Considering what America’s choice of Donald Trump really means

By Marc Fisher November 9 
 
Early on the morning of Nov. 9, Republican President-elect Donald Trump addressed supporters in New York, declaring victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Here are key moments from that speech. (Video: Sarah Parnass/Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Eight years ago, unprecedented throngs of Americans rushed into the streets in the middle of the night. People cried, hugged strangers, kissed cops, shared champagne. The country had just elected its first black president, and it felt as if liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, were on the same team, if only for a rousing moment, and that team had just won the World Series.

Of course, it quickly became clear that Barack Obama had won office in a divided nation hungry for change but also mistrustful of authority, suspicious of nearly everything. Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday night seemed unlikely to provoke any such unifying surge of goodwill and pride.

Americans on election night of 2016 had the blues — anxious about the future, miffed about the lousy choices they faced, insecure about the nation’s place in the world, bothered by each other.

A presidential election is a reflection of the national culture and mood, and if the Obama election was a statement of optimism about the radical demographic, technological and social changes of recent decades, then what did Americans’ choice of Trump really mean? It is, some voters said, an admission of exhaustion, a collective settling for the lesser of two evils in a country where people increasingly choose not to live near, associate with or listen to those who hold opposing political views. Not quite, other voters said. With or without Trump’s extraordinary appeal, Americans were determined this year to send the politicians a message about the pain caused by a decades-long collapse of certainties about what America looks like, what constitutes a family and how we earn a living.

Through traditional news media and new social media, an unusually captivated audience saw this campaign as a disorienting kaleidoscope of bloodcurdling anger at raucous rallies, waves of investigation and suspicion, and torrents of insults traded by candidates and their supporters. Tuesday’s vote left unresolved whether the ugly narrative of unprincipled demagogue vs. dishonest harridan really reflects a country that has fallen into coarse, raw hatred — or if the 2016 campaign was instead a symptom of the newly pervasive power of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The line between public and private blurred so thoroughly that nasty, hurtful comments that people once made only to their closest family members and friends were now broadcast to the world at large.

“He tells you 90 percent of your arteries are clogged. By being blunt, he’s saving your life.”

Across the ideological divide, some see this year’s surly, sour campaign as a reflection of sentiments that have been plainly visible on the Internet for a long time but that just this year exploded into open expression.

“Fear and anger and misogyny and xenophobia don’t change — they were always out there, but now those people can find each other so much more easily,” said Chip Franklin, a radio talk show host in San Francisco who built his career as a conservative, then shifted his politics to the left. “This year’s anger is the same as any year’s anger, but what’s different now is that there are 30 different ways to express that anger and share it with people who would never have seen it before. Then along came Donald Trump, willing to say whatever people wanted him to say.”

Even if he had lost, this would have been the year of Trump, a wholesale rejection of politics as usual. The thin enthusiasm for Clinton, the revival of the 1990s narrative painting her as dishonest and arrogant, and the dramatically rougher language deployed against her combined with Trump’s ability to give voice to the nation’s id. The result was a cavalcade of insults, threats and unchecked assertions flying under the flag of anti-political correctness.

The candidates took body blows from all sides, a level of vitriol that was commonplace in America’s first century but had calmed considerably during the decades when the three major TV networks set the nation’s political tone. This year, it was almost remarkable that no candidate got challenged to a duel.

Congress, the news media and politicians overall — the usual basement dwellers in any accounting of the nation’s least-trusted institutions — fell to new lows. But the biggest shift seemed to take place on the smallest stages.

As Jane Beard waited for her prescription at the Walgreens in Edgewater, Md., a baby in a stroller caught her eye. She played a quick bit of peek-a-boo, looked up and caught the boy’s father’s eye. He smiled and leaned in: “Listen, I want to ask you something. Are you a Hillary voter? You look like a Hillary voter.”

For an instant, Beard — in yoga pants, a sweatshirt and little Ecco shoes — thought the man had sensed a kindred spirit. “You bet I am!” she replied.

Suddenly, the man unleashed a river of invective: “It’s c—s like you who are helping that c— win. She’s a murderer.” He went on, and it didn’t get any nicer.

Rattled, Beard asked: “Why did you even come up to me? I never said a word to you. All I did was exist in the world in this store . . .”

“You exist!” the man hissed. “B—–s like you exist and you’re f—ing up the country — our country.”

Beard searched for the best retort. “It’s my country, too,” she blurted. She quickly left the store, sat down in her car, caught her breath and posted about the incident on Facebook.

Within minutes, a virtual community embraced Beard, a former actress who coaches executives on public speaking. They bemoaned the loss of civility in so many places. They told stories of angry confrontations launched from both sides of the divide. They said they’d refrained from putting out yard signs this year because people have gotten so riled up.

“Truly sadly, I feel just about the same way as this nut — albeit in reverse,” one of Beard’s friends wrote. “I hate that this election has brought out these feelings in me.”

But one man assured Beard that “you met an outlier. The vast majority of people are good and kind.” Another urged her to “look at the support you have catalyzed with this post. Look at the love that holds you and everyone woven into this tapestry. That is what is real.”

Beard, who lives in Churchton, Md., near the Chesapeake Bay, had already had three Hillary signs stolen from her yard. On Halloween, she took down her latest sign, just for the evening, “because we didn’t want people not to come to our house.”

But in the week after the drugstore confrontation, Beard, 60, found support from neighbors, including Trump supporters, one of whom ran into her at the Baltimore airport, hugged her, and said, “Oh my gosh, Jane, we can still be friends.”

Still, she struggled with the meaning of her moment in Walgreens. “People are scared,” she concluded. “That man is raising a kid that will hear that language and spout that language. Yet I was soothed by all the outpouring. What makes me sad is that we’re devolving into tribes. I thought we were all the American tribe.”

Clinton holds a rally early Tuesday morning at N.C. State University in Raleigh. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Suporters cheer Trump in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Monday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

‘Why are we enemies?’

Deep divisions and despairing dissatisfaction over politics and the nation’s direction are nothing new. “America never was America to me,” Langston Hughes wrote in “Let America Be America,” his 1935 poem. “I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart. I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. . . . I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek — and finding only the same old stupid plan of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.”

Hughes concluded that the people, not the politicians, could “bring back our mighty dream again. . . . I swear this oath — America will be!”

That essentially American optimism has not disappeared. Many Trump supporters, drawn by their candidate’s dark vision of a lost and failing country that “I alone can fix,” thought of themselves as a movement to restore greatness.

“More than anything else, Trump picked up on a growing sense that elections don’t have much impact on the direction of the country, that power is increasingly distant from the people,” said Chris Buskirk, publisher of American Greatness, a pro-Trump blog. Buskirk saw Trump connecting with voters on messages that had more in common with Democrats Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren than with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.): border security, a “pro-worker” trade policy aimed at “bringing Wall Street to heel” and a foreign policy skeptical of military intervention.

That message — American jobs, America First, Fortress America — hit home with millions of people who have felt disconnected from, and disdained by, the elites for decades. In 1996, James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, one of the country’s largest and most influential evangelical Christian organizations, said: “People inside the Beltway are not aware of the multiple millions of Americans out there who believe things differently than is perceived in Washington. They’re very concerned about . . . a moral meltdown in this country. They’re waiting for some political figure to articulate those views. And no one does.”

Then came Trump. His unique blend of celebrity, ego and a mischievous delight in outraging the elites — as well as his confidence that he would be judged by the lax standards applied to Hollywood and sports figures rather than the unforgiving rules that govern politicians — enabled him to win over millions who heard in his message clear echoes of their late-night grumbles to friends on Facebook.

Trump’s rhetoric and character liberated some Americans to open an ugly vein of animosity. “This year has revealed our underbelly, and a lot of people don’t like what we see,” said Jim Daly, Focus on the Family’s current president. America, Daly said, has morphed into “a post-Christian society,” a “depraved culture” in which the more conservative party chose a nominee who boasted of his sexual assaults.

In recent days, many Americans expressed a palpable desire to relieve the tension of division that is evident in the 56 percent of Americans who, according to The Washington Post-ABC poll, were anxious about Clinton becoming president and the 61 percent who felt that way about Trump winning.

Every chapter in the American story so far has resolved into hope. The Civil War birthed Reconstruction. The riots and generational strife of the 1960s settled into sweeping social and cultural change.

Before the vote, the University of Virginia’s president, Teresa Sullivan, appealed to students to be civil to one another after the vote. She taught them about the bitter election of 1800, when a pro-John Adams newspaper warned that Thomas Jefferson would create a nation in which “murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced.” Jefferson won and set about trying to get people to “unite with one heart and one mind,” to restore “that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things . . .”

Daly, the evangelical leader, said he intends to reach out to gay activists and abortion rights advocates “to build bridges, just trying to create discussions and friendships. I don’t know if it will work. When you try to do that, you get killed by the extremes on both sides. The uncorking of incivility makes it hard: Discussions that used to die among friends now become unbridled castigating of other people. I’m hopeful that this election is a blip. We’re now at a point where we cannot say that civility is a shared value, and I don’t see how we can keep our democracy together without being able to talk to each other.”

Obama, urging unity, says he’s rooting for Trump’s success

 

President Obama said he was heartened by Donald Trump’s call for unity after his stunning victory and “we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.” The White House said the two men are due to meet Thursday to discuss the handover of power.

 and 

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conceding Hillary Clinton’s staggering defeat, President Barack Obama urged the nation Wednesday to join him in rooting for President-elect Donald Trump’s success. He said he was heartened by Trump’s election night call for unity and hoped it wouldn’t fade.

Obama, in a post-election ritual meant to signal the peaceful transition of power, vowed to do all he could to ensure Trump would be well-positioned to run the country. He said he’d congratulated Trump by phone and invited him to sit down together at the White House.

Standing in the Rose Garden, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side, Obama spoke to more than a hundred of his White House staffers, who stood silently, dazed, some crying, before breaking out into a prolonged round of applause that continued long after Obama returned to the Oval Office.

Obama’s conciliatory reaction to the election marked an attempt to buck up Democrats reeling with disappointment, shock and uncertainty about the future. He said he’d told his staff to “keep their heads up” and be proud of the “remarkable work” they’d done.

Left unsaid was that Trump has vowed to aggressively undo most of what Obama has accomplished, leaving Obama’s supporters fearful that the last eight years may have been in vain.

But the president, standing in front of the Oval Office, downplayed the notion that Trump’s presidency would mean an about-face for the nation. He said the U.S. has a tendency to “zig and zag” rather than move in a straight line, and he added, “That’s OK.”

“That’s the way politics works sometimes,” Obama said. “We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, we go at it. We try even harder the next time.”

Obama spoke just moments after Hillary Clinton formally conceded to Trump with a similar, though more emotional, appeal to give Trump a chance to succeed as president. The remarks were striking after a campaign in which the Democrats declared Trump was unfit to serve and told voters the future of democracy was riding on their choice.

The White House said Obama and Trump are expected to meet Thursday to discuss the handover of power and ongoing planning for the transition. Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning Wednesday to congratulate him on his stunning victory, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama’s eight years in office.

With Republican control of both chambers of Congress, Trump will be well positioned to make good on that promises.

Obama called Clinton after it became clear she’d lost the race. In his Rose Garden remarks, he paid tribute to her historic candidacy and said, “I could not be prouder of her.”

It was unclear how substantive Obama’s call was with Trump, or how long it lasted, although the White House noted that Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing.

 Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a “warm conversation” and a “gracious exchange.” She said Trump had missed the president’s original call as Trump was speaking to supporters in New York, then called him back after leaving the stage.

Like Clinton and other Democrats, Obama didn’t appear to see Trump’s victory coming. As he campaigned vigorously for Clinton in the race’s final days, Obama said he was confident that if Americans showed up to vote, they’d choose against electing the billionaire former reality TV star with no formal government experience.

He had also warned supporters in apocalyptic terms that “the fate of the republic” rested on Clinton defeating Trump on Election Day.

Clinton, Obama urge disappointed backers to reconcile themselves to Trump’s win

November 9 at 4:30 PM
Both Hillary Clinton and President Obama urged their backers Wednesday to accept President-elect Donald Trump’s victory and support his transition into power, as Democrats prepare to hand over control of the White House for the first time in eight years.The calls for a national political reconciliation underscored the seismic political realignment now underway in Washington after Clinton’s crushing loss to the New York businessman. Both the president and his former Secretary of State told their supporters not to despair as Republicans rejoiced at the idea that they will control both the legislative and executive branch in two and-a-half months.

Clinton said her loss exposed the nation’s deep and difficult divisions, but she urged her backers to give him “a chance to lead.”

In her first public statements since the stunning election results, Clinton also called on other women to take up where she left off and continue the push for the White House, suggesting she may not make another run in four years.

“We need you to keep up these fights,” Clinton said in New York, making special mention of the many women who hoped she was on her way to become the first female president.

“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too,” said Clinton, less than 24 hours after calling the president-elect to concede after his history-shaping run that defied pollsters and galvanized legions of aggrieved voters in a loud repudiation of the status quo. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.”

Clinton, who was misty-eyed at times but composed throughout her remarks, said the long and bitter campaign against Trump showed that “our nation is more deeply divided that we thought.”

But she told her backers: “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Clinton and her allies are now left to sort out how Trump upended her once-clear path to become America’s first female president. Clinton called Trump to concede as the results were clear.

Minutes after Clinton finished speaking, President Obama addressed reporters in the Rose Garden with Vice President Biden by his side, as more than a hundred White House staffers stood off to the side. Several of the aides were visibly emotional, with at least one crying before he began speaking.

“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage,” Obama said, vowing to work to ensure a smooth transition for the president-elect.

The president, who has invited Trump to the White House Thursday, added he was “heartened” by the tone of his victory speech and their private phone call, which took place around 3:30 am Wednesday.

“That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other.”

Trump — who had used social media as a tool to court support and mock foes during the campaign — sent a tweet at 6:30 a.m.: “Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before”.

But protests flared as dismay among Clinton supporters turned to anger. In Los Angeles, about 500 people chanted, “Not my president.” In Oregon, anti-Trump demonstrators blocked traffic and rail lines.

After running a divisive campaign, Trump sounded a magnanimous note of reconciliation as he claimed victory shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

He had portrayed his opponent as the embodiment of a rigged system that had failed the everyday American. Her credentials through a quarter-century on the national stage, which in another electoral climate would have been an asset, pegged her in his supporters’ view as the ultimate establishment insider.

Trump said that under his administration, “America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.” And he promised foreign countries that “while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone,” adding: “We will seek common ground, not hostility.”

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump and Clinton “had a very gracious exchange” when she conceded the race.

Asked whether Trump would consider appointing a special prosecutor to probe Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state and her ties to the Clinton Foundation, Conway said: “We have not discussed that at all, and he certainly did not discuss that with Secretary Clinton on that call.”

With Trump’s ascension to the White House, the nationalist wave that has swept capitals around the world — including in Britain, which voted to break from the European Union this year — came crashing onto U.S. shores.

The prospect of an impulsive authoritarian in the Oval Office initially rattled investors around the world. But a panicked global sell-off Tuesday night transformed into a near-record high for Wall Street by the end of trading on Wednesday.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average surged ahead about 250 points, or 1.4 percent, close to an all-time high — despite futures markets overnight signalling a decline of as much as 800 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq both gained about 1 percent.

Even the Mexican peso — which had fallen as the Republican nominee rose in the polls during his campaign — regained some ground after dropping to the lowest level since the 1990s.

World leaders congratulated Trump even as they grappled with the repercussions of his win. Britain, Germany and other U.S. allies stressed their close bonds with Washington. Russia, meanwhile, was quick to make overtures for better ties — something Trump encouraged as he campaigned.

In Mexico, the nation’s currency plunged and leaders weighed how to deal with a president-elect who has vowed to build a border wall and drive out undocumented workers.

The general election, which riveted the nation and produced a record television audience for a presidential debate, turned on the question of national identity.

While Clinton assembled a diverse coalition that she said reflected the nation’s future, it was no match for the powerful and impassioned movement built by fanning resentments over gender, race and religion.

Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” inspired millions of Americans alienated by the forces of globalization and multiculturalism and deeply frustrated with the inability of Washington to address their needs.

Voters anxious about the economy, convinced that the system was stacked against them, fearful of terrorism and angry about the rising gap between rich and poor, gravitated toward Trump. In him, they saw a fearless champion who would re-create what they recalled as an America unchallenged in the world, unthreatened at home and unfettered by the elitist forces of “political correctness.”

Online, the distress of some of some of Clinton’s top advisers was palpable. David Plouffe, who had served as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and helped guide Clinton’s campaign, had predicted in late September that the Democratic nominee had a 100 percent chance of winning the election.

“I’m sorry everyone,” he tweeted around 1 a.m. Wednesday. “Had to talk to my kids. Wrong and remarkably so. But the idea of our country has always been stronger than an election.”

Control of Congress was on the line as well, with Republicans maintaining their majority in the House and a string of hotly competitive Senate contests going their way as well.

Trump’s feuds with Republican leaders created deep fissures in his party, and his victory has set the GOP on a new path. But congressional leaders–including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who declined to campaign with Trump after a videotape surfaced of the real estate magnate talking in lewd terms about sexually accosting women–said they looked forward to collaborating on a conservative agenda together.

“This is the kind of unified Republican government that we set out to deliver,” he told reporters in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., adding Trump “earned a mandate” with his victory. “I think we are going to hit the ground running.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called the election a rejection of Obama’s policies and said that “the American people have chosen a new direction for our nation.”

Obama campaigned vigorously for his former secretary of state — going so far as to label her opponent temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief — but his resurgent popularity did not rub off.

Trump had pledged to dismantle Obama’s achievements, starting with his signature law, the Affordable Care Act that became known as Obamacare. He also will be in position to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court.

A Trump presidency is certain to produce significant geopolitical repercussions. He has promised to transform U.S. foreign policy and take it in a more unilateralist direction.

He also has promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport immigrants who are in this country illegally. Trump said he would “bomb the s—” out of the Islamic State and claimed he has a secret plan to annihilate the terrorist organization. He has also expressed admiration for strongmen such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has promised to forge a closer relationship based on mutual respect.

Federal financial picture eroding, as government announces new capital spending, infrastructure bank

Jason Fekete, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA – The federal government’s fiscal position has deteriorated by billions of dollars since the budget, at the same time it’s ratcheting up capital spending and creating a new Canada Infrastructure Bank to dramatically overhaul how large projects are planned, funded and delivered across the country.
As the federal financial picture continues to erode – and spending increases – the Liberal government said Tuesday in its fall economic update it has no timetable for balancing the budget and acknowledges it doesn’t know when the gusher of red ink will end.
The new Canada Infrastructure Bank is one of the federal government’s centerpiece items announced in an economic update that – once again – downgrades projected growth and forecasts that a worsening financial situation will soon gobble up all of the billions of dollars in fiscal contingency that was included in the spring budget.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau also announced in the economic update the government is committing $81 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next 11 years on public transit, green projects, and social infrastructure. However, most of the funding is earmarked for several years down the road, beyond the government’s current four-year mandate.
“Today is about the long term,” Morneau told reporters prior to delivering the economic update in the House of Commons.
“We know that the economic situation that we’re in is challenging.”
The Liberal government projects its budgetary balance will be $1.7 billion worse in the current 2016-17 fiscal year than it forecast in the budget, when factoring in economic developments, new spending and announcements.
Add it up, and the government’s fiscal position is $31.8 billion worse over the next five years than it forecast in the March budget, completely devouring within two years the $6 billion in annual contingency that was built into the forecast to absorb unexpected economic shocks.
Between 2016-17 and 2021-22, the government is expecting to run approximately $130 billion worth of combined deficits.
The government now projects the deficit will hit $25.1 billion in 2016-17, but it will only hit that target after using all of the $6 billion contingency that had been included in the budget. The budgetary shortfall is expected to increase to $27.8 billion in 2017-18 after using the $6 billion contingency next year.
By 2021-2022, the government believes the deficit could still be nearly $15 billion, and there’s no timeline or apparent plan for getting finances back into balance.
“We lost the contingency… Now it’s gone, we spent it. And we have this $130 billion of additional debt,” said former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, now the head of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa.
“Hopefully in the budget we’ll see a stronger fiscal planning framework, more fiscal rules, more deficit targets, maybe spending rule targets.”
The government, at this point, is no longer planning a contingency for future years amid a fragile economy. It is instead using the $6 billion that was allocated as contingency each year to lower its deficit projections in future years.
Starting in the upcoming 2017-18 fiscal year, the Liberals will start rolling out the next phase of its infrastructure funding, promising $81 billion more over 11 years.
The funding will include: $25.3 billion for public transit projects such as subways and light rail; $21.9 billion for green infrastructure like interprovincial transmission lines, renewable power projects, and water treatment facilities; and $21.9 billion for social infrastructure such as affordable housing, early learning and childcare, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.
As well, $10.1 billion will be allocated to a trade and transportation fund for more efficient corridors to international markets, and $2 billion for rural and remote communities for projects like building roads and expanding Internet connectivity.
“We’re talking about big, bold, historic investments in infrastructure,” Morneau said.
The Liberals will table legislation in 2017 to create the Canada Infrastructure Bank, a Crown Corporation the government says will provide “innovative funding and financing” to help get more infrastructure projects built in Canada, in partnership with municipal, provincial and Indigenous partners.
The infrastructure bank will target large institutional investors to help finance “transformational” projects in Canada and get them built more quickly and at less of a financial risk to taxpayers. The government hopes to leverage potentially $4 or $5 of private sector investment for every $1 in federal, provincial and municipal funding for a project.
For example, a major $500-million infrastructure project that would traditionally be equally funded between three levels of government could instead see municipal, provincial and federal governments contribute $100 million combined, while private investors would cover the other $400 million.
The infrastructure bank will invest at least $35 billion from the federal government into large projects that boost economic growth, through loans, loan guarantees and equity investments.
Roughly $15 billion of the federal funds will come from funding already announced for transit, green projects and social infrastructure, with another $20 billion available for investments that result in the bank holding assets, either in equity or debt.
“The Canada Infrastructure Bank, governments and investors will work together to identify a pipeline of potential projects and identify investment opportunities that provide the biggest economic, social and environmental returns,” says the economic update.
Other initiatives announced in the economic update include:
The government will create a new Global Skills Strategy that seeks to implement a two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for low-risk, high-skill talent for companies doing business in Canada;
The Liberals are planning to spend $218 million over five years to create an Invest in Canada Hub, which it calls a “high impact sales force” to promote the country globally and convince companies to invest in Canada;
Introduce new legislation to make the Parliamentary Budget Officer an independent officer of Parliament, giving it more autonomy and greater access to information held by government departments and Crown corporations. The PBO’s new mandate will also include costing of political party platform proposals; and
New legislation for Statistics Canada to give the Chief Statistician of Canada greater powers over the production and release of official statistics, and appoint the chief statistician to fixed five-year terms based on merit. The National Statistics Council will also be replaced with a newly created Canadian Statistics Advisory Council to improve independence, relevance and transparency for national statistics.
The Liberals are also promising to open up the doors to the ultra-secretive Board of Internal Economy, the multi-party committee that makes spending and administrative decisions for the House of Commons and members of Parliament.

Vikram Toor and Ashim Raza killed in Friday-night shooting in Surrey

By GLENDA LUYMES

Two young men are dead after a shooting Friday evening in Surrey.

Police were called to 159th Street and 110th Avenue just before 7:30 p.m. and found 19-year-old Ashim Raza and 24-year-old Vikram Toor suffering from gunshot wounds. One of them was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was taken to hospital, where he later died.

According to a homicide team press release, investigators believe the shooting was independent from the gangland violence that has rocked the Lower Mainland in recent weeks.

Two men were shot while inside a car near the intersection of 159 St. and 110 Ave. on Friday night in Surrey.

“It is early in the investigation, but police are making every effort to establish the motive for the shooting,” said Cpl. Meghan Foster. “We ask that the public exercise vigilance, while we work to find justice for our victims and their families.”

The shooting happened in Fraser Heights, a quiet, family-oriented neighbourhood north of Highway 1, near an elementary school, playground and sports fields.

Photos from the scene show what appears to be a body covered by a yellow tarp hanging out of a vehicle with a window blown out. A box of firecrackers appears to be resting beside the car.

The homicide happened hours after the province’s public safety minister Mike Morris made a statement reassuring the public that police are working tirelessly to try to put an end to a recent string of gang-related violence.

Police have linked two killings and several shootings this month to gang involvement.

There have been 56 shootings in Surrey so far this year.

Randeep Sarai appointed as the new chair of LPC Pacific Caucus

SURREY, BC – Liberal British Columbia Members of Parliament chose Randeep Sarai to be the new Pacific Caucus Chair this week.

“Over the past twelve months our government has been working hard to accomplish real change and we are keeping to the promises that we made in the last federal election. It’s been a busy and exciting year for British Columbia and there is still much work to be done,” said Randeep Sarai.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen by my British Columbia colleagues to represent them as Pacific Caucus Chair, I’m looking forward to working together to help build a stronger and more prosperous Canada as well as work to ensure that British Columbia is the best place to call home.” said MP Sarai.

As a community leader, a lawyer and a real estate developer, Randeep Sarai has invariably focused his efforts in Surrey. His dedication and excellency in these endeavors have framed his ability to be diligent, inventive and devoted when representing you as your Member of Parliament for Surrey–Centre.

Randeep was born in Vancouver and raised in South Burnaby. He graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to complete his Bachelor of Laws Born at Queen`s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was a Founder and has served as a Director of Virsa – Supporting Youth Strengthening Families Society and helped start South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence, which successfully championed for the creation of the Integrated Gang Task Force. Randeep has been engaged in community work from a very young age, much of it learned through the examples set by his late Father. “Giving back” were common words used and discussed in the Sarai household. He supported his Father to raise funds to fight against Polio thru the local Rotary Club, build their local temple, and organize food drives.

Randeep has also always been passionate about civic responsibility, including the need to make positive contributions to public policy, participation in the electoral processes at all levels, and supporting initiatives that focused on enhancing the quality of life for those less fortunate. Randeep regularly participates and comments on municipal bylaw issues, public policy issues and has been regular commentator on political issues on local Metro Vancouver media outlets.

Currently, he and his wife, Sarbjeet, are raising three children who attend Surrey schools and are very active in sports, recreation, arts and cultural activities. During his spare time, Randeep cherishes time with his family, including the newest member, a young Labrador puppy named Mr. Cuddles, and enjoys activities such as yoga, soccer and jogging.

He is committed to making Surrey the most transit friendly, low crime, metropolitan centre in Canada. Randeep believes the right voice, sound understanding and a commitment to a multi pronged approach can curb the current crime escalation that plagues the city and prevent any further increase in traffic congestion.

Sabi Marwah and Howard Wetston make list of Senate appointments

BY Barbara Shecter

Two Bay Street stalwarts are on the list of new Senate appointment recommendations Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Monday: Howard Wetston, former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Sabi Marwah, who was a longtime senior executive of Bank of Nova Scotia.

Wetston, a former Federal Court of Canada trial judge and one-time chief executive of the Ontario Energy Board, retired last November from the OSC, where he had served as chair and CEO since 2010. In April, he joined Toronto-based law firm Goodmans LLP as counsel.

As head of the OSC, Canada’s largest capital markets regulator, Wetston beefed up enforcement by launching the Joint Serious Offences Team, a partnership between the OSC, the RCMP Financial Crime program and the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch. He also put the wheels in motion for the creation of a paid whistleblower program, and a disclosure regime intended to promote more women on corporate boards and in senior management.

Dale Lastman, chair of Goodmans LLP, said he doesn’t yet know whether Wetston will be able to continue working with the law firm.

“If he can stay, we’ll be delighted to have him, and if he can’t stay, then we’ll be sad from one perspective but he’ll be helping our country from another,” Lastman said in an interview.

He said the former regulator has primarily been providing internal advice and mentoring at the firm.

“If smart and classy and nice and decent and caring and being passionate are qualities that would make a good senator, then Mr. Wetston will make a good senator, as would Mr. Marwah, who I also know,” Lastman said.

Marwah, who joined Bank of Nova Scotia as a financial analyst and climbed the ranks to the positions of vice-chairman and chief operating officer, retired in 2014 after 35 years at what is now Canada’s third-largest bank. The influential former bank executive has also served as a director on the boards of Torstar Corp., Cineplex Inc., George Weston Ltd., and Telus Corp.

Marwah’s official biography posted online by the Prime Minister’s office notes that he is from India, and that he has worked extensively over the past 15 years “to showcase the rich diversity of Sikh and South Asian art and culture.”

Warren Jestin, who was chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia until his retirement in February, said Marwah’s range of experience in the business, health, and education sectors, including sitting on the boards  of the Hospital for Sick Children and Ryerson Futures at Ryerson University, make him an obvious choice for the Senate.

“You think of him as a guy who ran the day-to-day operations of Scotiabank, be his interests and skills are far wider than that,” Jestin said in an interview.

Marwah and Wetston were recommended for Senate appointments alongside, Lucie Moncion, chief executive of the Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, Gwen Boniface, the first female commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, University of Toronto School of Public Policy professor Tony Dean, and Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Trudeau’s six recommendations to the Governor General were chosen using a new merit-based process, which is intended to ensure that the Senate is “independent, reflective of Canada’s diversity, and best able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country.”

For the first time, the process was opened to Canadians to apply, which generated more than 2,700 applications. The submissions were reviewed by an independent advisory board for Senate appointments, which then provided “non-binding” recommendations to Trudeau.