Happy 2017 mPolitics readers! Let’s take a look at the political happenings in the first week of the new year:
1.Prime Minister Trudeau announced he will not be attending the swearing-in of President Trump or the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Instead, he is taking a cross-country tour from about January 9th to 27th to meet with everyday Canadians, before heading to a Cabinet Retreat, and then back to Parliament on January 30th. The cross-country tour is largely seen as a response to the ‘cash-for-access’ fundraiser scandal last fall, in an appeal to make the PM more accessible. (Globe and Mail)
2. The Federal Conservative leadership race is heating up – the candidates vying for the position now totals 12 after Daniel Lindsay dropped out last week (National Post). Kevin O’Leary is expected to announce his entry after the first french language debate takes place on January 17th, as he is unilingual. Candidate Lisa Raitt has launched her website titled StopKevinOleary.com in a move that draws further attention to O’Leary but also pits her against the possible populist (CBC, CTV). Meanwhile Kellie Leitch continues on her populist pitch to screen immigrants for Canadian values (CBC).
3. Canadian job figures for 2016 were released this week and were not as stark as expected: 200,000 jobs were created in 2016 total, many of them full time, while the unemployment rate increased slightly in December due to more people entering the workforce to look for work. (CBC)
4. On Friday, the US Director of National Intelligence released a report to the public that found “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” (See the official report on New York Times). Over the Holidays, Obama responded to the alleged Russian hacking by dismissing all 35 Russian diplomats from their US posts. When President-elect Trump was briefed on the official report on Russian hacking this Friday, his response was to confirm the legitimacy of his election victory, thereby causing further rifts between himself and the intelligence community. (Globe and Mail, The Guardian)
Conservative Leadership Race Candidate Lisa Raitt