Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday July 29, 2020
NHL returns after months-long hiatus due to coronavirus pandemic
May 15, 2020
NHL hockey returns Tuesday after a months-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Montreal Canadiens are in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers meet the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place as part of Tuesday’s three-game exhibition schedule that kicks off Phase 4 of the league’s return-to-play plan.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers square off in Toronto in Tuesday’s other game.
Edmonton and Toronto are serving as hub cities for the 24 NHL teams that are returning to action, though the Canadiens and Flames are listed as the home teams Tuesday night.
Each team will play an exhibition game at Scotiabank Arena or Rogers Place between Tuesday and Thursday before the playoff qualification round begin on Saturday.
The NHL suspended its season March 12 due to the spreading global pandemic and announced its four-stage return plan May 26. (Global)
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to be on the “Trust in Science” team.
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday March 10, 2020
For Steven Del Duca, winning the Ontario Liberal leadership was the easy job.
Del Duca, a former cabinet minister, succeeds Kathleen Wynne as party leader after his landslide first-ballot victory at Saturday’s Liberal convention in Mississauga.
Now Del Duca faces the far more difficult tasks of rebuilding his third-place party, taking on incumbent Premier Doug Ford, and giving Ontarians who want Ford gone a compelling reason to vote Liberal in 2022 rather than NDP or Green.
Here’s what’s on Steven Del Duca’s to-do list:
1. Introduce himself to Ontarians
October 23, 2001
People who follow politics closely know Del Duca from his six years as the Liberal MPP for Vaughan, Ont., including four years in cabinet. But for the vast majority of Ontario voters, he’s unknown.
His back story has the potential for some appeal: he’s a first generation Canadian, son of a Scottish mother and Italian father. He went to law school, graduating from Osgoode Hall in Toronto in 2007.
While even his supporters admit he’s far from the most charismatic politician Ontario has ever seen, they argue he is smart, hard-working and plain-spoken.
2. Deal with his baggage
May 15, 2015
Del Duca’s tenure as transportation minister is not without controversy. He was criticized in the 2018 auditor general’s report for approving construction of two GO stations against the advice of Metrolinx staff, including one at Kirby, near his Vaughan riding.
Del Duca defends the move as the right call, saying the analysis by Metrolinx didn’t take into account expected population growth.
Just last month, CBC News revealed Del Duca built a backyard swimming pool without all the necessary permits and too close to neighbouring conservation land, according to municipal bylaws. Del Duca calls it an “embarrassing … honest mistake” and is seeking a land swap to bring the pool into compliance.
As a key member of Wynne’s government, Del Duca will also need to figure out whether to distance himself from her record, embrace her accomplishments, or toe some fine line between the two.
3. Rebuild the Liberal machine
March 30, 2016
Among Del Duca’s most important tasks now: “the unglamorous but very, very important work of party building,” says one of his senior campaign advisers. This means nurturing local riding associations, recruiting candidates, developing policies and raising money, all with an eye toward the June 2022 election.
The 2018 election disaster left the Ontario Liberals with not only their worst result in party history, but also with a financial mess. The party raised just $970,000 last year, according to donations recorded on the Elections Ontario website. It’s a far cry from the PCs’ haul last year in excess of $4.8 million. Doug Ford raked in more than $2 million on just one night this past week, at his annual leaders’ dinner.
4. Contrast with the NDP
April 18, 2018
Much could change by the time Ontarians go the polls in 2022, but right now the next election looks set to be a referendum on Doug Ford. People who want to vote “no” in that referendum will have options other than Del Duca’s Liberals, chiefly Horwath’s New Democrats.
Given that the Liberals and NDP (as well as the Greens) will be fishing in the same pool of anti-Ford voters, Del Duca needs to contrast himself as the clear alternative. He’ll likely do that by painting the New Democrats as ineffective in holding Ford to account, as he did in his speech to the convention Saturday, and by whipping up fears that an NDP government would harm the economy.
5. Face off against Doug Ford
November 1, 2019
There are plenty of voices out there insisting there’s no way Doug Ford can win a second term in 2022, but that’s a rather naive view. Ford loves campaigning, he has a formidable re-election team and his party is rolling in cash.
The Liberals cannot simply rely on Ford losing. Del Duca knows that, as does his team. “Anyone who suggests that this government is done for doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” said his senior adviser. (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday June 11, 2019
The politics of basketball
The country is roaring for the Raptors as they take on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals, and politicians are capitalizing on the buzz.
October 16, 2015
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh both attended previous playoff games, and former U.S. president Barack Obama also made a surprise appearance at a game in Toronto.
Former high-level staff members to two prime ministers say there’s all kinds of political and personal reasons for politicians to try to tap into the Raptors’ crowd.
“It’s young, it’s urban, it’s hip, it’s diverse. And so if you’re Justin Trudeau, you dig being around that because you think that’s on brand for you. If you’re Andrew Scheer, being around that demonstrates ‘see I’m not not those things,'” Scott Reid, director of communications to former prime minister Paul Martin, told The House.
But he also cautioned it’s not just about the politics.
“Let’s not lose sight of the possibility that people are fans and occasionally politicians are also people.”
Aside from potential fan-motivations, Dennis Matthews, who served as head of advertising for former prime minister Stephen Harper, said it’s never a bad thing to be connected to a success.
“Politicians like to be associated with things that are winning,” he said.
When asked whether they thought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be making an appearance at a finals game, they both thought it’s a possibility — though it would have to be calculated.
Both men said you don’t want a politician at a deciding game (lest a loss result in the notion they somehow cursed the game), and you don’t want them courtside (or seeming out of touch with Canadians).
The diversity of the team and Toronto has factored in to the political appearances at the games, Reid and Matthews agreed.
The team is situated in an election battleground, and the demographics represent votes to be snapped up.
“I’d be looking at that audience base and I’d be saying ‘hey I want these people to to vote for me,'” Matthews said,
Reid agreed, adding how he’d look at those votes for political strategy.
“How do I get those? Because if I do, I am bringing in new votes into the column and I’m bringing them for me.” (CBC)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday April 2, 2019
Trudeau apologizes to Grassy Narrows protester thanked for ‘donation,’ kicked out of Liberal Party fundraiser
February 15, 2019
Two former women cabinet minister from Justin Trudeau’s government, Jody Wilson-Raybould (Canada’s first indigenous Attorney General and Justice Minister) and Jane Philpott (Treasury Board President), were unceremoniously booted from party caucus today.
This follows an embarrassing moment for the Prime Minister from a few days earlier:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for how he responded to a protester Wednesday evening who was advocating on behalf of a northern Ontario First Nation struggling with health effects linked to historical industrial dumping upstream from the community.
Grassy Narrows First Nation held a protest and demonstration in Toronto on Wednesday evening during a Liberal Party fundraiser to press the Trudeau government on its promise to fund a specialized mercury treatment facility in the northwestern Ontario community that’s about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora.
During the event, the protester appeared to be escorted out of the room while Trudeau thanked her for her “donation.”
“From time to time, I’m in situations where people are expressing concerns or protesting a particular thing, and I always try to be respectful and always try to engage with them in a positive way,” Trudeau told reporters in Halifax on Thursday morning.
“I didn’t do that last night — last night I lacked respect towards them and I apologize.”
Grassy Narrows also is pushing for federal help for remediation of the polluted English-Wabigoon River system and better compensation for people affected by the toxic element.
In a video posted to the Council of Canadians’ verified Facebook page Wednesday evening, a woman is shown standing in front of the stage where Trudeau is standing; she appears to unfurl a banner that references the prime minister and compensation for the “mercury crisis.” She is heard saying “people in Grassy Narrows are suffering from mercury poisoning, you committed to addressing this crisis,” while appearing to be removed from the room.
Trudeau, still on the stage, is heard saying, while facing the direction in which the woman was taken out of the room, “Thank you for being here, thank you very much for your donation tonight, I really appreciate it,” which draws cheers and applause from the crowd.
The Grassy Narrows protest in Toronto was at the Omni King Edward Hotel, where Trudeau was scheduled to appear at a Laurier Club donor “appreciation event.”
Former Indigenous services minister Jane Philpott pledged in late 2017 that Ottawa would fund the development and construction of a treatment facility for people exposed to mercury-related illnesses in Grassy Narrows. A number of studies have linked the comparatively poor health of people in the community to the dumping of mercury-contaminated effluent by Reed Paper, former owners of the mill in Dryden, into the river where members of the First Nation have traditionally fished.
The dumping also affected Wabaseemoong, another First Nation, about 100 kilometres northwest of Kenora. (Source: CBC News)