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Violent far-right extremist groups on the rise in Germany | CBC News

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what’s happening around some of the day’s most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.TODAY:Far-right groups are on the rise in Germany and are gaining more traction politically as things turn more violent.At Issue takes on the…

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Violent far-right extremist groups on the rise in Germany | CBC News

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what’s happening around some of the day’s most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.TODAY:Far-right groups are on the rise in Germany and are gaining more traction politically as things turn more violent.At Issue takes on the G20 summit and Canada’s hope of finally getting a word in with China. As Canada’s icebergs melt and scientists work to anaylze the impact, Chris O’Neill-Yates spots a particularly fascinating iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Missed The National last night? Watch it here.Germany’s resurgent far-rightGerman authorities are warning about the rising risk of far-right terrorism following the targeted murder of a pro-immigrant politician.Walter Luebcke, a prominent member of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) who led the regional government in the central city of Kassel, was found dead in the garden of his home on June 2. He died from a single gunshot to the head. Yesterday, Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, announced that a far-right extremist had confessed to the “political murder” after DNA traces linked him to the scene.Stephan Ernst is well-known to police. He served time in prison for the attempted bombing of a refugee hostel in 1993, and later received a probationary sentence for breaching the peace during a neo-Nazi march. The 45-year-old reportedly told investigators that he targeted Luebcke after coming across pro-migrant and refugee comments that the politician had made during a 2015 town hall meeting. A video had been shared in several far-right forums. Today, police arrested two more men in connection with the case, saying that they provided the .38-calibre pistol used to kill Luebcke. The men were allegedly aware of Ernst’s politics, and the possibility that he would use the gun to murder a public figure, if not the specific victim.Ernst says he acted alone, but authorities aren’t sure if they believe him, given that he was said to be in contact with extreme-right political parties and the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 — an organization that the Canadian government yesterday added to its list of banned terror groups.”We will continue to work hard to establish whether there were accessories or even accomplices. We owe that to the public,” Seehofter said yesterday. Germany’s intelligence service, the BfV, published an annual report today estimating that there are now 24,100 right-wing extremists in Germany, 12,700 of whom are classified as “violence-oriented.” Last year, the service catalogued 48 “extreme acts” of right-wing violence — 20 more than the year before — including six attempted murders. Seehofer says that the risk of more attacks “is high.” And earlier this week, German prosecutors formally charged eight men who had been detained since October, accused of forming a far-right terror cell in the eastern city of Chemnitz. The men, aged between 21 and 31, were reportedly attempting to buy semi-automatic weapons with an eye to carrying out an attack in Berlin that they hoped to blame on left-wing groups, thereby buoying the fortunes of populist and anti-immigrant parties. Chemnitz was the site of violent protests late last summer as right- and left-wing groups clashed in the wake of a fatal stabbing that police blamed on two refugees from Syria and Iraq. Angela Merkel’s government is vowing to devote more police and money to the fight against far-right extremism in Germany, with the chancellor saying that the battle must be waged “without any taboo.”But there’s a political dimension at play as well as the Christian Democrats try to blunt the momentum of the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which won 11 per cent of the vote in last month’s European Parliament elections.  The AfD is most popular in the formerly Communist east, and recent polls put it ahead of the CDU in two of the three states that will hold elections this fall, raising fears that the party may soon have access to the levers of power.  Some Christian Democrats have accused the AfD of creating the conditions for Luebcke’s murder by legitimizing hateful language and inciting violence. The party isn’t doing much to dispel that notion, with an AfD member of the Bavarian parliament pointed remaining seated this week as his colleagues rose for a moment of silence in memory of Luebcke. International concern is mounting, too. Last week, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation announced that it plans to expand its operations in eastern Germany, linking up with local partners to fight the rise of hate crimes in the region.And there are reports today that a German political delegation that is currently visiting Israel for a cybersecurity conference was disinvited to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum, and had a government welcome reception cancelled because of the presence of an AfD member.However, there is plenty of opposition to the far-right within Germany.Earlier this month, centrist and left-wing party supporters banded together to stop the AfD from electing its first mayor in the eastern town of Görlitz, propelling a Romanian immigrant to victory instead.And this past weekend, townsfolk in Ostritz, made sure that a far-right music festival was thoroughly unenjoyable, by conspiring to buy up all the beer at a local supermarket. A court had already prohibited the sale of alcohol at the concert, and police confiscated more than 4,200 litres of beer from attendees. Like this newsletter? Sign up and have it delivered by email.You may also like our early-morning newsletter, the Morning Brief — start the day with the news you need in one quick and concise read. Sign up here.A note to readersAfter close to 380 editions and 12 million email deliveries, this is my final week of National Today newsletters, as I’m moving on to some other writing opportunities at CBC News.I want to thank you all for subscribing and reading, and for all the feedback that you’ve sent my way over the past 20 months.The National Today is going to take a break for the summer and then return in September, refreshed and revitalized under new management.Please keep reading.At Issue on Canada’s China problemThe world’s largest trading nations are gathering at the G20 summit in Japan this week, and as At Issue Producer Arielle Piat-Sauvé writes, Canada is hoping to squash its beef with China.As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to meet with other world leaders in Japan over the next few days for the G20 summit, there’s one leader he’s hoping to finally get a chance to talk to — China’s Xi Jinping. We know the Canadian government’s request to talk about the two Canadians detained have all gone unanswered (quite literally), but thanks to alphabetical seating, it looks like the two leaders won’t be able to avoid one another this time around. Or this could all make for some awkward body language.Rosemary Barton, Chantal Hébert, Andrew Coyne analyze political news during a taping of the At Issue panel. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)Canada’s frosty relationship with China is just one of the topics we’ll be discussing on At Issue tonight as we look ahead to the key issues you should be keeping an eye on — even after you put that out of office notification on. Is China something we’ll still be talking about come October’s federal election? What about climate change and pipelines? Remember, it was just last week that the federal government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project for the second time. The political arena can be unpredictable. And as Chantal Hébert suggests in her column, even the best-laid federal election plans can quickly come undone.That being said, the House of Commons has adjourned for summer break, MPs are about to head off on their pre-election BBQ circuits and that means At Issue is also going to be taking a short hiatus. So I want to take a moment to say thank you. You guys have continued to engage with us through questions, emails and tweets. It’s been a busy and exciting year and I can’t wait to see what happens next.Hope you can tune in tonight to catch our supersized At Issue panel, as Chantal Hébert, Andrew Coyne, Althia Raj and Paul Wells join Rosie. Until then, take a minute to watch the panellists get a little more personal.We’ll see you in a few Thursdays from now — or whenever there is big enough political news to sound the At Issue alarm.WATCH: At Issue tonight on The National on CBC Television and streamed onlineAll rocks, no roll Canada’s icebergs are shrinking, and scientists are trying to map the global ramifications for coastal communities. As National Reporter Chris O’Neill-Yates dove into the story, she was struck by a particularly fascinating iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The arrival of spring in Newfoundland and Labrador heralds the arrival of icebergs and with them tourists from all over the planet.Until you actually see one up close, it is difficult to conceptualize the true beauty of these colossal chunks of ice that — in scientific terms — “calve” from the vast ice sheet spanning 1.7 million million square kilometres and covering 80 per cent of Greenland. Adding to the sensory delight is the sound of rivulets of water running off into the ocean, and the play of light on their surface, creating hues of greens and blues that could only be reproduced by the most gifted artist.A massive iceberg from Greenland is seen off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador covered in rocks and debris due to the fact that it had not yet flipped over. (Chris O’Neill-Yates/CBC)There was a time in my memory when icebergs were the bane of every fisherman’s existence. But today, many of those fishermen and the coastal communities they live in depend on the arrival of icebergs to cater to a growing tourism industry.On a windy, rainy day in June, my videographer, Eddy Kennedy, and I boarded Derm Hickey’s tour boat in Bonavista, along with a few intrepid tourists who braved the bracing weather conditions to see one of the most unusual icebergs reported anywhere this season.As we approached this massive iceberg, the difference was clearly visible and it was also one of the largest I have seen.On top of the berg, it looked as if loads of rocks and soil had been mysteriously dumped there. Boulders teetered on the edge as if they were about to topple into the ocean below. It was truly an extraordinary sight and Hickey — keeping within a safe distance — circled the iceberg to give us some better views. I was so intrigued, I needed to know more, so I contacted iceberg expert Stephen Bruneau at Memorial University to get an explanation. Bruneau said the rocks and debris fell onto the surface when the iceberg was grinding along through a valley before it got to the ocean.All the debris typically falls off when an iceberg flips over, but this one did not roll before making it to Newfoundland.This berg looked grounded on the bottom of the ocean, so everything on the top will eventually end up in the water of Bonavista Bay. And, as a Newfoundlander, I have seen many icebergs, but this one was truly a delight to see up close.WATCH: Chris O’Neill-Yates story on the global impact of melting icebergs here.A few words on…… why the future is plastics. This house was built in just 14 hours using 600,000 recycled plastic bottles. https://t.co/9pjKyCwab9 pic.twitter.com/Fj9UKquWCS—@CBCTheNationalQuote of the moment”I was thinking of the students in the class, like, how do they feel about seeing their teachers in armour? I’m still in shock about it.”An anonymous, Ottawa-area teacheron her elementary school’s requirement that she wear protective sleeves on her arms to guard against attacks by students with severe behavioural issues. What The National is readingAir Canada to buy Transat for $13 a share (CBC)Venezuela’s Maduro says foiled coup included assassination plan (Euronews)Cocaine bust, looming typhoon add drama to already tense G20 summit (Washington Post)5th Atlantic right whale found dead in Gulf of St. Lawrence (CBC)Dalai Lama: Trump lacks moral principle (BBC)Merkel seen shaking again in Berlin (Deutsche Welle)There will be crime in space. How should we handle it? (Slate)Spanish women detained after telling police that a hitman ripped them off (El Pais)Today in historyJune 27, 1995: Disney scores the right to market RCMP productsOnce upon a time, anyone could make use of the iconic image of Canada’s Mounties. And they did, “from the cheesy to the sleazy,” — pro-wrestling and porn films, respectively, per this report. Striking an exclusive deal with Disney to market licensed products was supposed to put an end to that. But the idea of giving an American company control of a piece of Canada’s heritage was controversial. Although some would certainly denigrate the RCMP as a Mickey Mouse outfit. The RCMP signs a controversial licensing deal with Walt Disney to market the Mountie image worldwide. 2:52Sign up here and have The National Today newsletter delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.Please send your ideas, news tips, rants, and compliments to [email protected] ​
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Military member with links to far-right groups says he’s ‘done nothing wrong’ | CBC News

A Canadian military reservist whose membership in two far-right groups is being investigated by the army has spoken publicly about the matter for the first time, telling a local print and online publication in British Columbia that the allegations against him are “rubbish.” Erik Myggland, who belongs to the Canadian Ranger Valemount, B.C. patrol, spoke recently to The Rocky…

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Military member with links to far-right groups says he’s ‘done nothing wrong’ | CBC News

A Canadian military reservist whose membership in two far-right groups is being investigated by the army has spoken publicly about the matter for the first time, telling a local print and online publication in British Columbia that the allegations against him are “rubbish.” Erik Myggland, who belongs to the Canadian Ranger Valemount, B.C. patrol, spoke recently to The Rocky Mountain Goat, a weekly publication, about the military’s effort to release him from the service. A CBC News investigation last month chronicled Myggland’s prolific online support for the Three Percenter movement — a survivalist organization originally from the U.S. that conducts military-style training — and the Soldiers of Odin, a group with white supremacist roots in Europe. Myggland was interviewed by the military’s counterintelligence branch, which is charged with keeping tabs on possible threats within the service. Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, a brigadier general at the time, speaks with Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk, commander of the Canadian Army, in the Wainwright Garrison training area during Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE on June 2, 2016. (DND Combat Camera/Master Corporal Malcolm Byers) He is still serving as a Ranger, although his own unit recommended he be removed more than a year ago. The army is now investigating to learn why he hasn’t been ejected from the Rangers to date. Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre, commander of the Canadian Army, said recently that Myggland is not expected to be formally released until later this fall.”I’m fine with being released, but it absolutely matters why,” Myggland told the newspaper, adding that he “can’t stand for” being publicly linked with hate groups. CBC News reached out to Myggland — who has posted anti-government screeds online and described Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a “treasonous bastard” in one social media post — on several occasions before its first story on him was published in late August. He initially agreed to talk but then went silent. After publication of his recent interview with the local weekly, CBC News again reached out to Myggland to verify his remarks and again offer him the opportunity to comment on his online posts and involvement with both groups. A tweet by Erik Myggland responding to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Vimy anniversary tribute on April 9, 2018. (Twitter/CBC News) Myggland refused to be interviewed by CBC News. In an email, however, he claimed that coverage of his story has been biased and has failed to cite his years of community service, working with troubled teenagers and teaching self-defence courses to women, and his work with the Rangers and the local volunteer fire service, which he said included 400 emergency responses and life-saving calls. “You see you have no interest in these things. You have no interest in the truth,” he wrote. “You are more interested in trying to destroy a good man that has done NOTHING wrong!” His email did not address his involvement in either right-wing group and did not answer questions related to his case. In his interview with The Rocky Mountain Goat, Myggland did address the military counterintelligence investigation of his activities. The media outlet quotes him saying that he was asked by his commanding officer to meet with counterintelligence officers and insisting that he “promptly complied and fully briefed them on his past activities with the Soldiers of Odin and his current activities with Three Percenters in B.C.” ‘We weren’t doing anything wrong’ The army launched a summary investigation after a CBC News investigation reported that the Canadian military counterintelligence branch  interviewed Myggland about his affiliations but allowed him to continue serving. There was no mention of Myggland’s social media posts in The Rocky Mountain Goat article, although it does quote him strenuously insisting he is not racist. “The most intriguing question [asked by CBC journalists …] in that article was why did the Armed Forces allow me to serve for two years after being investigated? It’s a pretty simple answer: because we weren’t doing anything wrong,” the article quoted Myggland as saying. The story also paraphrased his patrol commanding officer, Clayton Gee, as saying Myggland did not preach hate or try to recruit other Rangers while serving. Myggland vehemently denied being “racist or hateful” in his interview with the weekly and claims that, as a Facebook administrator for the Three Percenters of B.C., he would call out those who displayed such behaviour. He said the Three Percenter movement is all about teaching survival techniques and preparing people for the collapse of society — something which its members believe is inevitable. ‘Anathema’ Myggland is quoted as saying the B.C. Three Percenters would practice with firearms at a local firing range and “conducted military drills with Airsoft rifles.” Section 70 of the Criminal Code of Canada gives the federal government the power to prohibit assemblies without lawful authority for the purpose of conducting military exercises. Barbara Perry is an expert on far-right groups at Ontario Tech University, in Oshawa, Ont. She said she was surprised to see a case of suspected far-right activity within the military handled so “nonchalantly, or so informally.” A counterintelligence investigation should have sounded the alarm all the way up the chain of command to 4th Canadian Ranger Group headquarters and beyond, said Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “It really needs to be communicated to every level of commanding officer in the Armed Forces that membership in a hate group is anathema to serving in the Forces,” Balgord said. The Department of National Defence (DND) would not comment on Myggland’s public statement, saying that in light of the army’s investigation, “it would be inappropriate for us to publicly discuss further.” It also refused to discuss “the sensitive nature of its intelligence work,” adding that information collected during an investigation by counterintelligence officers is protected under the Privacy Act and needs to be safeguarded to protect current and future investigations. “That being said, we can firmly say that the entire institution remains unwavering in its commitment to fighting hateful conduct,” said Dan Lebouthillier, DND’s head of media relations. “We will not tolerate racist or harmful behaviour in our ranks or among our civilian personnel.” Myggland pointed out in his interview that neither the Three Percenters nor the Soldiers of Odin are on any state lists of terrorist organizations. That’s true, said Perry — but even a simple Internet search five years ago would have revealed the anti-Muslim rhetoric being traded among members of the Three Percenters in the U.S., and the blatant white supremacy and anti-immigrant commentary dominating the discourse among Soldiers of Odin organizers, especially in Europe. A Facebook photo of Erik Myggland on Aug. 24, 2019 wearing a Three Percenter patch (Facebook/CBC News) “You would have to have been willfully blind” to claim ignorance about those groups because of the “explicitness of the narratives” at the time Myggland joined, said Perry. Even before the recent introduction of the anti-racism policy framework, Canadian military policy officially barred members from joining groups “that they knew or ought reasonably to have known” would promote violence and hatred.
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Mock debates? Briefing books? How Trump and Biden are preparing for their first debate in Cleveland

CLOSEPresident Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will face each other Tuesday night during their first debate in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: USA TODAY Network)CLEVELAND – Ahead of the most important debate of his political career, Joe Biden huddled with his team of senior advisers in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, last week to try to predict…

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Mock debates? Briefing books? How Trump and Biden are preparing for their first debate in Cleveland

CLOSEPresident Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will face each other Tuesday night during their first debate in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: USA TODAY Network)CLEVELAND – Ahead of the most important debate of his political career, Joe Biden huddled with his team of senior advisers in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, last week to try to predict the moves of one of the most unpredictable men in politics, President Donald Trump.The former vice president took a break last Thursday from campaign events to ramp up debate preparation, turning to Bob Bauer, a senior Biden adviser and former White House general counsel, to play the role of Trump during mock debates. Biden’s schedule remained blank Monday.Tuesday’s debate at Case Western University in Cleveland – the first of three between the two presidential candidates – gives Biden a chance to answer the months-long assault from Trump and his allies questioning the former vice president’s mental fitness.It could reinforce his leads in national the and battleground polls, or if he performs poorly, it could give Trump a chance to to change the trajectory of the race.Debate topics: Supreme Court, coronavirus, race among the topics for the first presidential debate Sept. 29Trump has also been preparing for Cleveland showdown. Hesaid Sunday he has had practice sessions with the help of friends, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and that “a combination of these two” have portrayed Biden.While the Biden campaign spent the weekend downplaying the debate’s significance in a race that Biden has consistently led, some Democrats called the long-awaited encounter with Trump the most critical moment of the campaign. Biden has an opportunity to “seize a real advantage in this race” with a strong performance, said David Plouffe, former adviser to former President Barack Obama and a Biden supporter.Plouffe, speaking on his podcast last week, called the upcoming debate “one of the more important moments in American political history.””If Biden has a really strong debate, it doesn’t mean the rest of them don’t matter, but I think they’ll matter less – and I think he will cement a lot of the gains and leads he has in this election,” Plouffe said.More: President Trump’s campaign to paint Joe Biden as mentally unfit becomes a gambleOther top advisers working with Biden for debate preparation, sources familiar with preparations confirmed, include former vice president chief of staff Ron Klain – a debate coach for Democratic presidential candidates, including Obama, since 1992 –  as well as chief strategist Mike Donilon and senior adviser Anita Dunn. ‘Reassuring and plausible’ the goal for Biden, but not a ‘fact-checker’The debate comes amid polls showing Biden with a small – but steady – lead against Trump. The website RealClearPolitics, which tracks political polling, gives Biden a 6.6 percentage point lead over Trump in its average of national polls. But polls in several battleground states that could decide the election show the race much closer.In rallies, interviews and news conferences, Trump has previewed his debate strategy: A defense of his COVID-19 pandemic response, pledges to bring the back the economy, and attacks on Biden and his supporters, including the business activities of the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden.Don’t look for Biden to “fact check” each of Trump’s misstatements,according to the Biden campaign, but expect him to lay out his plan to address the coronavirus and rebuild the economy. Biden will also cast himself as a unifier and Trump as a divider who has lied to the American people and puts himself above the nation’s interests.Biden is historically an uneven debater. He has a tendency to ramble on stage, often appearing flustered and on the defense when pressed by opponents. Democratic allies say it’s critical for Biden not to let Trump get him worked up. Biden “has to be reassuring and plausible,” said Jay Carney, former White House press secretary under Obama and a Biden supporter. “That’s something Joe Biden can do pretty effectively and has done. In this case, it certainly helps that the country knows him and they know he’s been there.More: Top seven revelations from New York Times report on Trump income taxes”The key for him is to expect something unorthodox, expect a lot of insults,” Carney said, “and to stay on his game and focus on the issues that actual voters care about – not names he’s being called or untruths that are being thrown out there.”AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideEncouraging for Biden: arguably his best debate performance during the Democratic primary came in March when he faced off against Sen. Bernie Sanders – a one-on-one format like what’s coming Tuesday. Biden will also have fresh ammunition – an explosive report from the New York Times that said Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and his first year in office. Trump, who has always cast himself as a non-traditional politician, and his aides minimized the amount of traditional preparation he was undertaking. “He gets challenging, hostile questions routinely,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump reelection campaign. “Being president is debate prep.”Trump has told reporters “this whole thing,” referring to the presidency, amounts to debate prep. “You know, what I do is debate prep every day,” Trump said. “I’m taking questions from you people all the time.”Asked how many hours he has spent on debate preparation, Trump said: “Well, I don’t know. I mean, a little time. I mean, not a lot … I’m running a country.”In shift, Trump now builds Biden up Both the Trump and Biden campaigns embraced the traditional approach of building up the opponent’s debate skills in an effort to lower expectations.For the president, that’s no easy feat: Trump and his allies have spent months challenging Biden’s mental acuity. Now they’re describing him as a world-class debater who has been honing his skills since his election to the U.S. Senate in 1972 and to the vice presidency in 2008.”Maybe he’s going to be great at the debate,” Trump said during a campaign rally Thursday in Jacksonville, Florida. “You know, he’s been doing it for 47 years.”Likewise, the Biden campaign is looking to raise expectations for Trump. “Trump will be ready,” a Biden campaign aide said, adding that Trump “spends all day arguing with people and press.”More: ‘I beat the socialist’: Biden tacks to the center in fight with Trump over Rust Belt moderatesThe Biden campaign has also tried to dramatically lower expectations on the debate’s significance, noting that polling, both nationally and in battleground states, has changed little over months and continues to show the former vice president ahead.A Biden aide said the “contours of this race are pretty solidified” – that Trump mishandled his response to the coronavirus pandemic – and there isn’t a debate performance by either candidate that will “fundamentally reshape the race.””Even if he has a performance perceived to be good,” the aide said of Trump, “American life will still be defined by his failure to contain COVID.”For Biden, the debate isn’t a “high-pressure situation” because of his standing in the polls, said Jen Psaki, former Obama communications director.”For this debate, (Biden) needs to not get pulled into the swamp of wherever Trump wants it to go,” she said. “He needs to not be distracted to him by him, even if he’s trying to pull him into the gutter, and he needs to remember he’s speaking directly to the American people. That’s where the opportunity is.”Trump’s town hall performance has some in GOP worried about debateAs president, Trump has much more ability to control the message at a news conference or a White House event. At a political debate, he has to contend with a moderator – Chris Wallace of Fox News on Tuesday – and a presidential rival who won’t hesitate to push back.”I think Trump is going to be in for a surprise here,” said Alan Schroeder, author of “Presidential Debates: Risky Business on the Campaign Trail.”Trump is “typically over-confident in his ability to wing it” and sees debate as opportunities “to spin, not educate,” said Jennifer Mercieca, who teaches classes on presidential communication and debate at Texas A&M University.Rose Garden strategy: Trump moves campaign-style events to the White House as pandemic sidelines big ralliesSome of the president’s supporters privately express concerns that he is not taking the debates seriously.AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide“The debates are shaping up to be critically important for a Trump campaign that’s consistently running behind,” said Dan Eberhart, an energy company executive and GOP fundraiser. “The debates might be his last best chance for a big enough moment to slingshot around Biden before the checkered flag drops a month or so later.”Eberhart said he and other Republicans were alarmed by Trump’s performance in a recent ABC News town hall in Philadelphia. Trump faced questions from a roomful of undecided voters, but critics described his answers as rambling, factually inaccurate and radically at odds with reality.“Trump has a wandering style of speaking that’s made worse under pressure when he doesn’t have a teleprompter,” Eberhart said. “That was on full display in the town hall.”Trump also faces a challenge of history: Incumbent presidents tend to perform poorly in first debates. Barack Obama in 2012, George W. Bush in 2004, Ronald Reagan in 1984 – all struggled in the first debates of their re-election campaigns, their reflexes dulled by the deference normally shown to presidents.Donald Trump, right, debates Hillary Clinton in St. Louis on Oct. 9, 2016. (Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS, AFP via Getty Images)Their opponents – Mitt Romney, John Kerry, and Walter Mondale – seized the rhetorical advantage, and Biden will no doubt try to do likewise.”We will likely hear Biden say, ‘Come on, man’ to Trump, challenging his authority,” said Mercieca, author of ‘Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump.’ “Trump doesn’t handle humiliation well, so Biden may be able to put Trump on tilt.”Taking charge?Pentagon unlikely to swoop in if Biden wins and President Trump disputes election resultRegardless how things shake out, the debate isn’t guaranteed to provide the anointed winner a bounce.Strong debates against Trump didn’t help Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Gallup found that voters overwhelmingly saw Clinton as doing a better job than Trump in all three debates – 61%-27% in the first, 53%-35% in the second and 60%-31% in the third. But she still lost the election.”Debates, they don’t oftentimes really help you,” said Todd Belt, professor and political management program director at George Washington University. “But they can hurt you depending on how people remember them and how they’re played out in the press days afterward.”Joey Garrison reported from Washington.’Trump will be ready’Fact check: Claim that Biden called the Second Amendment ‘obsolete’ is satireIRead or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/09/29/presidential-debate-trump-biden-prep-first-debate-cleveland/3518403001/Find New & Used CarsNew CarsUsed CarsofPowered by Cars.com
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Rideau Hall staff invited to take part in confidential review of harassment claims | CBC News

A private consulting company is inviting current Rideau Hall employees to confidentially share their experiences on the job as part of its independent review of claims that Gov. General Julie Payette created a toxic workplace and verbally harassed employees. The Privy Council Office launched an unprecedented third-party review in July following a CBC News report featuring a…

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Rideau Hall staff invited to take part in confidential review of harassment claims | CBC News

A private consulting company is inviting current Rideau Hall employees to confidentially share their experiences on the job as part of its independent review of claims that Gov. General Julie Payette created a toxic workplace and verbally harassed employees. The Privy Council Office launched an unprecedented third-party review in July following a CBC News report featuring a dozen public servants and former employees confidentially claiming Payette had belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff.Staff members have taken leaves of absence, or have left Rideau Hall altogether, because of the bullying, said sources. Payette’s long-time friend and second-in-command Assunta Di Lorenzo is also accused of mistreating staff. Quintet Consulting, a private Ottawa company focused on workplace conflict management, sent some Rideau Hall employees an email last week asking them to respond by Oct. 5 if they opt to take part in the voluntary process.  “If you choose to participate in this Review, you will be invited to an interview,” says Quintet president Raphael Szajnfarber in the email obtained by CBC News. “During this interview, you will be provided an opportunity to speak openly and members of the Quintet team will be there to listen attentively to your concerns and observations about the work environment within the [Office of the Secretary to the Governor General].” Former employees contacting company The company also said it will be speaking to former employees or workers in other government department with knowledge of the workplace environment at Rideau Hall — including those who work on the grounds of Rideau Hall and may have “witnessed key events.” Multiple former employees CBC News spoke to said they haven’t been contacted by Quintet yet. Behind the scenes, a network of current and former employees at Rideau Hall is mobilizing to provide Quintet with a list of names to contact. Some former employees have gotten in touch with the company already. The Privy Council Office said the company has set up an email address — [email protected] — for knowledgeable witnesses to contact. Jennifer White, a workplace investigator in Ottawa who is not involved in Quintet’s work, said such workplace reviews usually take a phased approach and it makes sense for Quintet to start with current employees who are still part of a potential “live situation.” “They might want to look at those in the workplace who are in a precarious situation or need some reporting structures looked at,” she said. White said workplace investigators normally would not trust or rely on a list of contacts prepared by an agency they’re investigating. Instead, she said, she usually asks complainants to provide the names of others she should speak with — a process that creates a network of relevant contacts. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with Gov. Gen Julie Payette ahead of her delivery of the speech from the throne in the Senate chamber Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press) Confidential process The Privy Council Office’s Terms of Reference for the review state the third party contractor “shall conduct the review with the utmost discretion.” Quintet assured employees in the email that the process is confidential, and that personal names and other identifying information will not be included in the final report submitted to the government. Participants can consent to have their names included if they wish. “The contents of the Review Report will not be released publicly, unless required to do so by law,” said Szajnfarber in Quintet’s email to current staff. Quintet declined to comment publicly, saying only that it is “working diligently on this confidential review.”  Payette’s press secretary Ashlee Smith said that, “out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of former and current staff, and in order to maintain the impartiality and independence of the ongoing process, we will not be commenting.” Governor General welcomed review On July 23, Payette said she was in full agreement with the decision to launch a workplace probe and takes harassment very seriously. Her office maintains that no “formal” complaint has ever been filed against her in her current or past roles.  CBC News reported last week that Payette left her two previous workplaces as complaints were made against her about her treatment of staff. She resigned from running the Montreal Science Centre in 2016 with one year of severance pay worth around an estimated $200,000, according to former employees and board members at Canada Lands Company, the self-financing Crown corporation that employed her. The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) also investigated two complaints against Payette, including one of verbal harassment in 2016, multiple current and former employees said. Payette did not seek a longer term as a board member after the committee spoke to her about the alleged behaviour, the sources claim. Sources said the Liberal government did not ask for references from either the COC or the Montreal Science Centre before appointing Payette as Governor General. The Privy Council Office has said it expects Quintet to complete the review later this fall. The company is expected to produce a report that determines if a toxic work environment or harassment existed at Rideau Hall and provide recommendations on next steps.
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