Category Archives: Canada

Digital Disruption

Liz and I have started attending #WalrusTalks, evenings put on the Walrus magazine.  Our first was October 16thof this year and the topic was Cannabis – 7 speakers talking for 7 minutes.  Why October 16th?   The next day was unique for on October 17thmarijuana was legal.  Fast forward to last week and we attended our next Walrus talk, an evening of disruption.  

I’ve heard of these disruption nights but never took part, but in our efforts to learn from listening to others; we couldn’t resist the opportunity to be part of a disruption. We didn’t know what the disruption would be or how it would be sound.  The ‘disruptors’ included a Librarian, Radio Producer, a Doctor, Cannabis expert, a Daemon follower and a mentor to tech girls.

On this evening this was a digital disruption.

Of the six speakers (one was unable to attend) I’ll focus on the disruptors that brought the left the greatest impression on me, and it doesn’t mean the impression was good.  But the overall message of the speakers was that of how disruption makes us think differently. 

The Librarian

Books and the written word have been disrupting the world since the printing press was invented.  The public library as we know it, courtesy of Andrew Carnegie, has been a disruptor giving everyone who dared to enter the doors of a Carnegie Library knowledge, imagination and dreams.  Guylaine Beaudry (@GuylaineBeaudry) is the Librarian of Concordia University and was responsible transformation of the university’s library. 

Guylaine’s message was, the library is not dead, it continues to disrupt, and that alone should change what some may think of the future of the library.  Whether you read from a bound book, take in a visualization of a story or listen to an audio book libraries will continue to create the change it has since ink first made it to paper.  

Beaudry insists that the library evolves as we evolve and how we communicate changes.  Paper and digital co-exist, or rather can and should.  Though she didn’t mention it, the new Calgary Library could be an example of the disruption that a library can cause in the 21stcentury.

The Cannabis Expert

As I mentioned earlier, our first #WalrusTalks was on the eve of legalization on marijuana. I was surprised to see another cannabis speaker, or a disruptor.  I won’t take anything away from Lisa Campbell (@qnp); she is very accomplished and is now assisting others through the new reality of a marijuana consumer.  Her experience of helping those who needed marijuana for medical purposes had led her though to where she is today.   

Through her seven minutes the highlight of her talk was her epiphany that she had to break the law to make good happen.  I don’t begrudge her success or the good work she is doing – but I do oppose her view that breaking the law makes all things good.  Her disruption of challenging the laws in place is noble – but it should always be the exception not the rule.  If it becomes the rule, disruption turns into disorder. 

The Mentor

The final speaker was Saadia Muzaffar, a tech mentor for girls, a promoter of an inclusive future and advisor to the Canadian government for access to skilled talent.  Take the time to scroll through her @ThisTechGirl Twitter feed and you’ll find someone that talks about fairness in a world of digital growth. 

This evening though Saadia focused on tech, the boom of tech and of tech jobs that might not be all that they seem.  On this evening her message left the greatest impression on me.  

In a digital world of apps and online business; owners, shareholders, investors and customers are the winners.  I compare the digital revolution to the industrial revolution of earlier last century.  The bosses were the winners, the workers not so much.  It took decades for workers to gain equality and earn a salary that were not ‘slave wages’. Flash forward to the explosion of apps that control our lives from our phones.  The new digital revolution has had the same effect on workers as 100 years ago.  Low wages without benefits, today people work for themselves and not for a company on a contract workers and in some cases working conditions that lack humane concern.  

In an era where contract workers are becoming a larger part of the workforce Saadia suggests that we need to recognize that the moves cost us and governments.  Social programs lose revenue from corporations that would pay into CPP, EI, and other programs that Canada has been praised for.  That government will rely more on revenues on contract workers is a concern future governments must be aware of.   Contract workers relying on the digital economy now have a greater reliance on themselves to be able to save for retirement.  

Her message should echo with us when we hear of large companies like Amazon come to town promising jobs, we should be asking not only about the number of job but also about the quality of the jobs and working conditions.  Are these the skilled jobs we need?   These questions remain with me weeks after this #WalrusTalks, the need to dig deep and question what communities receives when a company comes to town.

I don’t know that I will ever fit into a mould of being a disruptor, but I do know that I will always consider where my #RedHeartBlueSign values stand. 

Interested in more of what the Walrus magazine presents across Canada?  Visit the Walrus on You Tube to view previous #WalrusTalks presentations or visit http://www.walrus.ca/video

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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Sometimes the view from the front row is…meh

Empty Seats

You can give me front row seats for an Elton John show, a performance at the Stratford Festival and a seat in the first rows along the 1stor 3rdbaselines at a Toronto Blue Jays game.

I have a front row seat, not to be confused with a front bench seat, every day for Parliament in Ottawa.  For most of my two years on Parliament Hill the words, the shouting and innuendos from the benches have meant nothing to me, but just part of the theatrics of question period.  Recently something changed, and not in a good way – the tone has changed from the government side.

Up until MPs returned from a two week break in April what happened in the house was pretty predictable.  For the last two weeks the government has been particularly spiteful when answering a question from the Opposition Conservatives. It reached a new low on Wednesday (the 25th) on the occasion of Prime Minister’s day in Question period.  I don’t know what got into the Prime Minister; maybe he was still fired up from the Liberal convention the previous weekend.  You might have seen this video produced by the Conservative Party and posted on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cpcpcc/videos/10156311860774204/, it has a few clips from the Liberal where Justin Trudeau thinks he is still campaigning against Stephen Harper.

TrudeauIt is more than that, on that particular day, the TV in my office almost flew out the window (with a little bit of help) because of Trudeau’s angry and spiteful answers during question period.  Most of the controversy revolved around the discovery that the Canada Summer Jobs was funding jobs to protest and disrupt the Trans mountain pipeline.  This is controversial because the Liberals prevented many good organizations from receiving jobs funding because they don’t agree with the Liberal values attestation.

Back to question period, of the 22 questions asked to the Prime Minister, Trudeau responded 11 times using the phrase “Harper Conservatives” or named Stephen Harper.  If I think back to that recent Liberal convention I would have to imagine that Trudeau thought he was still talking to his Liberal base only this time in the House of Commons.  He probably was, why else would be invoked the name of Harper if Trudeau had to use the trump card he thinks has with Canadians.  It worked in the 2015 election when Canadians were looking for someone else that Stephen Harper.

In 2018, he could only be naming Harper as much as he had in the House because he needs a distraction from pipelines, the cost of a carbon tax on Canadians and the fallout of the Canada Summer Jobs program. He is daring everyone to remember Harper and have them forget his shortcomings. Watching Trudeau that day, it wasn’t what Trudeau said, but the how he said it.  I cannot put into words the anger and spite in how the Prime Minister’s the words came out.  It was not like anything I have heard before, even worse than I heard Kathleen Wynne resurrect the history of Mike Harris in Queens Park.  I cannot put into words that do justice to describe the smugness of the Trudeau grin, the extreme spite of his words and daggers in Trudeau’s eyes in his efforts to deflect from his government’s problems to a Prime Minister he hopes Canadians still like less than him. I will not forget it.

It was during Question Period on that day that Trudeau showed his true self, most Canadians won’t see it, most Canadians will not even know it happened because it is just 50 minutes out of a day of 24 hours. As Trudeau and his team are forced to defend their inactions, lack of success and poor judgement expect to hear more of Stephen Harper after all the 2019 election is only 541 days away.  Trudeau has learned well that it’s easier to campaign using the name of a person who is not running (Harper) than it is to face your true opponent (Scheer).

So call this a promise kept, doing politics differently, because I do not remember any other Prime Minister acting out like a spoiled little boy as Trudeau did this week and blaming it on someone else. For that, this is one front row I prefer to watch from afar, or on mute.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Day Zero

There are times when I feel sheltered from the news of the world. Last week was one of those times and I was shaken by the news report as I watched The National and a subsequent interview from Cape Town, South Africa. A 350 year old city was facing a day without water, WHAT? I was glued to the story. No Water.

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No water, a concern that once only would have been seen in Star Trek (the original) and was recently addressed in the episode entitled “17 Minutes” on the TV show Travellers (Season 2 episode 7). That concern is now a reality.

Watching the report was alarming to me, alarming because it no only affects 4 million people. Daily water consumption is being restricted to 50 litres per person. There is now a 50 for 150 campaign in Cape Town; 50l of water/person for 150 days. It won’t safe the city, but it will help avoid day zero.

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There are many reasons, but as the Premier Helen Zille, of the province of Western Cape writes, forecasts are unreliable, in an op-ed in the Daily Maverick as normal or more than normal rainfall was forecast last summer. 2017 ended up being the driest summer on record. The premier also writes extensively of the politicizing of water, something we see here in Canada almost daily – politicizing climate change. Read her fascinating column here: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2018-01-29-from-the-inside-from-hot-water-to-thin-ice-on-the-day-zero-trajectory/?utm_content=bufferf0734&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.WndgiGaZN-X.

Day Zero is not only about running out of water, its about circumstances that put our drinking water in jeopardy. There are communities in Canada and the US where the water is undrinkable and unusable. Boil water advisories are becoming more frequent and are in effect longer. Flint Michigan is the American example and California always seems to be on the edge of its own Day Zero. Our First Nations communities live under consistent boil water advisories; incredibly a 22-year boil water advisory will not end until later this year when the government invests $9 Million in a water plant in Neskantaga First Nations, 450 kilometers north of Thunder Bay. Multiple governments have failed the 350 members of that community.

In our own Ontario backyard we need to examine how our water supply will be managed and consumed. in 2016, Nestle bought a well near Elora Ontario, a small town not far from Guelph. Nestle planned to pump 1.6 million litres of water per day from the well for its Canada bottled water consumers. Nestle also pumps water in other communities across Canada including British Columbia. Nestle is doing nothing against the law. As we have seen with protests against pipelines, communities are very concerned with large corporations taking resources out of the ground.

All this has brought the delicate balance our water and natural resources to the forefront of my thoughts. We need to watch our actions, who we allow to take our water, ensure governments protect our resources; act to protect them from and have safeguards built in to contracts when corporations are given access to them.

As consumers of water, we know there is a lot of it in Canada, we should be wary of our consumption. It’s good to see the use of public water refilling stations at big events where we can refill water bottles and other containers. But all of this will mean nothing if we don’t learn from Cape Town and their count down to Day Zero. Little things to reserve our water will help, but as we see from Cape Town it is not enough if rainfalls decrease and drought becomes more frequent.

Cape Town went from overflowing dams to Day Zero in only four years. Day Zero in Cape Town is April 16th, only days ago it was April 12th; only the success of 50l in 150 days will push this day further and perhaps provide relief to the thousands of Cape Towners who now live with 90 second showers using reduced laundry, washing and flushing capabilities.

CBC Radio has been taking a ‘Day Zero’ contingency a bit further, considering the after effects of an earthquake along the BC Coast. Meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe hosts “Fault Line”, which examines what will takes place Day Zero of a major seismic quake. Taking the listener from the response immediately following the quake, call it Day Zero plus with the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months following the earthquake. I found listening to Fault Lines to be a “wake up” kinda scary. You can listen to the 6 episode podcast on the CBC Radio app or via cbc.ca/podcasts.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

“On the House” by Rob Walsh

In a year of living politically, it challenges me to read more so I know and understand more. The first challenge was to learn about what my political reality really is. As a ‘staffer’ on Parliament Hill I had knowledge of the happening of the activities of how Parliament Hill “works. What I needed was an understanding of why it works the way it does and the historical and constitutional contexts that Canada is governed by.

It could be a book for dreamers, those that dream of becoming an elected Member ofOn the House Parliament. At least by reading the book before making the decision to run, it could weed out a few who might be considering a ‘run’ when the weight of the position is understood.

On the House is written by Rob Walsh, who had a 20-year career as a Law Clerk working with Members of Parliament and their staff on Parliamentary procedure and regulations. On the House introduces the players that support MP’s and staff and also reveals a few secrets that take the mystery out of the daily procedures that rule all that are allowed to be in the House of Commons.

The book arrived at a time when there were ethical questions raised by members on the activities of the government. On the House covers the everyday activities of from the moment a newly elected MP arrives in Ottawa to set up an office, attending Member “school” and to be sworn in, all this to be done before setting one foot into the House of Commons.

Beyond the first steps following an election, On the House, takes the reader (and the new MP) through an exercise of understanding how our constitution was developed going back to before the Magna Carta and the development of the separation of the Crown and Parliament in the United Kingdom.   What follows through in the pages is an evolution of ‘privilege’, ‘ethics’, tradition where much of the work of governing take place. Walsh takes us into committee rooms, into the law clerks office and of course into the House of Commons as he explains how the procedures, with even the smallest alteration would have an large impact.

In light of what has been making recent headlines, the sections on ethics and parliamentary privilege are of particular interest. I should note here that skipping ahead to read these chapters should not be encouraged; having the constitutional context of privilege is needed to know that Canada is governed by history as much as it is by a changing political and social landscape.

The idea of Parliamentary privilege might seem unlawful to Canadians, protecting our elected officials from what is said in ‘the House’ and on Committee? Walsh does a good job to explain why the privilege exists and where it comes from. While privilege exists in the House and in Committee, it does not outside of these, hence the reason you’ll hear requests to have something said in privilege repeated outside the doors of the house (which are used as the cover of On the House).

Through case histories, parliamentary debates and parliamentary procedures outside of the House of Commons Walsh give the reader the experience that even though there are flaws, our form of government that was first set out in the British North America Act of 1867 works. Walsh also uses cases of law that defend the privilege that MP’s enjoy. While Walsh worked to defend many of Parliaments privileges – he does disagree with a few and puts his case forward – but history more than often not wins out and unwritten laws or traditions of privilege remain in place.

It might seem that On the House is a book for the Ottawa bubble, but the reality is that Walsh has provided Canadians with a “how to book” for comprehending how our government and the opposition how each play their roles.  There is legalese to navigate, but would you expect anything else considering the topic? Walsh’s view as Parliamentary Council on our Parliament is unique and one that should be read and shared.

On the House is available through McGill Queens University Press.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

The new look of a newscast?

CBC unveiled its new look of its flagship newscast, The National this week. While it is being broadcast as the main change in how the Canada’s public TV network, but is one in a chain of changes that is meant to transform how Canadians view the news. It’s goal, ensure that we have our eyes glued to the CBC.

In the “New” National it is a “deliberate decision” to have fewer longer pieces of news as one of the new four hosts, Andrew Chang tweeted to me.

Personally I am a quantity person when it comes to news. Through a workday I can’t get to a newscast. I rely on social media to get the breaking stories of the day. The news I get, because of where I work is nearly all political, other news is not something I would catch. If something breaks I then tune to a news channel on TV to catch the story.

The CBC made some subtle changes (subtle in the grand scheme) to their news line up recently, but since the launch of the revamped National it has all come to me. The subtle changes were all part of the big plan. The CBC has worked to make it the place we will end up for financial news, political news, world news and breaking news – at the end of the day the source for the breakdown of the 5 or 6 major stories. They are counting on us getting our news in drabs through a day and then wanting to go deep behind the headlines.

On the second night of the new National, I watched at 9pm and then went to CTV National News at 10. The differences were expected and very noticeable and that is what the CBC was going for. Gone from the CBC are the traditional 10 stories in 22 minutes. No more top stories with 90 seconds to give you enough information to want to hear more. You’ll get the in-depth story from the very start of the broadcast.

As mentioned, this is one of several changes. First was the move of “On the Money” from 7pm to 4pm. I tweeted about the move, host Peter Armstrong replied that the show would be available in its entirety on the Facebook page, encouraging me to watch there, “whenever I was free to do so”. The second change replaced the Vancouver based early evening news, previously hosted by Ian Hanomansing, show from 8pm to 11pm with the standard host/presenter of CBC New Network. Carol MacNeil now hosts a 2 hour block from 7pm to 9pm.

Finally the new National is dropped into its place in the schedule. New for the National will be the flexibility of having live updates inserted into the taped broadcast. It will be like having breaking news and the previously recorded news all in one – seamless and not noticeable to those tuning in.

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What I get from this is that the CBC is expecting its viewers to get their ‘bits of news’ from new sources like Twitter, Facebook, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed (among others) while some old guard news watchers may have listened to the radio or had the TV on in the background for news.

It seems that the CBC wants to flip how the news is delivered. You might recall not too long ago when the internet was where you went to read/view the in-depth reporting and TV gave you the headlines and maybe a little bit more. Has the CBC been surveying how Canadians are receiving news and current events? Now they want you to go in deep on TV and only scratch the surface on the Internet. The CBC wants users of Facebook and Twitter as their news source to consider the National as a one hour fix for the deep coverage of top seven stories of the day.

I see the value of their theory, I understand the theory, I get the concept. I get it. Will other Canadians? Will Canadians have the energy for the attention at the end of long day needed for the one hour of the National whether it will be through the Cable/Satellite/Fibre TV provider or online? The CBC is counting on two things, one, that current viewers of the National will accept the challenge and two new viewers will flock to the challenge of fewer and longer reports.

Success will not be in only what the traditional TV ratings will reveal, but what traffic has gone to CBC’s online presence (website, Facebook etc.) Has the CBC driven people to watch where ever they might be?

The concept will grow on me. What will pull me away will be the longer world news stories. While I know what is happening in Syria and the Middle East is important to the world it is not enough to me to watch 7-9 minutes and wait for the next story.

The editors, directors and hosts will have to balance Canadian news watchers needs of Canadian, American, World and Financial news. Too much of one of the others and not enough Canadian could be what moves people to another channel for news in their country.

This first week will not reflect what the National will be like in 6 months, by the second or third week we’re told we’ll see the hosts out of the studio and in the field and gathering news. Then we’ll see how the new National will deliver on the “New” in the new National.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

Book Review: Could it happen here?

IMG_20170928_0848160It has been an often asked question following the election of Donald Trump as the US President November 2017, Michael Adams’ book put the question front and centre “Could it happen here? Canada in the age of Trump and Brexit”.

While the title suggests a global perspective, the majority of the information provided by Adams focuses on Canadian and American polling and statistical information. Where does Adams get his research? He does it, the research – or more to the point, his company Environics does the polling and research. What Adams has done is pull the relevant information together and present numbers to make suggestions on the likelihood of Canada experiencing a Trump/Brexit moment.

If you like numbers and love the analytics of numbers you’ll enjoy this read. It reads like a press release at times, meaning for me having to review the numbers a few times to understand the message.   The message is important here, Adams does not go out of his way to make predictions, but present the statistical information to track probabilities in the different chapters.

Could it happen here does cement one fact for me; Canada and the US are extremely different in historical make up, social divisions and the reasons for the differences. This does add up to make the case that Canada’s Trump/Brexit moment is an extreme event and would need more stars aligning than were needed in the US. Our political makeup of three major parties almost guarantees we won’t see red baseball caps on most Canadians.

While the book deals a lot with Trump, it addresses Brexit and the likelihood of Canada wanting its Brexit moment. This year’s NAFTA renegotiations (a by-product of Trumpism) are the example. It was not any demand from Canada to tweak the trade agreement. In Parliament the Liberals and Conservatives are congratulating each other for the Canada European trade agreement. Canadians support these deals because we have been able to maintain Canadian institutions like supply management in the deals. Adams makes a big point that Canada’s immigration is generally supported by all parties and Canadians. The drivers that ended in the Brexit just don’t exist in Canada today.

Michael Adams presents the information that will allow the reader to make a personal conclusion to the question we’re faced with on the cover. But through the polling information and statistical data we see that when looking at the US, the UK and Canada, if you looked back populism seemed most likely in the US. For me, I’ve thought that America’s rise in populism began with the loss of Mitt Romney’s White House bid in 2012. Romney was no John McCain and no George Bush (both of them). He seemed to be as far from the common republican as you could be. But here is the problem, Trump has the wealth of Romney, however where Trump succeeded and Romney failed was that Trump spoke to the grassroots of republicans – Romney didn’t. The base of republican support doesn’t waiver, as it doesn’t with the Conservative Party of Canada. Populism in the US won the 2016 election because of an elitist candidate’s message to the base. Trump convinced the base hen was like them, though the lifestyle he lived was as far from them as anything could be.

Comparing a conservative base in Canada with the American provides substantial evidence that in Canada the rise in populism will be much more difficult. The key information that supports my idea is that Canadians don’t want a leader that doesn’t bend and avoids compromise. Americans and Canadians are opposites in this. Adams points out that a 2011 Environics survey 58% of Canadians want a leader that will compromise, 54% of Americans desire to have their leader to stand firm.

There are other reasons for me believing that Trumpism cannot succeed in Canada; a three party electoral system, our social and economic systems and dare I say it, our “Canadian Values”. There will however always be the wildcard of the voter themselves. Hillary Clinton found this out, the voters are fickle and if you lose their trust you cannot win.

Could it happen here? presents Canada vs. the US vs. Europe in a compact presentation. It also surprises the reader with the similarities between three. Similarities that do make you raise an eyebrow and go hmmmm.

 

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net

 

They’ll be back soon, what to look for in Queen’s Park and on Parliament Hill this fall Pt. 2

 

Last week, part one of this two part blog, focused on the return to Queen’s Park by Ontario’s MPP in the session that will be crazy busy as all parties start to position themselves for the June 2018 provincial election. In part two, a look at the return to Ottawa of MP’s as the Trudeau Liberals hit the halfway point in their mandate.

While a federal election won’t come before October 2019, there is positioning taking place. All three parties will start to think about that election as dynamics have changed. Gone is Rona Ambrose and in comes Andrew Scheer and the NDP start the midway session of the Liberal mandate without a permanent leader.

LPCLet’s begin with the government and what we might expect from the Liberals. First, we’ve been told there will be no proroguing this fall. Main reason is that recently announced new Governor General, Julie Payette, will not have been sworn in. We will have to wait until the New Year for a new speech from the throne. The Liberals will want to get the old speech and promises made in that speech, like electoral reform off the legislative books.   In the meantime, they have big legislation that needs to get through the house, the most important of which, will be the legalization of marijuana. Everyone will be watching to see what that Bill looks like and to what lengths the Bill will protect Canadians, especially young Canadians.

Trudeau and his team will have to continue to navigate through the Presidency of Donald Trump, especially now since NAFTA renegotiations have begun. How will Canada respond while Trump tweets about what he doesn’t like and what he expects to be in NAFTA2? The Liberals have given themselves some breathing space with the opposition by bringing onboard for advice and counsel, former PM Brian Mulroney and most recently with the NAFTA Advisory Council appointments of Conservatives Rona Ambrose, James Moore and former NDP Chief of Staff to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Brian Topp  – an all-star Team Canada approach to the negotiations. How this works out for the government is yet to be seen. It is going to be one of the biggest challenges the government will face leading to the 2019 election.

NDPStill to be determined is who will be leading the third party.  A new leader should be selected by the time the house comes back from its Thanksgiving break. Will it be the familiar face of either Nikki Ashton, Guy Caron or Charlie Angus? Will newcomer to the federal scene Jagmeet Singh be leading the NDP from the balcony of the House of Commons? The deadline for new memberships is August 17th, when those numbers are announced; just who might lead the NDP could be clearer. Until that happens, Tom Mulcair will remain in the front benches leading the NDP. What direction the NDP takes when Mulcair is gone will depend on who becomes leader. Until then, expect to see the NDP fight the fight as the third party and trying to remain part of the headlines until after the leadership is decided.

CPCAndrew Scheer had a few weeks as leader in June following his rise to the leadership in May at the federal leadership convention in Toronto before the House rose for the summer.  Last month Scheer took the first steps in defining what his leadership will look like with the forming of his leadership team, which includes Candice Bergen staying on as House Leader and Lisa Raitt, former leadership candidate, now taking her place beside him as Deputy Opposition Leader. Still to be come is the shuffling of his shadow cabinet and where he plans to place his leadership supporters, leadership opponents and the current members that have critic roles; this will help define an Scheer era of conservatives. With the Conservative caucus set to meet in Winnipeg the first week of September, hopefully the shuffle will take place before the end of August.

Will the Conservatives be an opposition party, or will they be a government in waiting. There is a difference in how strategy will be formed. As a government in waiting what will Scheer Conservatism look and sound like? It cannot be about using ‘elbow gate’ as a reason to show JT is still not ready, nor can they use foreign policy blunders as a means to expecting the world and Canada’s part in it to fall apart. Scheer will have to define what a Conservative government would do, what action would be taken? Will the Conservatives start to work the themes that Andrew Scheer brought up during the leadership? Will we see ideas from other leadership candidates creep into policy? How will the return of the Parliament shape how Canadians and the government see Andrew Scheer? These are going to be the biggest questions for the party to decide. I expect this upcoming session will be all about Scheer showing his teeth without showing his hand.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com where I post about the little things in life I see and do.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.