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Ghazala Khan, mother of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan, has something to say about Donald Trump. 

“He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.”

Ghazala stood on stage with her husband, Khizr Khan, at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, as he gave an impassioned speech decrying Trump’s comments about Muslims and praising the heroism of their son, who was killed in 2004 in Iraq by a suicide bomber. 

Later, the Republican presidential nominee drew criticism after an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. In response to Khizr Khan’s accusation that Trump had “sacrificed nothing” for the United States, the billionaire politician claimed that he had made “a lot of sacrifices” by creating “thousands and thousands of jobs” and building “great structures.” Read more…

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OTTAWA — A year ago Tuesday then-prime minister Stephen Harper visited the Governor General in the middle of a mid-summer long weekend to begin the longest election campaign in modern Canadian history.

“This is no time for risky plans that could harm our future,” the solitary Conservative leader cautioned the news media assembled outside in the summer heat.

Eleven weeks later, Canadian voters jumped off a cliff, electing a surprise Liberal majority led by the ebullient and youthful Justin Trudeau who marched his new cabinet up that same Rideau Hall driveway through a crush of cheering crowds.

The contrast was as sharp as the clear autumn air.

trudeau swearing in
Justin Trudeau takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on November 4, 2015. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

A year later, pollsters say the effervescent weightlessness has yet to dissipate.

“It’s a year and honeymoons don’t last a year,” Frank Graves of Ekos Research told The Canadian Press.

“I don’t recall a period in Canadian history where a government has flown that high for that long — particularly with the backdrop of what are the worst economic outlook numbers I’ve seen in 20 years.”

“It’s a year and honeymoons don’t last a year.”

A campaign that began in the dog days of summer with headlines about spending caps, televised debate negotiations, third-party advertising and attack ads ended on deeper questions of religious and ethnic accommodation, a conscious return to deficit spending and an overtly activist state.

Since then, “government is good” has been the predominant theme.

From committing billions to indigenous issues, rushing in Syrian refugees, schmoozing with the premiers, vowing to price carbon emissions, legislating doctor-assisted death, restoring the mandatory long-form census, re-funding civil society, tackling fundamental electoral reform and consulting, consulting, consulting, the Liberals are wading in where the previous government often withdrew.

Whether the 2015 election marked a fundamental values shift is the question all Canada’s political practitioners now are grappling with, especially in this summer marked by terrorism, Britain’s shocking referendum exit from the European Union, U.S. racial strife, the rise of trade protectionism and the immigrant-bashing Donald Trump.

donald trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver on Friday. (Photo: Jason Connolly/AFP via Getty Images)

Graves believes there’s been a Canadian sea change.

For more than 20 years, Ekos has tracked whether the public prefers a “smaller government with lower taxes” or “larger government with more services.” In 2003, the results skewed almost 3-1 in favour of small government. Today the two responses are almost equal.

“The outlook is dramatically different in terms of the role of the state and public institutions,” said Graves.

James Moore, a former senior minister in the Conservative government, makes the case that the inflection point came well before last year’s election, and can be traced to the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The outlook is dramatically different…”

Moore points back to then-U.S. president Bill Clinton’s 1995 state-of-the-union address, when the Democrat declared the era of big government was over, as the political period “that pushed the tide out.”

He argues the tide started coming back in when governments around the world responded to the financial crisis in 2009 with massive stimulus spending and bailouts — while loudly trumpeting the need for such action.

“You had a centre-right government bragging about that,” Moore said of the Harper Conservatives and their ubiquitous “economic action plan” ads.

Long after the Conservatives subsequently slashed spending, the “action plan” messaging lived on.

A reaction to Harper?

Megan Leslie, a former NDP stalwart who lost her Halifax seat last October, also credits Harper for the current political mood, although rather less charitably than Moore.

“There was such a reaction to (Harper’s) style of governing that I feel like he’s almost created this mythical Liberal force for good,” said Leslie.

She pointed to the almost giddy public response to this year’s restored mandatory long-form census — a measure of Canadians’ ravenous appetite for having their say, which the Liberals are deftly pursuing with myriad public consultations.

“It could have been NDP (that won the election), it could have been Liberal, but whoever won was going to be able to ride that for a really long time,” said Leslie.

megan leslie
Former MP Megan Leslie speaks in the House of Commons on May 29, 2014. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The paradox is that Ekos surveys reveal deep public pessimism over the economic future, and a conviction that the world is becoming a more dangerous place. Yet, somehow, Canadian respondents also count themselves happy.

Canada shows ‘the other side of the equation’

These near-universal anxieties are producing two very different world views, said Graves. One is the rise of authoritarianism and a desire for order in the face of perceived loss of control — exemplified by both the Brexit vote and support for a Trump presidency.

“In Canada, the (election) victory was an expression of the other side of the equation,” said Graves.

Pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research also sees the dramatic change, but he describes it as a return to the Canadian mean rather than resetting values.

When Trudeau welcomed Syrian refugees at the Toronto airport last December, the international media treated it as extraordinary but Canadians saw it “as a touchstone, not something they would consider unusual.”

“I would say it’s a return to more traditional Canadian values.”

Nanos called the “much more combative” Harper style an anomaly, citing the former government’s view of the federation, its reluctance to engage with the provinces, its view of the courts and its political strategy of segmenting the electorate and wooing only a minority of voters.

“There is a shift, but I would say it’s a return to more traditional Canadian values,” said Nanos.

“We shouldn’t confuse short-term reactions to the (economic and political) environment with fundamental values.”

— Follow @BCheadle on Twitter


After a bipartisan assault on Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, from people ranging from leading Democrats such as Hillary Clinton to lifelong Republicans to ordinary citizens, Trump fired back during his first general election rally in Colorado on Friday afternoon.

The liveliest moment occurred when Trump supporters in Colorado Springs launched into a round of the “Lock Her Up!” chant aimed at Hillary Clinton.  The chant was a nightly fixture at last week’s Republican convention, but Trump rejected it at the time. “I said, ‘Don’t do that,'” he told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “I really—I didn’t like it.” Today he told his supporters, “I’m starting to agree with you.”

His remarks in Colorado weren’t Trump’s first rebuttal to Thursday night’s roast at the DNC. Though Clinton taunted Trump for his short fuse on social media—”A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said during her acceptance speech—the GOP nominee didn’t hesitate to unleash a series of Twitter attacks on Friday against Clinton and other speakers. Trump claimed that Gen. John Allen, the former Marine Corps commandant who savaged him during a fiery endorsement speech for Clinton on Thursday, “failed badly in his fight against ISIS.” He also took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed Clinton on Wednesday and mocked Trump as a con artist.

This afternoon, Trump stuck to his familiar attacks and went on several long tangents. He started the rally by complaining the fire marshall permitted too few people into the venue. “Probably a Democrat,” he said.  


As she accepted the Democratic nomination on Thursday night, Hillary Clinton asked her audience to “put ourselves in the shoes of young black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.” Coming one week after the harsh “law and order” tone struck by her opponent, Clinton’s statement was a powerful acknowledgement by a presidential candidate of the unfairness of the justice system for some minorities.

For the racial justice activists outside the Wells Fargo Arena, the feeling was different. On Tuesday, as the Black DNC Resistance March worked its way through Philadelphia, protesters chanted, “Stop killing black people,” and carried signs that said, “Hillary, Delete Yourself” and “Hillary, you’re not welcome here.” Hawk Newsome, an activist participating in the march, told USA Today, “Hillary Clinton has had a perfect opportunity in the last two or three weeks to say, ‘Hey, black lives matter to me, and here is my platform.’ She’s done nothing more than make some vague statements and tweets.”

Clinton’s racial justice platform has been a source of frustration for Black Lives Matter activists. During the Democratic primary, protesters called for the candidate to explain how she would help black communities. Clinton responded that activists needed to clearly define what they were asking for. “I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate,” she told a group of Black Lives Matter activists during a meeting last August. In October, Clinton met with activists from Campaign Zero, which had created a list of proposals for police reform, and she said her platform would take their concerns into account. The resulting platform did include some items on the activists’ wish list, such as the creation of a national standard for officers’ use of force and support for alternatives to incarceration, but it did not endorse Campaign Zero’s request to empower communities to hold officers accountable.

“One of the things Hillary said to us is she talked about the importance of communities being involved,” DeRay McKesson, a prominent activist and one of the Campaign Zero members at the meeting with Clinton, told BuzzFeed. “And we said, ‘Well, we don’t see that in your platform.’ Where are you giving communities any oversight or any authority?”

McKesson joined other leading figures in the Black Lives Matter movement in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, but the activists have resisted openly supporting the party’s nominee. In June, Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza told Elle magazine that although she would probably cast her vote for Clinton in November, she would “absolutely not” endorse her publicly, citing the former first lady’s public support of the 1994 crime bill and the tough-on-crime policies it instituted.

Garza’s lack of enthusiasm for Clinton is not uncommon among younger black voters. When Clinton campaigned during the South Carolina primary,  she relied heavily on the Mothers of the Movement, a group of black mothers who have lost their children to gun and police violence, in an effort to shore up her support in black communities. But Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner, who died at the hands of New York police in July 2014, became a prominent surrogate for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Other activists, including Garza, said they had voted for Sanders during the Democratic primary. During the convention week, Sanders supporters and racial justice activists collaborated on protests. “She’s not performing where Obama was in 2012 with African American voters primarily because of younger blacks,” one pollster told BuzzFeed. “There is no progressive majority without this key component of the Obama coalition.”

Clinton has struggled to win over black activists, but she has also faced criticism when she embraces their message. When the list of speakers for the Democratic National Convention was first announced, police unions complained that widows of officers killed in recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had been left off the program, arguing that they should have been included alongside mothers of black victims of police and gun violence. On Thursday, family members of slain police officers addressed the convention, in a segment that had not been listed on the convention schedule until the day of their appearance.

As the campaign has progressed, Clinton has increasingly invoked the message of Black Lives Matter, most notably in her acceptance speech on Thursday. So far, however, her words of support haven’t been enough to win over many of the movement’s activists.

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Now you can say, “I’m with her … coloring book.”

SheKnowsMedia jumped on the adult coloring book bandwagon by releasing its own title celebrating Hillary Clinton. 

Image: SHEKNOWS MEDIA

The book, simply called, “Hillary Clinton Coloring Book,” has the Democratic presidential nominee in many valiant poses. 

Image: SHEKNOWS MEDIA

The series follows the media company’s previous coloring book inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

In one of the pages, Clinton plays the Mother of Dragons, Daenarys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, fiercely riding one of her many dragons above the White House. In another, we see Clinton in a spacesuit exploring the galaxy and finding a new planet.  Read more…

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