The Green Party’s new interim leader says the party has work to do dealing with damage inflicted by infighting that saw former leader Annamie Paul quit.
“The healing is partially about the conflicts but there’s a wider truth that there have been few people in the party that have been involved in that. The majority of the membership is not involved in these conflicts,” Amita Kuttner said at the first Parliament Hill news conference Wednesday in Ottawa.
The astrophysicist ran in last year’s leadership contest to succeed Elizabeth May, and ran as the party candidate in the B.C. riding of Burnaby North-Seymour in the 2019 election -- Liberal Terry Beech won.
The Greens have noted that 30-year-old Mx. Kuttner is the first trans person and the first person of East Asian descent to lead a national political party.
Ms. Paul, in announcing her departure in September, days after an election that saw her fail in a bid to win a seat, said that leading the Greens had been the worst period of her life. She has handed in her party membership. Over the last year, the party has been plagued by infighting. It won two seats in the September election.
Mx. Kuttner said, in Ottawa, that conflict in the party was painful to watch, and that now their goal is to facilitate a healing journey.
“I am here to listen, to love,” they said, but are “absolutely” not ruling out tough disciplinary action over past conduct.
“We have a code of conduct. We have a list of principles that we’re supposed to follow and if people’s behaviour is not in line with those then they won’t be welcome,” they said.
Mx. Kuttner said their focus is to bolster the party, organize fundraising and ensure the party runs a good leadership contest. Under the Green Party’s constitution, a leadership contest must start within six months of the appointment of the interim leader.
Mx. Kuttner said they are not planning to seek the permanent leadership.
In a Nov. 24 statement announcing Mx. Kuttner’s appointment, the party said there were 20 applicants for the interim leader’s post, with half from equity-seeking groups.
Mx. Kuttner noted that MP Elizabeth May will continue as the Green Party’s parliamentary leader.
Meanwhile: In her first postelection interview, Ms. Paul said that, ahead of the televised federal leaders’ debates, there was no budget to prepare so she worked with a number of 23-year-old volunteers, while her husband stood in as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and her son acted as Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet. Story here, from iPOLITICS.
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FEDS HOLD BACK ON COVID-19 TESTING DETAILS - The federal government is not yet saying when its new requirement for COVID-19 testing for all travellers on arrival in Canada from countries other than the United States will take effect. Story here. Meanwhile there’s a Globe and Mail Explainer here on the new variant.
GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO TIMELINE ON VICTIMS BILL - The federal government is sticking to a three-year timeline to implement its promised victims’ bill of rights for the military justice system, while the Opposition says it is taking too long. Story here.
EXPLAINING THE INFLATION FUROR - Reporter Mark Rendell looks here at the question of whether Canadians will be convinced by the bid by the federal Conservatives to pin rising prices on the Trudeau government.
CONTINUED ANTI-INDIGENOUS RACISM IN B.C. HEALTH: REPORT - A progress report on a plan to address anti-Indigenous racism in British Columbia’s health-care system says Aboriginal patients continue to disproportionately die as a result of the impacts of racism and the two ongoing public-health emergencies. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS - Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, Dec.1, accessible here.
NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR ARRIVES - The new United States ambassador in Canada has arrived. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa announced the arrival of Ambassador-designate David L. Cohen on Wednesday, saying he will present his credentials to the Governor-General, and formally begin his tenure. “Together with our Canadian partners, my agenda is to advance our shared priorities as President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau outlined in the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership,” he said in a statement.
TRUDEAU ON COVID-19 - While heading into a Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered a few comments on the latest developments in the pandemic, namely: “In terms of boosters our first priority is following the recommendations of [the National Advisory Committee on Immunization], of the experts in terms of when they should happen, what’s the impact of the Omicron variant on that. There is not an issue aout quantity of vaccines. We have lots of vaccines for boosters in Canada. We’re receiving more into the new year. We are fine in terms of quantity. The issue is what is the best recommendation for people to get those boosters and when.”
THE DECIBEL - Q&A
In today’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, The Decibel, Globe Parliamentary reporter Janice Dickson talks with host Menaka Raman-Wilms about a newly announced third federal bill aimed at effectively banning the disgraced practice of conversion, which purports to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Here’s a preview:
Q-It might be a little early to tell because this was just introduced, but is there the sense that similar arguments will come up again [over the legislation]?
A-I think it’s likely that some of those points will be raised again, but ultimately members of Parliament are very familiar with this legislation. It’s, of course, a little further reaching than it had been before. But I think it will still have the support from the majority of Parliamentarians.
Q-From what you’ve been hearing and who you have been talking to as well, do experts think that this legislation will help? You mentioned before that there is maybe the concern that it’s something that might happen in the shadows a lot more than we know about. Is there there risk that it could potentially help to drive some of these practices underground?
A-My impression, after this bill was introduced on Monday, is that it was widely applauded by a lot of experts who have been calling for legislation for some time. They want to see this practice that has been going on criminalized. They want victims to have somewhere to go and hopefully stop those who are performing this or who are advertising this online to put a stop to all of that so on Monday, when the legislation was introduced, they really were complimentary of this and hoping. Their main point was hoping this gets passed soon.”
You can listen to the rest of the episode here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Private meetings. The Prime Minister spoke with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and attends the National Caucus meeting. The Prime Minister also attends Question Period. He was scheduled to participate in a virtual candle lighting ceremony in celebration of Hanukkah, and deliver brief remarks.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
Private meetings. The Deputy Prime Minister speaks virtually with Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson in addition to attending the national caucus meeting, attending Question Period and attending a virtual candle lighting ceremony in celebration of Hanukkah.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a news conference at Parliament Hill.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole attended a caucus meeting.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended the NDP National Caucus meeting, held a media availability and met with Chiefs of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation. He also attended Question Period and participated in the National Festival of Lights Event to celebrate Hanukkah.
OPINION - INFLATION
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on how inflation will make public-sector negotiations tougher for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “Now that inflation is back, higher public-sector wage demands are back, too. And Mr. Trudeau’s government can expect the political pressures that come with them. Already, the country’s largest public-sector union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, is warning that it expects wages to keep up with what it calls “soaring” inflation when it negotiates contracts for 110,000 civil servants in 2022. They’re asking for raises of 4.5 per cent each year for three years. Talks start in January. PSAC members won’t be the only ones looking for wage increases. Employees who feel they are losing purchasing power want to be kept whole. Unions will push for higher raises, not just for this year, but over the course of their contracts.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how inflation is not (yet) a crisis, but it is a problem: “The issue is what happens next. Whether or not the deficit spending and monetary creation of the past 18 months are to blame for inflation’s current rise, what is true is that keeping inflation – and as important, inflation expectations – in check depends upon their discontinuance. Conservatives are right to raise the alarm at the Liberals’ apparent intention to run large deficits indefinitely. But whether these prove inflationary depends on what the Bank does. The case for panic asks us believe, to borrow the economist Tyler Cowen’s formulation, that the Bank of Canada either does not want to control inflation or is not able to. I see no reason to suppose either is true. The Bank has already ceased further net purchases of government bonds, and has signalled its intent to let interest rates rise. Between Liberal complacency and Conservative hysteria, then, there is still a third option: prudent caution.”
Konrad Yabauski (The Globe and Mail) on how MP Pierre Poilievre’s critique of central bank will stick if inflation lingers: “This disconnect between Main Street and Bay Street has left the Bank of Canada with some explaining to do, as it fends off criticism that the extraordinary monetary stimulus it has unleased in the past 18 months has served mainly to line the pockets of already rich bankers and investors, while igniting inflationary pressures that disproportionally hurt working-class Canadians and the poor.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how it’s time to accept we will never live in a COVID-19-free world again: “Omicron, and the fear it’s incited, should be something of which we make good use. It can serve as a reminder of what experts have been telling us for some time – it’s pretty unlikely we will ever go back to a zero-COVID world. It’s time we started to embrace the likelihood that these masks we must put on to enter restaurants and jump on buses aren’t coming off this year or next. It may be something that becomes normalized. Maybe in the best-case scenario, we see COVID-19 evolve into a flu-like, seasonal phenomenon that we take precautions to avoid getting and spreading.”
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on how the Liberals’ beefed-up ban on conversion therapy is a Charter challenge in the making: “But the government will undoubtedly face legal challenges – as well as community resistance, particularly from some religious organizations – if it succeeds in criminalizing the offering of a service to adults, even if that service is bogus and harmful. Proponents of an outright ban will argue that it should not be legal to help people injure themselves. But in Canada it is legal for homeopaths, for example, to prescribe nosodes – which are essentially vials of water, infused with hope and dogma – in lieu of vaccines for illnesses such as whooping cough, measles and mumps.”
Steve Paikin (TVO) on this week’s 30th anniversary of the craziest leadership convention Ontario ever saw: “ [Dalton] McGuinty’s “Big Mo” continued. He passed Cordiano on the fourth ballot (2:35 a.m.), setting up a showdown with Kennedy on the fifth and final ballot, which wasn’t announced until 4:25 a.m. Astonishingly, Cordiano brought more than 80 per cent of his delegates to McGuinty, which was well more than enough to put the Ottawa MPP over the top. Party officials gave each of the two finalists a slip of paper with the results before the announcement was made to the crowd. McGuinty saw the result, turned to his wife, and simply said: “I won.” Terrie’s response was, shall we say, not completely enthusiastic. “You said you weren’t going to win!” she responded. While McGuinty’s life was about to change immeasurably, so was hers, thanks to her husband’s 53 to 47 per cent victory.”
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