set for Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Métropolitain Brasserie on Sussex Drive in Ottawa.

Mr. Milewski completed his tenure as a full-time journalist at the CBC last week after more than 40 years in the profession, the bulk of which was spent working for Canada’s public broadcaster. He said he’ll still be doing some part-time work for the CBC.

CBC producer Sara Brunetti sent an invitation through the Parliamentary Press Gallery that makes it a hard occasion to resist: “He’s been sued, suspended, and scorned. Now it’s time to celebrate his four decades of afflicting the comfortable. The noted ‘old Trotskyite’ Terry Milewski is seceding from his daily labours to lob grenades on a more graduated basis.

“Please join the dissemblers, prevaricators, and scoundrels who will be celebrating his leave.”

The party is slated for 7 to 10 p.m.

StatsCan seeks media input on census releases

It’s getting close to that time again, which comes every five years, when Statistics Canada holds a series of data releases and—here’s the fun part—overnight lockups for journalists related to the latest census.

The numbers agency has sent out surveys to reporters asking questions such as how much time they expect to need in the lockup. The choices are coming in at midnight and getting 8.5 hours, arriving at 4 a.m. to get 4.5 hours, or 6 a.m. for 2.5 hours.

Among other things, Statistics Canada is asking how important it is, to whether people go or not, that WiFi will not be available to immediately transmit stories after lockups end.

The deadline for sending in completed surveys was Friday, Sept. 30.

Releases dates set for next year for the 2016 census are as follows: population and dwelling counts on Feb. 8: age, sex, and dwelling types on May 3; agriculture on May 10; families, households, marital status, and language on Aug. 2; income on Sept. 13; immigration, housing, and aboriginals on Oct. 25; and education and labour on Nov. 29.


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