Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Trudeau’s looming Trans Mountain decision

Trudeau’s looming Trans Mountain decision

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s Trans Mountain deadline day, and the surprise will be if the federal cabinet doesn’t give the nod for the pipeline expansion project to move ahead. The Trudeau government, which bought the stalled pipeline last year, must decide—again—whether or not to proceed with it after a federal appeals court overturned an earlier approval last year. The court said Ottawa needed to do more to consulting with Indigenous communities and review the impact of increased tanker traffic on marine life, which it says it has. But even if Ottawa does give Trans Mountain the thumbs-up, it still faces a tough slog through legal challenges and pushback from environmentalists before any pipe hits the ground. (Bloomberg)

So many voters… er, Raptors fans: Wherever you have two million people tightly packed into a small space, you can be sure politicians won’t be far away. And so it was that politicians of all stripes descended on Toronto for the Raptors victory parade. Ontario Premier Doug Ford received audible confirmation of all those polls showing that not a lot of people in the province like him right now, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who earned a mixed reaction from the crowd) did his best Howard Dean impression, screaming himself hoarse while the players bemusedly watched on behind him. (Maclean’s)

Climate S.O.S.: The Raptors celebration meant that Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh were all missing from the House Monday as MPs voted on a non-binding motion that declares a national climate emergency and confirms Canada’s goal of meeting the Paris Agreement’s emissions targets. Though the motion passed 186 to 63, the Conservatives all voted against it, as the Liberals had intended, though Scheer’s absence sort of defeated the purpose of trying to put him on the spot. (CTV News)

Game of sticks and stones: Do Senators need rules forcing them to be nicer to each other on social media? Independent Sen. Tony Dean argues the Senate’s administration should at least consider new guidelines after online exchanges between senators and staff descended into “aggressive, harassing and, in some cases, bullying” behaviour. But at least one veteran of the Upper Chamber trenches, Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk, said the new batch of whipper-snapper Independent senators complaining about name-calling just don’t want to admit they’re just as partisan as Conservatives. Until they realize that, he said, “they can never come to the table as politicians in the game of politics.” (Canadian Press)

Um, yeah, that’s the point: People on Sparks St. in Ottawa today and at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto on Wednesday will likely notice several grown-ups dressed as bananas. They’ll be there on behalf of Canada Proud, the political advocacy group that’s paying them to don the fruit costumes and hand out anti-Trudeau brochures. And the Liberals aren’t happy about it. When CTV reached out to the party, a spokesperson said the stunt is “the same kind of dirty tricks that we can continue to expect from Conservatives and their allies in this election,” before affirming the whole point of the upcoming Conservative election campaign: “Their one goal is to try to elect another Conservative politician.” (CTV News)

One Liberal out, another forges ahead: Geng Tan, the Liberal MP who represents Don Valley North, Ont., is calling it quits and says he won’t run for re-election in October in order to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile Liberal MP Dominic LaBlanc, the New Brunswick Liberal MP who stepped down from cabinet earlier this year after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, says after three rounds of treatments he’s ready to run for re-election. (Canadian Press, CBC News)

Surveys say

What the polls are showing in the lead-up to the next election

Ethically speaking: For the majority of voters, ethics in government will be on their minds as they go to the polls in October. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians (73 per cent) said ethics in government will be a factor when casting their ballots, a Nanos Research poll found. Says pollster Nick Nanos: “What this speaks to is Canadians want to hear from politicians about ethics, transparency and how our government should run as a top issue.”  (Globe and Mail)

Greens up: A new poll from Ekos Research finds the Conservative lead over the Liberals narrowing, from an 11-point lead a month ago to 2.7 points now. But the real surprise in the poll, as David Akin observed, is that Elizabeth May‘s Green Party has clawed its way into third place for perhaps the first time in national polls, relegating Singh’s NDP to fourth. As Ekos notes: “The Green Party, which received just three per cent and a single seat in the last election, is now at 14 points and looking at capturing 12 seats should these numbers hold. This number will become particularly interesting if the combined Liberal and Green numbers surpass a majority of the seats. The NDP is struggling at just 14 seats. Any further erosion could move them out of official party status and into rump territory.” (Ekos)

The post Trudeau’s looming Trans Mountain decision appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s Trans Mountain deadline day, and the surprise will be if the federal cabinet doesn’t give the nod for the pipeline expansion project to move ahead. The Trudeau government, which bought the stalled pipeline last year, must decide—again—whether or not to proceed with it after a federal appeals court overturned an earlier approval last year. The court said Ottawa needed to do more to consulting with Indigenous communities and review the impact of increased tanker traffic on marine life, which it says it has. But even if Ottawa does give Trans Mountain the thumbs-up, it still faces a tough slog through legal challenges and pushback from environmentalists before any pipe hits the ground. (Bloomberg)

So many voters… er, Raptors fans: Wherever you have two million people tightly packed into a small space, you can be sure politicians won’t be far away. And so it was that politicians of all stripes descended on Toronto for the Raptors victory parade. Ontario Premier Doug Ford received audible confirmation of all those polls showing that not a lot of people in the province like him right now, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who earned a mixed reaction from the crowd) did his best Howard Dean impression, screaming himself hoarse while the players bemusedly watched on behind him. (Maclean’s)

Climate S.O.S.: The Raptors celebration meant that Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh were all missing from the House Monday as MPs voted on a non-binding motion that declares a national climate emergency and confirms Canada’s goal of meeting the Paris Agreement’s emissions targets. Though the motion passed 186 to 63, the Conservatives all voted against it, as the Liberals had intended, though Scheer’s absence sort of defeated the purpose of trying to put him on the spot. (CTV News)

Game of sticks and stones: Do Senators need rules forcing them to be nicer to each other on social media? Independent Sen. Tony Dean argues the Senate’s administration should at least consider new guidelines after online exchanges between senators and staff descended into “aggressive, harassing and, in some cases, bullying” behaviour. But at least one veteran of the Upper Chamber trenches, Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk, said the new batch of whipper-snapper Independent senators complaining about name-calling just don’t want to admit they’re just as partisan as Conservatives. Until they realize that, he said, “they can never come to the table as politicians in the game of politics.” (Canadian Press)

Um, yeah, that’s the point: People on Sparks St. in Ottawa today and at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto on Wednesday will likely notice several grown-ups dressed as bananas. They’ll be there on behalf of Canada Proud, the political advocacy group that’s paying them to don the fruit costumes and hand out anti-Trudeau brochures. And the Liberals aren’t happy about it. When CTV reached out to the party, a spokesperson said the stunt is “the same kind of dirty tricks that we can continue to expect from Conservatives and their allies in this election,” before affirming the whole point of the upcoming Conservative election campaign: “Their one goal is to try to elect another Conservative politician.” (CTV News)

One Liberal out, another forges ahead: Geng Tan, the Liberal MP who represents Don Valley North, Ont., is calling it quits and says he won’t run for re-election in October in order to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile Liberal MP Dominic LaBlanc, the New Brunswick Liberal MP who stepped down from cabinet earlier this year after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, says after three rounds of treatments he’s ready to run for re-election. (Canadian Press, CBC News)

Surveys say

What the polls are showing in the lead-up to the next election

Ethically speaking: For the majority of voters, ethics in government will be on their minds as they go to the polls in October. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians (73 per cent) said ethics in government will be a factor when casting their ballots, a Nanos Research poll found. Says pollster Nick Nanos: “What this speaks to is Canadians want to hear from politicians about ethics, transparency and how our government should run as a top issue.”  (Globe and Mail)

Greens up: A new poll from Ekos Research finds the Conservative lead over the Liberals narrowing, from an 11-point lead a month ago to 2.7 points now. But the real surprise in the poll, as David Akin observed, is that Elizabeth May‘s Green Party has clawed its way into third place for perhaps the first time in national polls, relegating Singh’s NDP to fourth. As Ekos notes: “The Green Party, which received just three per cent and a single seat in the last election, is now at 14 points and looking at capturing 12 seats should these numbers hold. This number will become particularly interesting if the combined Liberal and Green numbers surpass a majority of the seats. The NDP is struggling at just 14 seats. Any further erosion could move them out of official party status and into rump territory.” (Ekos)

The post Trudeau’s looming Trans Mountain decision appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

It’s Trans Mountain deadline day, and the surprise will be if the federal cabinet doesn’t give the nod for the pipeline expansion project to move ahead. The Trudeau government, which bought the stalled pipeline last year, must decide—again—whether or not to proceed with it after a federal appeals court overturned an earlier approval last year. The court said Ottawa needed to do more to consulting with Indigenous communities and review the impact of increased tanker traffic on marine life, which it says it has. But even if Ottawa does give Trans Mountain the thumbs-up, it still faces a tough slog through legal challenges and pushback from environmentalists before any pipe hits the ground. (Bloomberg)

So many voters… er, Raptors fans: Wherever you have two million people tightly packed into a small space, you can be sure politicians won’t be far away. And so it was that politicians of all stripes descended on Toronto for the Raptors victory parade. Ontario Premier Doug Ford received audible confirmation of all those polls showing that not a lot of people in the province like him right now, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who earned a mixed reaction from the crowd) did his best Howard Dean impression, screaming himself hoarse while the players bemusedly watched on behind him. (Maclean’s)

Climate S.O.S.: The Raptors celebration meant that Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh were all missing from the House Monday as MPs voted on a non-binding motion that declares a national climate emergency and confirms Canada’s goal of meeting the Paris Agreement’s emissions targets. Though the motion passed 186 to 63, the Conservatives all voted against it, as the Liberals had intended, though Scheer’s absence sort of defeated the purpose of trying to put him on the spot. (CTV News)

Game of sticks and stones: Do Senators need rules forcing them to be nicer to each other on social media? Independent Sen. Tony Dean argues the Senate’s administration should at least consider new guidelines after online exchanges between senators and staff descended into “aggressive, harassing and, in some cases, bullying” behaviour. But at least one veteran of the Upper Chamber trenches, Conservative Sen. David Tkachuk, said the new batch of whipper-snapper Independent senators complaining about name-calling just don’t want to admit they’re just as partisan as Conservatives. Until they realize that, he said, “they can never come to the table as politicians in the game of politics.” (Canadian Press)

Um, yeah, that’s the point: People on Sparks St. in Ottawa today and at Yonge and Dundas in Toronto on Wednesday will likely notice several grown-ups dressed as bananas. They’ll be there on behalf of Canada Proud, the political advocacy group that’s paying them to don the fruit costumes and hand out anti-Trudeau brochures. And the Liberals aren’t happy about it. When CTV reached out to the party, a spokesperson said the stunt is “the same kind of dirty tricks that we can continue to expect from Conservatives and their allies in this election,” before affirming the whole point of the upcoming Conservative election campaign: “Their one goal is to try to elect another Conservative politician.” (CTV News)

One Liberal out, another forges ahead: Geng Tan, the Liberal MP who represents Don Valley North, Ont., is calling it quits and says he won’t run for re-election in October in order to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile Liberal MP Dominic LaBlanc, the New Brunswick Liberal MP who stepped down from cabinet earlier this year after he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, says after three rounds of treatments he’s ready to run for re-election. (Canadian Press, CBC News)

Surveys say

What the polls are showing in the lead-up to the next election

Ethically speaking: For the majority of voters, ethics in government will be on their minds as they go to the polls in October. Nearly three-quarters of Canadians (73 per cent) said ethics in government will be a factor when casting their ballots, a Nanos Research poll found. Says pollster Nick Nanos: “What this speaks to is Canadians want to hear from politicians about ethics, transparency and how our government should run as a top issue.”  (Globe and Mail)

Greens up: A new poll from Ekos Research finds the Conservative lead over the Liberals narrowing, from an 11-point lead a month ago to 2.7 points now. But the real surprise in the poll, as David Akin observed, is that Elizabeth May‘s Green Party has clawed its way into third place for perhaps the first time in national polls, relegating Singh’s NDP to fourth. As Ekos notes: “The Green Party, which received just three per cent and a single seat in the last election, is now at 14 points and looking at capturing 12 seats should these numbers hold. This number will become particularly interesting if the combined Liberal and Green numbers surpass a majority of the seats. The NDP is struggling at just 14 seats. Any further erosion could move them out of official party status and into rump territory.” (Ekos)

The post Trudeau’s looming Trans Mountain decision appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Parade crowd to Kawhi: Five more years!

Parade crowd to Kawhi: Five more years!

The Toronto Raptors and their fans celebrated like champions. And at times Monday’s unforgettable parade—which lasted much longer than expected, and drew crowds of about two million people, including the Prime Minister himself—also amplified a season-long message to Kawhi Leonard: “Stay.”

Leonard, who becomes a free agent at the end of June, was greeted by crowds chanting “MVP!” He accepted a plant from a fan while slowly parading down the street, and a palm tree was later gently placed on the stage at Nathan Phillips Square—a nod to “Plant Guy” and his “Kawhactus,” which went viral on the night of the team’s Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors. There were number two jerseys scattered throughout a sea of red and white.

For much of the celebration, #5moreyears trended on Twitter after a video emerged of Raptors guard Kyle Lowry chanting the slogan with one arm around Leonard. It appears to show Leonard getting a kick out of the gesture, and his uncle and career and business strategist Dennis Robertson—who will ultimately play an important role in deciding where his nephew ends up next season—also getting in on the chant.

Some say Leonard owes Toronto nothing after helping the franchise win its first-ever NBA championship, and should he decide to leave the team, the breakup will be amicable.

But Canadians have embraced Leonard in a way they have reserved for few, if any, American athletes. He’s quiet and humble, and extraordinarily gifted—some would say a perfect match for this market. He’s already a Canadian sports hero and icon. In the last year, the two-time finals MVP has been offered free food and lodging for life, and during the parade pundits speculated whether Leonard would make his decision with the microphone in his hands. He offered no breadcrumbs.

Still, the courting continued apace. Toronto Mayor John Tory, in giving Leonard and the Raptors the key to the city, referred to the superstar as the “King of the North.” “Kawhi, and maybe I should refer to you as ‘Your Majesty,’ you already have the keys to our hearts,” Tory said before shaking hands. “You should know that every door in this city is open to you and your teammates. If you find one that doesn’t, you call us and we’ll look after it.”

There’s no telling what Leonard’s next move will be this summer. Raptors fans hope they sold him on the only thing that matters—winning a championship. Leonard did, however, make one thing clear: he arrived in Toronto with his now-iconic, meme-friendly laugh, and, much like this year’s playoff run, he got the last one, too.

The post Parade crowd to Kawhi: Five more years! appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

The Toronto Raptors and their fans celebrated like champions. And at times Monday’s unforgettable parade—which lasted much longer than expected, and drew crowds of about two million people, including the Prime Minister himself—also amplified a season-long message to Kawhi Leonard: “Stay.”

Leonard, who becomes a free agent at the end of June, was greeted by crowds chanting “MVP!” He accepted a plant from a fan while slowly parading down the street, and a palm tree was later gently placed on the stage at Nathan Phillips Square—a nod to “Plant Guy” and his “Kawhactus,” which went viral on the night of the team’s Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors. There were number two jerseys scattered throughout a sea of red and white.

For much of the celebration, #5moreyears trended on Twitter after a video emerged of Raptors guard Kyle Lowry chanting the slogan with one arm around Leonard. It appears to show Leonard getting a kick out of the gesture, and his uncle and career and business strategist Dennis Robertson—who will ultimately play an important role in deciding where his nephew ends up next season—also getting in on the chant.

Some say Leonard owes Toronto nothing after helping the franchise win its first-ever NBA championship, and should he decide to leave the team, the breakup will be amicable.

But Canadians have embraced Leonard in a way they have reserved for few, if any, American athletes. He’s quiet and humble, and extraordinarily gifted—some would say a perfect match for this market. He’s already a Canadian sports hero and icon. In the last year, the two-time finals MVP has been offered free food and lodging for life, and during the parade pundits speculated whether Leonard would make his decision with the microphone in his hands. He offered no breadcrumbs.

Still, the courting continued apace. Toronto Mayor John Tory, in giving Leonard and the Raptors the key to the city, referred to the superstar as the “King of the North.” “Kawhi, and maybe I should refer to you as ‘Your Majesty,’ you already have the keys to our hearts,” Tory said before shaking hands. “You should know that every door in this city is open to you and your teammates. If you find one that doesn’t, you call us and we’ll look after it.”

There’s no telling what Leonard’s next move will be this summer. Raptors fans hope they sold him on the only thing that matters—winning a championship. Leonard did, however, make one thing clear: he arrived in Toronto with his now-iconic, meme-friendly laugh, and, much like this year’s playoff run, he got the last one, too.

The post Parade crowd to Kawhi: Five more years! appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

The Toronto Raptors and their fans celebrated like champions. And at times Monday’s unforgettable parade—which lasted much longer than expected, and drew crowds of about two million people, including the Prime Minister himself—also amplified a season-long message to Kawhi Leonard: “Stay.”

Leonard, who becomes a free agent at the end of June, was greeted by crowds chanting “MVP!” He accepted a plant from a fan while slowly parading down the street, and a palm tree was later gently placed on the stage at Nathan Phillips Square—a nod to “Plant Guy” and his “Kawhactus,” which went viral on the night of the team’s Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors. There were number two jerseys scattered throughout a sea of red and white.

For much of the celebration, #5moreyears trended on Twitter after a video emerged of Raptors guard Kyle Lowry chanting the slogan with one arm around Leonard. It appears to show Leonard getting a kick out of the gesture, and his uncle and career and business strategist Dennis Robertson—who will ultimately play an important role in deciding where his nephew ends up next season—also getting in on the chant.

Some say Leonard owes Toronto nothing after helping the franchise win its first-ever NBA championship, and should he decide to leave the team, the breakup will be amicable.

But Canadians have embraced Leonard in a way they have reserved for few, if any, American athletes. He’s quiet and humble, and extraordinarily gifted—some would say a perfect match for this market. He’s already a Canadian sports hero and icon. In the last year, the two-time finals MVP has been offered free food and lodging for life, and during the parade pundits speculated whether Leonard would make his decision with the microphone in his hands. He offered no breadcrumbs.

Still, the courting continued apace. Toronto Mayor John Tory, in giving Leonard and the Raptors the key to the city, referred to the superstar as the “King of the North.” “Kawhi, and maybe I should refer to you as ‘Your Majesty,’ you already have the keys to our hearts,” Tory said before shaking hands. “You should know that every door in this city is open to you and your teammates. If you find one that doesn’t, you call us and we’ll look after it.”

There’s no telling what Leonard’s next move will be this summer. Raptors fans hope they sold him on the only thing that matters—winning a championship. Leonard did, however, make one thing clear: he arrived in Toronto with his now-iconic, meme-friendly laugh, and, much like this year’s playoff run, he got the last one, too.

The post Parade crowd to Kawhi: Five more years! appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

The unanswered Kawhi question can’t put a damper on parade day

The unanswered Kawhi question can’t put a damper on parade day

In the shadow of the CN Tower, as the crowd roared and the camera phones came out, a big red double-decker moved slowly around the corner to the deafening and distinct Toronto Raptors-fans’ battle cry “We the North.” On board, veteran leader Kyle Lowry wore a vintage jersey of Damon Stoudmire as a tribute to his mentor and the franchise’s first-ever draft pick. On the ground, fans allowed themselves to savour the moment with the sort of elation that, for many, had been decades in the making.

“To be honest, I never thought I would see the Raptors win the NBA championship, or even make it to the finals. I saw them lose to teams like the Wizards and the Nets. We never thought we’d win anything,” said Carl Hart, a 42-year-old construction worker who had come to watch the victory parade from Burlington, Ont. with his wife, his son and his three-year-old daughter. “I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. But this is much bigger than this city; this is about the world. Because this team is practically the United Nations.”

This season, the Raptors played dazzling, feisty, resilient basketball. On defence, led by the world’s best two-way player, Kawhi Leonard, they no longer gifted games to opposing teams under pressure. On offence, driven by committee, they were unpredictable and fast. The Raptors appeared to have discovered new levels of confidence and fortitude, which translated to one the most remarkable playoff runs in NBA history.

RELATED: ‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade

For some fans, that means a restoration of pride. Sam Maraj, 36, had been watching the Raptors play since he was a little boy and was “made fun of in high school” by his classmates, who at the time were cheering for the New York Knicks. The team has started to do things on court it could never do before, he said, adding: “This is our time.”

Alex Munro, a 31-year-old postgrad student, admitted to being “absolutely shocked” and said the feeling is still sinking in. The victory over the dynastic Warriors, he said, brings “a massive feeling of vindication because although we’ve won lots of games in recent years, we never won the league’s respect. Now, as champions, we belong to that special club. So, this means we’ve arrived.”

Forecasts of two million people attending the victory parade appear to have been close to the mark. (The event was marred by a shooting near City Hall that left two injured; their injuries were not life-threatening, police said.)

As they passed the ecstatic crowds lining the streets of Toronto, players including Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet jumped up and down on top of the bus. Gasol led the crowd in victory chants, spraying fans with champagne as they jockeyed to get a clear glimpse of the NBA championship trophy. Some hung off trees and street lights; others waved “Please Stay” signs—meant presumably for potential free agent Kawhi Leonard. “We The North” flags flew from balconies as the parade approached Nathan Phillips Square.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the attendees, embracing Masai Ujiri with a smile. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s reception was icy, as he was greeted with a chorus of boos when he was announced to the crowd. Toronto Mayor John Tory presented Leonard and the Raptors with the key to the city and unveiled Raptors Way as a ceremonial street.

RELATED: With the Raptors’ win, Toronto leaves the agony behind

The last time Toronto held a sports celebration of this magnitude was after the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

Yet Leonard’s future remained the one big question looming over the historic day. The finals MVP heard the fans, who were chanting along the parade route “One more year,” and responded with a smile. Kyle Lowry replied to the crowd, “Five more years!”

Speaking to the energized crowd through a microphone in Nathan Phillips Square, Masai Ujiri, who will be primarily responsible in convincing Leonard to come back, thanked the fans: “I want to thank the people of Canada and all over the world who supported the Toronto Raptors. I had no doubt that we could win in Toronto and we will win some more in Toronto.”

“There is a lot of good energy flowing through the city right now. People can worry about if Kawhi will come back or just enjoy this moment,” David Azari, 26, said. “I think we have, as Fred VanVleet put it, done what we could do. Toronto is a hard-working city; Kawhi is a hard-working player; I believe he respects the vibe of this city. I might have bias obviously but I’m confident. We are champions, man.”

Like many fans, Azari envisioned deeper meaning for Toronto arising from this defining moment, which he described as  “a clear reminder of what this city can be,” he says, “what it should try to be on days or years when we are not winning championships.”

The post The unanswered Kawhi question can’t put a damper on parade day appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

In the shadow of the CN Tower, as the crowd roared and the camera phones came out, a big red double-decker moved slowly around the corner to the deafening and distinct Toronto Raptors-fans’ battle cry “We the North.” On board, veteran leader Kyle Lowry wore a vintage jersey of Damon Stoudmire as a tribute to his mentor and the franchise’s first-ever draft pick. On the ground, fans allowed themselves to savour the moment with the sort of elation that, for many, had been decades in the making.

“To be honest, I never thought I would see the Raptors win the NBA championship, or even make it to the finals. I saw them lose to teams like the Wizards and the Nets. We never thought we’d win anything,” said Carl Hart, a 42-year-old construction worker who had come to watch the victory parade from Burlington, Ont. with his wife, his son and his three-year-old daughter. “I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. But this is much bigger than this city; this is about the world. Because this team is practically the United Nations.”

This season, the Raptors played dazzling, feisty, resilient basketball. On defence, led by the world’s best two-way player, Kawhi Leonard, they no longer gifted games to opposing teams under pressure. On offence, driven by committee, they were unpredictable and fast. The Raptors appeared to have discovered new levels of confidence and fortitude, which translated to one the most remarkable playoff runs in NBA history.

RELATED: ‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade

For some fans, that means a restoration of pride. Sam Maraj, 36, had been watching the Raptors play since he was a little boy and was “made fun of in high school” by his classmates, who at the time were cheering for the New York Knicks. The team has started to do things on court it could never do before, he said, adding: “This is our time.”

Alex Munro, a 31-year-old postgrad student, admitted to being “absolutely shocked” and said the feeling is still sinking in. The victory over the dynastic Warriors, he said, brings “a massive feeling of vindication because although we’ve won lots of games in recent years, we never won the league’s respect. Now, as champions, we belong to that special club. So, this means we’ve arrived.”

Forecasts of two million people attending the victory parade appear to have been close to the mark. (The event was marred by a shooting near City Hall that left two injured; their injuries were not life-threatening, police said.)

As they passed the ecstatic crowds lining the streets of Toronto, players including Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet jumped up and down on top of the bus. Gasol led the crowd in victory chants, spraying fans with champagne as they jockeyed to get a clear glimpse of the NBA championship trophy. Some hung off trees and street lights; others waved “Please Stay” signs—meant presumably for potential free agent Kawhi Leonard. “We The North” flags flew from balconies as the parade approached Nathan Phillips Square.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the attendees, embracing Masai Ujiri with a smile. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s reception was icy, as he was greeted with a chorus of boos when he was announced to the crowd. Toronto Mayor John Tory presented Leonard and the Raptors with the key to the city and unveiled Raptors Way as a ceremonial street.

RELATED: With the Raptors’ win, Toronto leaves the agony behind

The last time Toronto held a sports celebration of this magnitude was after the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

Yet Leonard’s future remained the one big question looming over the historic day. The finals MVP heard the fans, who were chanting along the parade route “One more year,” and responded with a smile. Kyle Lowry replied to the crowd, “Five more years!”

Speaking to the energized crowd through a microphone in Nathan Phillips Square, Masai Ujiri, who will be primarily responsible in convincing Leonard to come back, thanked the fans: “I want to thank the people of Canada and all over the world who supported the Toronto Raptors. I had no doubt that we could win in Toronto and we will win some more in Toronto.”

“There is a lot of good energy flowing through the city right now. People can worry about if Kawhi will come back or just enjoy this moment,” David Azari, 26, said. “I think we have, as Fred VanVleet put it, done what we could do. Toronto is a hard-working city; Kawhi is a hard-working player; I believe he respects the vibe of this city. I might have bias obviously but I’m confident. We are champions, man.”

Like many fans, Azari envisioned deeper meaning for Toronto arising from this defining moment, which he described as  “a clear reminder of what this city can be,” he says, “what it should try to be on days or years when we are not winning championships.”

The post The unanswered Kawhi question can’t put a damper on parade day appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

In the shadow of the CN Tower, as the crowd roared and the camera phones came out, a big red double-decker moved slowly around the corner to the deafening and distinct Toronto Raptors-fans’ battle cry “We the North.” On board, veteran leader Kyle Lowry wore a vintage jersey of Damon Stoudmire as a tribute to his mentor and the franchise’s first-ever draft pick. On the ground, fans allowed themselves to savour the moment with the sort of elation that, for many, had been decades in the making.

“To be honest, I never thought I would see the Raptors win the NBA championship, or even make it to the finals. I saw them lose to teams like the Wizards and the Nets. We never thought we’d win anything,” said Carl Hart, a 42-year-old construction worker who had come to watch the victory parade from Burlington, Ont. with his wife, his son and his three-year-old daughter. “I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. But this is much bigger than this city; this is about the world. Because this team is practically the United Nations.”

This season, the Raptors played dazzling, feisty, resilient basketball. On defence, led by the world’s best two-way player, Kawhi Leonard, they no longer gifted games to opposing teams under pressure. On offence, driven by committee, they were unpredictable and fast. The Raptors appeared to have discovered new levels of confidence and fortitude, which translated to one the most remarkable playoff runs in NBA history.

RELATED: ‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade

For some fans, that means a restoration of pride. Sam Maraj, 36, had been watching the Raptors play since he was a little boy and was “made fun of in high school” by his classmates, who at the time were cheering for the New York Knicks. The team has started to do things on court it could never do before, he said, adding: “This is our time.”

Alex Munro, a 31-year-old postgrad student, admitted to being “absolutely shocked” and said the feeling is still sinking in. The victory over the dynastic Warriors, he said, brings “a massive feeling of vindication because although we’ve won lots of games in recent years, we never won the league’s respect. Now, as champions, we belong to that special club. So, this means we’ve arrived.”

Forecasts of two million people attending the victory parade appear to have been close to the mark. (The event was marred by a shooting near City Hall that left two injured; their injuries were not life-threatening, police said.)

As they passed the ecstatic crowds lining the streets of Toronto, players including Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet jumped up and down on top of the bus. Gasol led the crowd in victory chants, spraying fans with champagne as they jockeyed to get a clear glimpse of the NBA championship trophy. Some hung off trees and street lights; others waved “Please Stay” signs—meant presumably for potential free agent Kawhi Leonard. “We The North” flags flew from balconies as the parade approached Nathan Phillips Square.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the attendees, embracing Masai Ujiri with a smile. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s reception was icy, as he was greeted with a chorus of boos when he was announced to the crowd. Toronto Mayor John Tory presented Leonard and the Raptors with the key to the city and unveiled Raptors Way as a ceremonial street.

RELATED: With the Raptors’ win, Toronto leaves the agony behind

The last time Toronto held a sports celebration of this magnitude was after the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

Yet Leonard’s future remained the one big question looming over the historic day. The finals MVP heard the fans, who were chanting along the parade route “One more year,” and responded with a smile. Kyle Lowry replied to the crowd, “Five more years!”

Speaking to the energized crowd through a microphone in Nathan Phillips Square, Masai Ujiri, who will be primarily responsible in convincing Leonard to come back, thanked the fans: “I want to thank the people of Canada and all over the world who supported the Toronto Raptors. I had no doubt that we could win in Toronto and we will win some more in Toronto.”

“There is a lot of good energy flowing through the city right now. People can worry about if Kawhi will come back or just enjoy this moment,” David Azari, 26, said. “I think we have, as Fred VanVleet put it, done what we could do. Toronto is a hard-working city; Kawhi is a hard-working player; I believe he respects the vibe of this city. I might have bias obviously but I’m confident. We are champions, man.”

Like many fans, Azari envisioned deeper meaning for Toronto arising from this defining moment, which he described as  “a clear reminder of what this city can be,” he says, “what it should try to be on days or years when we are not winning championships.”

The post The unanswered Kawhi question can’t put a damper on parade day appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade

‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade

TORONTO — Frantic Raptors fans bolted from a square in downtown Toronto after shots were fired at a massive rally celebrating the team’s historic NBA championship win, police confirm.

There are two victims with serious but non life-threatening inuries after the incident took place at Bay and Albert Streets. Police say two people are in custody and that two firearms were taken.

The festivities, which were briefly suspended, carried on even as dozens of fans ran in several directions at the south end of the square.

Some in the crowd said they had not heard any shots but rushed from the area as others panicked.

One 25-year-old woman said she had been watching the speeches at the rally when friends pushed her to the side.

“We started ducking,” she said. “We got stampeded.”

Others huddled near pillars in Nathan Phillips Square even as the team and several dignitaries—including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—remained on stage.

Supporters had spent several hours at the square waiting for the team to arrive in a victory parade that began this morning.

The post ‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

TORONTO — Frantic Raptors fans bolted from a square in downtown Toronto after shots were fired at a massive rally celebrating the team’s historic NBA championship win, police confirm.

There are two victims with serious but non life-threatening inuries after the incident took place at Bay and Albert Streets. Police say two people are in custody and that two firearms were taken.

The festivities, which were briefly suspended, carried on even as dozens of fans ran in several directions at the south end of the square.

Some in the crowd said they had not heard any shots but rushed from the area as others panicked.

One 25-year-old woman said she had been watching the speeches at the rally when friends pushed her to the side.

“We started ducking,” she said. “We got stampeded.”

Others huddled near pillars in Nathan Phillips Square even as the team and several dignitaries—including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—remained on stage.

Supporters had spent several hours at the square waiting for the team to arrive in a victory parade that began this morning.

The post ‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

TORONTO — Frantic Raptors fans bolted from a square in downtown Toronto after shots were fired at a massive rally celebrating the team’s historic NBA championship win, police confirm.

There are two victims with serious but non life-threatening inuries after the incident took place at Bay and Albert Streets. Police say two people are in custody and that two firearms were taken.

The festivities, which were briefly suspended, carried on even as dozens of fans ran in several directions at the south end of the square.

Some in the crowd said they had not heard any shots but rushed from the area as others panicked.

One 25-year-old woman said she had been watching the speeches at the rally when friends pushed her to the side.

“We started ducking,” she said. “We got stampeded.”

Others huddled near pillars in Nathan Phillips Square even as the team and several dignitaries—including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—remained on stage.

Supporters had spent several hours at the square waiting for the team to arrive in a victory parade that began this morning.

The post ‘We got stampeded’: Shooting leaves two injured and causes panic at Raptors parade appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

Life after Queen Elizabeth II: What will ‘the inevitable’ bring?

Life after Queen Elizabeth II: What will ‘the inevitable’ bring?

The inevitable. Demise. Passing. Talking about a person’s death can appear rude and insensitive, and so we have a number of euphemisms for the end of human existence. Yet for the experts who have devoted their careers to examining the Crown and the role of the sovereign, talking about the unavoidable is necessary because, at 93, Queen Elizabeth II is in the dusk of her reign and life.

Late last week, the Institute for the Study of the Crown tackled the subject, choosing the theme “A Crown in the time of transition” for its fourth Conference on the Crown, held at the University of Toronto. Among those listening to the lectures were the men and women most directly affected by the changes in the Crown—most of Canada’s viceregal office holders, who had just wrapped up their annual gathering of viceregal representatives, synced with the Crown conference.

During the past decade, a series of Crown controversies has renewed interest in the institution and its powers, including whether governor general Michaëlle Jean should have prorogued Parliament at the behest of Stephen Harper in 2008, as well as British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor, Judith Guichon, denying the Liberal premier’s request to dissolve the legislature and instead asking the NDP’s John Horgan if he could form a government.

READ: Queen Elizabeth II is 93—and yet her workload seems to be increasing

There is the assumption that its rules and conventions are set in stone—known, accepted and unchanging, much like the ancient chair used at every coronation. In reality, “the Crown is carved in water,” says John Fraser, the conference chair and founder of the institute. It’s malleable, adapting to changes in society and nations. For David Williams of the University of Auckland, the Crowns are “shapeshifting;” he showed how the Kiwi Crown is now distinctly different than those in similar realm nations with the Queen as monarch. A big reason is the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between the Maori and the Crown, which is recognized as the foundational document of New Zealand and affects all aspects of the nation.

Yet for many, any talk of the Crown causes eyes to glaze over. Part of the reason is lack of knowledge. In Canada, civics is mandatory in the schools of only one province, Ontario, and even then, it’s merely a half-course in Grade 10. Only perhaps 15 per cent of the population truly understands how the state works. (If you’re one of that select minority, skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, here is a simple explanation that Philippe Lagassé, a Crown expert and professor at Carleton University, gave to Maclean’s in advance of the 2016 conference: “The Crown is the state embodied in a person, the Queen of Canada. The Crown permeates all aspects of the Canadian state: judicial power flows from the Crown, executive power flows from the Crown, legislative power flows from the Crown, the concept of the state as a person, so how it holds property, how it employs people, the privileges it has, all these things are monarchical.”)

Misunderstanding about the Crown abounds, especially on social media, where people read fanciful notions of what the Queen and her representatives can or cannot do. “I knock them down all the time,” notes Dale Smith, a Parliamentary Press Gallery journalist. Canada isn’t alone. “I’m always a bit surprised at the level of ignorance,” says Mark Gower, official secretary to the governor of Queensland in Australia, even with “people you would think should understand the powers and roles of a viceregal.” Like many, he came to the conference not just for the lectures, but also the networking opportunities with his counterparts to pick up tips “about some issues other jurisdictions face on viceregal issues.”

Perhaps the Crown is a bit like vaccines, a bit too successful for its own good. As experts recounted at the conference, its conventions and office holders have been so quietly efficient in dealing with issues that can arise, out of public view, that people don’t realize how and why it’s crucial to the functioning of the state. That leads the citizenry to deem the offices unnecessary and unimportant. Only when conflicts flare into public attention does interest rise, such as in the past few years. Soon, there may be another opportunity. No, not the “inevitable,” but a long-awaited Quebec Court of Appeal ruling on the law governing royal succession, which was changed in 2013 to give royal women the equal right to inherit the throne.

While virtually everyone can ID the Queen, “most Canadians would be hard-pressed to name the current Governor General and their lieutenant-governors,” says political scientist David Johnson of Cape Breton University. And that will be a problem when the new king (likely taking the name Charles III) comes to the throne. Though republican inclinations are slumbering, the change in monarch could change everything, for while the Queen will be mourned, “Charles will be met with ambivalence,” Johnson believes, “There is a different between existing and thriving.”

READ: As Queen Elizabeth II’s last corgi dies, a baffling era comes to an end

Some ideas presented during the conference’s sessions were geared toward generating more positive attitudes to how the Crown is perceived. While the choice of the next monarch is set—ignore social media experts: there is no chance of skipping Charles for William—that of the viceregals is equally important in the years to come, Canadian Sen. Serge Joyal argues. “Institutions will never be something other than what their actors do,” he stated, going on to ask the ways “the personality of the person who holds the position and title of Governor General changes the perception of the monarchy.”

Joyal, who has worked with 10 governors general and been on countless royal tours as secretary of state, is concerned that an accumulation of small tweaks and changes made over time has weakened the institution. For one, their term of office has been reduced from seven to five years—with federal elections now set every four years, that creates churn at the highest levels of the state. Pointing out that many federal positions have long terms—the auditor general stays in the job for 10 years—Joyal wants a longer GG mandate to promote stability and “avoid that a change in government will affect objectivity.”

And he criticized the recent habit of selecting relatively young GGs. While not naming names, the objects of his criticism were apparent: Michaëlle Jean was 47 and Julie Payette, 54, when their terms started. Joyal believes the position of governor general shouldn’t be considered “a stepping stone to a future career;” he doesn’t want them thinking, “What am I going to do after that?” but rather consider it the culmination of a life well lived. He also points out that choosing public personalities with no connections to the constitutional monarchy—or with no experience in such hierarchical institutions, such as is all-consuming in Ottawa—means a crash course in understanding a role that is far more complex than most understand.

While viceregals are using community visits and social media to increase their public profile, Joyal worries about their visible role in the legislative process is being slowly diminished. A 2002 law required only two Royal Assents had to be done in Parliament each year. In addition, there hasn’t been a Speech from the Throne since 2015 as the government has had only one session in the last four years. Joyal is concerned that, as the GG’s legislative role is reduced, that in turn places more pressure on their public personas. And, as one person said, viceregals shouldn’t be celebrities, to go out of fashion in a whim. They should be constants, like the Queen herself.

Journalist Dale Smith, who talked about behind-the-scenes officials of the Crown, makes the case for crucial but more bureaucratic changes, including reinstating the viceregal appointments commission created by Stephen Harper disbanded by the Trudeau government. The commission, a combination of permanent federal officials and ad-hoc members from the province where the appointment was to be made, used to winnow names down to a shortlist from which the PM would choose. “It professionalized appointments,” Smith explains, and “provinces got a sense of ownership and buy-in.” Smith also suggests reviving the office of Canadian secretary to the Queen, put “under review” after Kevin MacLeod retired in 2017. Royal tours are now fronted by Canadian Heritage, but Smith argues that the Canadian secretary position would strengthen the monarchical connection in Canada, especially by planning for looming milestones, including the Queen’s platinum jubilee in 2022, when she will be 96. Left unsaid are the tours that will happen after…the inevitable.

Then there is the topic that was raised again and again during the conference: Brexit, and its impact on Elizabeth II. “The Brexit debates have certainly brought the question of reserve powers to the fore in the U.K.,” says Lagassé, “This was unexpected, given efforts to keep the Queen as far from politics as possible.”

“What is happening in Britain is outside the bounds of what was ever conceived,” said Anne Twomey, one of the world’s leading experts on the Crown. The chaos that is Brexit has created a bizarre situation where the prime minister (the outgoing Theresa May) didn’t have the confidence of Parliament yet continued in her role. And that upside-down reality led to speculation that pro-Brexit politicians would ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament (end the current session) so as to force a no-deal exit from the European Union, blocking MPs from crafting an alternative.

“Brexit has fundamentally breached the rules of responsible government,” believes Twomey, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney. And that raises the question, “Is the prime minister still responsible if [he or she] shuts down government with prorogation?” For in Twomey’s view, if there is no responsible government, then the Queen could refuse the request—though she thinks it’s likely that the Queen would not do so. On display is the outlandish fight between the will of Parliament versus the will of ministers, with the Queen and her powers being dragged into the morass.

The Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada will continue its work: its next conference should be in two years. As for the Queen, there is a term in Canadian law, “Demise of the Crown,” which deals with the death of a monarch. It may mark the end of the era, but its experts also hope for a time of renewal.

MORE ABOUT ROYALTY:

The post Life after Queen Elizabeth II: What will ‘the inevitable’ bring? appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

The inevitable. Demise. Passing. Talking about a person’s death can appear rude and insensitive, and so we have a number of euphemisms for the end of human existence. Yet for the experts who have devoted their careers to examining the Crown and the role of the sovereign, talking about the unavoidable is necessary because, at 93, Queen Elizabeth II is in the dusk of her reign and life.

Late last week, the Institute for the Study of the Crown tackled the subject, choosing the theme “A Crown in the time of transition” for its fourth Conference on the Crown, held at the University of Toronto. Among those listening to the lectures were the men and women most directly affected by the changes in the Crown—most of Canada’s viceregal office holders, who had just wrapped up their annual gathering of viceregal representatives, synced with the Crown conference.

During the past decade, a series of Crown controversies has renewed interest in the institution and its powers, including whether governor general Michaëlle Jean should have prorogued Parliament at the behest of Stephen Harper in 2008, as well as British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor, Judith Guichon, denying the Liberal premier’s request to dissolve the legislature and instead asking the NDP’s John Horgan if he could form a government.

READ: Queen Elizabeth II is 93—and yet her workload seems to be increasing

There is the assumption that its rules and conventions are set in stone—known, accepted and unchanging, much like the ancient chair used at every coronation. In reality, “the Crown is carved in water,” says John Fraser, the conference chair and founder of the institute. It’s malleable, adapting to changes in society and nations. For David Williams of the University of Auckland, the Crowns are “shapeshifting;” he showed how the Kiwi Crown is now distinctly different than those in similar realm nations with the Queen as monarch. A big reason is the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between the Maori and the Crown, which is recognized as the foundational document of New Zealand and affects all aspects of the nation.

Yet for many, any talk of the Crown causes eyes to glaze over. Part of the reason is lack of knowledge. In Canada, civics is mandatory in the schools of only one province, Ontario, and even then, it’s merely a half-course in Grade 10. Only perhaps 15 per cent of the population truly understands how the state works. (If you’re one of that select minority, skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, here is a simple explanation that Philippe Lagassé, a Crown expert and professor at Carleton University, gave to Maclean’s in advance of the 2016 conference: “The Crown is the state embodied in a person, the Queen of Canada. The Crown permeates all aspects of the Canadian state: judicial power flows from the Crown, executive power flows from the Crown, legislative power flows from the Crown, the concept of the state as a person, so how it holds property, how it employs people, the privileges it has, all these things are monarchical.”)

Misunderstanding about the Crown abounds, especially on social media, where people read fanciful notions of what the Queen and her representatives can or cannot do. “I knock them down all the time,” notes Dale Smith, a Parliamentary Press Gallery journalist. Canada isn’t alone. “I’m always a bit surprised at the level of ignorance,” says Mark Gower, official secretary to the governor of Queensland in Australia, even with “people you would think should understand the powers and roles of a viceregal.” Like many, he came to the conference not just for the lectures, but also the networking opportunities with his counterparts to pick up tips “about some issues other jurisdictions face on viceregal issues.”

Perhaps the Crown is a bit like vaccines, a bit too successful for its own good. As experts recounted at the conference, its conventions and office holders have been so quietly efficient in dealing with issues that can arise, out of public view, that people don’t realize how and why it’s crucial to the functioning of the state. That leads the citizenry to deem the offices unnecessary and unimportant. Only when conflicts flare into public attention does interest rise, such as in the past few years. Soon, there may be another opportunity. No, not the “inevitable,” but a long-awaited Quebec Court of Appeal ruling on the law governing royal succession, which was changed in 2013 to give royal women the equal right to inherit the throne.

While virtually everyone can ID the Queen, “most Canadians would be hard-pressed to name the current Governor General and their lieutenant-governors,” says political scientist David Johnson of Cape Breton University. And that will be a problem when the new king (likely taking the name Charles III) comes to the throne. Though republican inclinations are slumbering, the change in monarch could change everything, for while the Queen will be mourned, “Charles will be met with ambivalence,” Johnson believes, “There is a different between existing and thriving.”

READ: As Queen Elizabeth II’s last corgi dies, a baffling era comes to an end

Some ideas presented during the conference’s sessions were geared toward generating more positive attitudes to how the Crown is perceived. While the choice of the next monarch is set—ignore social media experts: there is no chance of skipping Charles for William—that of the viceregals is equally important in the years to come, Canadian Sen. Serge Joyal argues. “Institutions will never be something other than what their actors do,” he stated, going on to ask the ways “the personality of the person who holds the position and title of Governor General changes the perception of the monarchy.”

Joyal, who has worked with 10 governors general and been on countless royal tours as secretary of state, is concerned that an accumulation of small tweaks and changes made over time has weakened the institution. For one, their term of office has been reduced from seven to five years—with federal elections now set every four years, that creates churn at the highest levels of the state. Pointing out that many federal positions have long terms—the auditor general stays in the job for 10 years—Joyal wants a longer GG mandate to promote stability and “avoid that a change in government will affect objectivity.”

And he criticized the recent habit of selecting relatively young GGs. While not naming names, the objects of his criticism were apparent: Michaëlle Jean was 47 and Julie Payette, 54, when their terms started. Joyal believes the position of governor general shouldn’t be considered “a stepping stone to a future career;” he doesn’t want them thinking, “What am I going to do after that?” but rather consider it the culmination of a life well lived. He also points out that choosing public personalities with no connections to the constitutional monarchy—or with no experience in such hierarchical institutions, such as is all-consuming in Ottawa—means a crash course in understanding a role that is far more complex than most understand.

While viceregals are using community visits and social media to increase their public profile, Joyal worries about their visible role in the legislative process is being slowly diminished. A 2002 law required only two Royal Assents had to be done in Parliament each year. In addition, there hasn’t been a Speech from the Throne since 2015 as the government has had only one session in the last four years. Joyal is concerned that, as the GG’s legislative role is reduced, that in turn places more pressure on their public personas. And, as one person said, viceregals shouldn’t be celebrities, to go out of fashion in a whim. They should be constants, like the Queen herself.

Journalist Dale Smith, who talked about behind-the-scenes officials of the Crown, makes the case for crucial but more bureaucratic changes, including reinstating the viceregal appointments commission created by Stephen Harper disbanded by the Trudeau government. The commission, a combination of permanent federal officials and ad-hoc members from the province where the appointment was to be made, used to winnow names down to a shortlist from which the PM would choose. “It professionalized appointments,” Smith explains, and “provinces got a sense of ownership and buy-in.” Smith also suggests reviving the office of Canadian secretary to the Queen, put “under review” after Kevin MacLeod retired in 2017. Royal tours are now fronted by Canadian Heritage, but Smith argues that the Canadian secretary position would strengthen the monarchical connection in Canada, especially by planning for looming milestones, including the Queen’s platinum jubilee in 2022, when she will be 96. Left unsaid are the tours that will happen after…the inevitable.

Then there is the topic that was raised again and again during the conference: Brexit, and its impact on Elizabeth II. “The Brexit debates have certainly brought the question of reserve powers to the fore in the U.K.,” says Lagassé, “This was unexpected, given efforts to keep the Queen as far from politics as possible.”

“What is happening in Britain is outside the bounds of what was ever conceived,” said Anne Twomey, one of the world’s leading experts on the Crown. The chaos that is Brexit has created a bizarre situation where the prime minister (the outgoing Theresa May) didn’t have the confidence of Parliament yet continued in her role. And that upside-down reality led to speculation that pro-Brexit politicians would ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament (end the current session) so as to force a no-deal exit from the European Union, blocking MPs from crafting an alternative.

“Brexit has fundamentally breached the rules of responsible government,” believes Twomey, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney. And that raises the question, “Is the prime minister still responsible if [he or she] shuts down government with prorogation?” For in Twomey’s view, if there is no responsible government, then the Queen could refuse the request—though she thinks it’s likely that the Queen would not do so. On display is the outlandish fight between the will of Parliament versus the will of ministers, with the Queen and her powers being dragged into the morass.

The Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada will continue its work: its next conference should be in two years. As for the Queen, there is a term in Canadian law, “Demise of the Crown,” which deals with the death of a monarch. It may mark the end of the era, but its experts also hope for a time of renewal.

MORE ABOUT ROYALTY:

The post Life after Queen Elizabeth II: What will ‘the inevitable’ bring? appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

The inevitable. Demise. Passing. Talking about a person’s death can appear rude and insensitive, and so we have a number of euphemisms for the end of human existence. Yet for the experts who have devoted their careers to examining the Crown and the role of the sovereign, talking about the unavoidable is necessary because, at 93, Queen Elizabeth II is in the dusk of her reign and life.

Late last week, the Institute for the Study of the Crown tackled the subject, choosing the theme “A Crown in the time of transition” for its fourth Conference on the Crown, held at the University of Toronto. Among those listening to the lectures were the men and women most directly affected by the changes in the Crown—most of Canada’s viceregal office holders, who had just wrapped up their annual gathering of viceregal representatives, synced with the Crown conference.

During the past decade, a series of Crown controversies has renewed interest in the institution and its powers, including whether governor general Michaëlle Jean should have prorogued Parliament at the behest of Stephen Harper in 2008, as well as British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor, Judith Guichon, denying the Liberal premier’s request to dissolve the legislature and instead asking the NDP’s John Horgan if he could form a government.

READ: Queen Elizabeth II is 93—and yet her workload seems to be increasing

There is the assumption that its rules and conventions are set in stone—known, accepted and unchanging, much like the ancient chair used at every coronation. In reality, “the Crown is carved in water,” says John Fraser, the conference chair and founder of the institute. It’s malleable, adapting to changes in society and nations. For David Williams of the University of Auckland, the Crowns are “shapeshifting;” he showed how the Kiwi Crown is now distinctly different than those in similar realm nations with the Queen as monarch. A big reason is the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi between the Maori and the Crown, which is recognized as the foundational document of New Zealand and affects all aspects of the nation.

Yet for many, any talk of the Crown causes eyes to glaze over. Part of the reason is lack of knowledge. In Canada, civics is mandatory in the schools of only one province, Ontario, and even then, it’s merely a half-course in Grade 10. Only perhaps 15 per cent of the population truly understands how the state works. (If you’re one of that select minority, skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, here is a simple explanation that Philippe Lagassé, a Crown expert and professor at Carleton University, gave to Maclean’s in advance of the 2016 conference: “The Crown is the state embodied in a person, the Queen of Canada. The Crown permeates all aspects of the Canadian state: judicial power flows from the Crown, executive power flows from the Crown, legislative power flows from the Crown, the concept of the state as a person, so how it holds property, how it employs people, the privileges it has, all these things are monarchical.”)

Misunderstanding about the Crown abounds, especially on social media, where people read fanciful notions of what the Queen and her representatives can or cannot do. “I knock them down all the time,” notes Dale Smith, a Parliamentary Press Gallery journalist. Canada isn’t alone. “I’m always a bit surprised at the level of ignorance,” says Mark Gower, official secretary to the governor of Queensland in Australia, even with “people you would think should understand the powers and roles of a viceregal.” Like many, he came to the conference not just for the lectures, but also the networking opportunities with his counterparts to pick up tips “about some issues other jurisdictions face on viceregal issues.”

Perhaps the Crown is a bit like vaccines, a bit too successful for its own good. As experts recounted at the conference, its conventions and office holders have been so quietly efficient in dealing with issues that can arise, out of public view, that people don’t realize how and why it’s crucial to the functioning of the state. That leads the citizenry to deem the offices unnecessary and unimportant. Only when conflicts flare into public attention does interest rise, such as in the past few years. Soon, there may be another opportunity. No, not the “inevitable,” but a long-awaited Quebec Court of Appeal ruling on the law governing royal succession, which was changed in 2013 to give royal women the equal right to inherit the throne.

While virtually everyone can ID the Queen, “most Canadians would be hard-pressed to name the current Governor General and their lieutenant-governors,” says political scientist David Johnson of Cape Breton University. And that will be a problem when the new king (likely taking the name Charles III) comes to the throne. Though republican inclinations are slumbering, the change in monarch could change everything, for while the Queen will be mourned, “Charles will be met with ambivalence,” Johnson believes, “There is a different between existing and thriving.”

READ: As Queen Elizabeth II’s last corgi dies, a baffling era comes to an end

Some ideas presented during the conference’s sessions were geared toward generating more positive attitudes to how the Crown is perceived. While the choice of the next monarch is set—ignore social media experts: there is no chance of skipping Charles for William—that of the viceregals is equally important in the years to come, Canadian Sen. Serge Joyal argues. “Institutions will never be something other than what their actors do,” he stated, going on to ask the ways “the personality of the person who holds the position and title of Governor General changes the perception of the monarchy.”

Joyal, who has worked with 10 governors general and been on countless royal tours as secretary of state, is concerned that an accumulation of small tweaks and changes made over time has weakened the institution. For one, their term of office has been reduced from seven to five years—with federal elections now set every four years, that creates churn at the highest levels of the state. Pointing out that many federal positions have long terms—the auditor general stays in the job for 10 years—Joyal wants a longer GG mandate to promote stability and “avoid that a change in government will affect objectivity.”

And he criticized the recent habit of selecting relatively young GGs. While not naming names, the objects of his criticism were apparent: Michaëlle Jean was 47 and Julie Payette, 54, when their terms started. Joyal believes the position of governor general shouldn’t be considered “a stepping stone to a future career;” he doesn’t want them thinking, “What am I going to do after that?” but rather consider it the culmination of a life well lived. He also points out that choosing public personalities with no connections to the constitutional monarchy—or with no experience in such hierarchical institutions, such as is all-consuming in Ottawa—means a crash course in understanding a role that is far more complex than most understand.

While viceregals are using community visits and social media to increase their public profile, Joyal worries about their visible role in the legislative process is being slowly diminished. A 2002 law required only two Royal Assents had to be done in Parliament each year. In addition, there hasn’t been a Speech from the Throne since 2015 as the government has had only one session in the last four years. Joyal is concerned that, as the GG’s legislative role is reduced, that in turn places more pressure on their public personas. And, as one person said, viceregals shouldn’t be celebrities, to go out of fashion in a whim. They should be constants, like the Queen herself.

Journalist Dale Smith, who talked about behind-the-scenes officials of the Crown, makes the case for crucial but more bureaucratic changes, including reinstating the viceregal appointments commission created by Stephen Harper disbanded by the Trudeau government. The commission, a combination of permanent federal officials and ad-hoc members from the province where the appointment was to be made, used to winnow names down to a shortlist from which the PM would choose. “It professionalized appointments,” Smith explains, and “provinces got a sense of ownership and buy-in.” Smith also suggests reviving the office of Canadian secretary to the Queen, put “under review” after Kevin MacLeod retired in 2017. Royal tours are now fronted by Canadian Heritage, but Smith argues that the Canadian secretary position would strengthen the monarchical connection in Canada, especially by planning for looming milestones, including the Queen’s platinum jubilee in 2022, when she will be 96. Left unsaid are the tours that will happen after…the inevitable.

Then there is the topic that was raised again and again during the conference: Brexit, and its impact on Elizabeth II. “The Brexit debates have certainly brought the question of reserve powers to the fore in the U.K.,” says Lagassé, “This was unexpected, given efforts to keep the Queen as far from politics as possible.”

“What is happening in Britain is outside the bounds of what was ever conceived,” said Anne Twomey, one of the world’s leading experts on the Crown. The chaos that is Brexit has created a bizarre situation where the prime minister (the outgoing Theresa May) didn’t have the confidence of Parliament yet continued in her role. And that upside-down reality led to speculation that pro-Brexit politicians would ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament (end the current session) so as to force a no-deal exit from the European Union, blocking MPs from crafting an alternative.

“Brexit has fundamentally breached the rules of responsible government,” believes Twomey, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney. And that raises the question, “Is the prime minister still responsible if [he or she] shuts down government with prorogation?” For in Twomey’s view, if there is no responsible government, then the Queen could refuse the request—though she thinks it’s likely that the Queen would not do so. On display is the outlandish fight between the will of Parliament versus the will of ministers, with the Queen and her powers being dragged into the morass.

The Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada will continue its work: its next conference should be in two years. As for the Queen, there is a term in Canadian law, “Demise of the Crown,” which deals with the death of a monarch. It may mark the end of the era, but its experts also hope for a time of renewal.

MORE ABOUT ROYALTY:

The post Life after Queen Elizabeth II: What will ‘the inevitable’ bring? appeared first on Macleans.ca.

.

All Rights Reserved. Copyright (C) 2015.Simplitona

Top