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The Kenney campaign con and the new meaning of narrative

By Lisa Van Dusen      

Political actors are now being cast, scripted, and rewarded to perform in engineered narratives as a means to an end. Really.

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, pictured speaking to reporters in Ottawa on May 7, 2018, has been accused of recruiting former Wildrose Party president Jeff Callaway to do his dirty work against rival Brian Jean in the 2017 UCP leadership contest as a ‘kamikaze candidate.’ Both Mr. Callaway and Mr. Kenney, though, deny they planned a fake leadership bid. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

The word “narrative” as a political term of art is by no means new. The concept has been around since long before the days when Hollywood production values migrated to the White House with Ronald Reagan. From “the boy from Baie-Comeau” defining Brian Mulroney’s rise from son of an electrician in a Quebec mill town, to the impact of Bill Clinton’s Man from Hope video at the 1992 Democratic Convention, politicians have used storytelling to connect to the public.

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Guide to Using Social and Digital Tools in Election Campaigns: Digital and Social Tools that Politicos are Using to get Elected, Raise Funds, and Recruit Volunteers
Guide to Using Social and Digital Tools in Election Campaigns

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Charting the CBC’s challenging present and uncertain future
Charting the CBC's challenging present and uncertain future: Where it has been and where it is going provides an insider profile of the struggles faced by Canada’s public broadcaster in the 21st century.

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You Might Be From Canada If…
You Might Be From Canada If . . . is a delightful, illustrated romp through this country as it celebrates its 150th birthday.

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In parliamentary ‘game of chicken,’ NDP side with Liberals to defeat Conservative motion, averting snap election

News|By Beatrice Paez
The nail-biter 146-180 vote came down in large part to the NDP. Its 24 representatives voted alongside the Liberals and the Greens’ three-member caucus in defeating a Conservative motion.

Liberal MP Lamoureux continues prolific speaking record, raising opposition ire

‘I’m living the dream,’ says Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux of his regular House of Commons presence. With more than 550 House interventions so far this Parliament, he’s second only to the Speaker.

Feds misled House Defence Committee in 2019 on status of peacekeeping pledges

News|By Neil Moss
'It's a bald-faced lie if they actually said they did and didn't,' says Conservative Defence Committee vice-chair James Bezan of the non-registration of the promised 200-member Quick Reaction Force.

Canada can increase pressure on NATO-ally Turkey to calm Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Armenian envoy

Anahit Harutyunyan says new information proves Canadian drones are being used by Turkish-backed Azerbaijani fighters, justifying an ‘indefinite’ arms ban on Turkey.

Infrastructure bank’s $10-billion growth plan raises hope of green bond push in Canada

Green bonds are fixed-income financial instruments usually used to secure funding for sustainable infrastructure projects.

Violence directed at Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia leaves ‘black eye’ on Canada, says Mi’kmaq Senator, as he and rookie Mi’kmaq Grit MP urge long-term solution

News|By Palak Mangat
'I think the current route is a dead end, so if they continue to bang their heads against a wall, everyone’s going to get a headache,' says Independent Nova Scotia Senator Dan Christmas.

House vote looms over Conservative motion that could trigger federal election, as Liberals double down

News|By Palak Mangat
Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez dodged questions if the government was responsible for setting the stage for a stand-off that could trigger an election, saying the question should be asked of the Conservatives.

‘Six systemic crises’ confronting Canada, and politicians, policy-makers, health-care professionals need ‘systems thinking’ to tackle them, says public policy expert

News|By Mike Lapointe
Global Brief magazine editor Irvin Studin says politicians and policy-makers' thinking is 'too small, it’s too linear, it’s too path dependent, and it looks increasingly absurd as these systemic crises.'

Canada needs a new ‘fiscal anchor’ and Freeland needs to share financial plans, says PBO Giroux

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says he's found it 'much more difficult to get information out of the minister’s officer' since Parliament returned with Chrystia Freeland in charge of the nation's finances.
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