Canada: Jamil Jivani: Poilievre shows how to save people from the ravages of addiction

Jamil Jivani: Trudeau's so-called anti-racism continues to unravel

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Since Republicans under-performed in the U.S. midterms, a go-to narrative to explain what went wrong is that the political right is just too focused on “owning the libs.” It’s a narrative that has picked up steam in Canada, too.

In a YouTube video posted over the weekend, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre gives his take on this country’s ever-growing epidemic of opioid overdoses. © Provided by National Post In a YouTube video posted over the weekend, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre gives his take on this country’s ever-growing epidemic of opioid overdoses.

Just days ago, Toronto-based journalist Matt Gurney observed on Twitter that, “It seems that a significant portion of the right-wing electorate isn’t interested in policy.… They just like people being mean and tough and owning the libs/progressives/elites.”

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Two weeks earlier, Politico’s Ottawa Playbook newsletter made a similar point when reporter Zi-ann Lum clumsily dismissed Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s legitimate argument about Confederation gone awry under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as another attempt to “own the libs.”

For conservative readers, it’s worth resisting the temptation to be defensive, and instead confront the substance of what’s being said: some portion of the political right operates like reactionaries to the left. To the extent that’s true, the movement will benefit by adopting a broader perspective.

The political right does have a distinct vision for society that’s rooted in dignity, equality, justice and opportunity. Conservatives should promote and stand by that vision.

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Thankfully, Canada’s conservative movement has a leader, Pierre Poilievre, who is making an effort to present conservative solutions to Canadians. He’s also willing to take the hits that come with offering a true alternative to the political left, rather than simply reacting to it.

Earlier this week, Poilievre shared a video on social media that generated significant buzz and has inspired numerous responses from journalists, politicians and policy experts. The video, titled Everything feels broken ,” is set in front of a homeless encampment on a beach in downtown Vancouver. Poilievre sits on that beach, faces the camera and explains what a conservative government would do to help people suffering from addiction.

Poilievre outlines three policies: stop government-provided opioid drugs as a so-called safe supply; protect our borders to stop the flow of “precursor ingredients that go into making these drugs”; and enforce tougher penalties on violent re-offenders and organized criminals who victimize addicts.

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The five-minute video is a call to restore law and order and better protect some of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.

Reactions to Poilievre’s social media video sparked an important debate. His critics have raised crucial questions about how to best fight addiction, showing that this issue is far bigger and more important than simply left versus right.

Yet it also gets to the heart of how a conservative approach to social policy could improve the lives of many Canadians and start healing some of our social ills.

Marshall Smith, a national policy expert on mental health and addiction and current chief of staff to the premier of Alberta, is a passionate advocate for a conservative approach to social policy. In 2014, Smith fought a battle with addiction and was homeless on the streets of Vancouver. Following the release of Polievre’s video, the National Post reached out to Smith for comment on what makes Poilievre’s ideas better than the status quo.

“The voices of people with lived experiences matters,” Smith explained, crediting Poilievre for listening to people who have been personally impacted by addiction. “It’s important to understand the values of the communities impacted by public policies and weigh those values along with academic research and advice from policy experts.”

Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy ‘long overdue,’ shows ‘radical change’ on China: experts

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Smith is not alone in believing that lived experience matters when formulating good policy. Voters in Vancouver made a similar point last month, when they firmly rejected the city’s soft-on-crime agenda.

While professors and activists opposed allowing police officers into public schools, voters still chose to elect Ken Sim, who promised to restore the city’s school liaison officers program. Vancouverites made a decision based on what they believe will make their neighbourhoods safer, not what was decreed to them from the dwellers of ivory towers.

Poilievre has an opportunity to speak to what Canadians actually see in their own communities. So far, he’s doing just that, and showing that conservatives have a lot more to offer than just “owning the libs.” Fighting with the left can be fun and rewarding at times, but it’s not what’s going to make Canadians’ lives better.

National Post

NP View: Chinese election interference nothing but a partisan game to Trudeau .
In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised the Liberals would make transparency “a fundamental principle across the federal government.” Yet even when it comes to allegations of Chinese election interference — an issue that should unite Canadians across the political spectrum against a common threat to our democracy — the prime minister insists on stonewalling and sowing partisan divisions. At the beginning of November, Global News published a very serious report alleging that the prime minister had been briefed on a “vast campaign of foreign interference, which includes funding a clandestine network of at least 11 federal candidates running in the 2019 election.

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