AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideWASHINGTONÂ â€” As a 2020 presidential candidate, Jay Inslee says he wants toÂ bring â€œhope and confidenceâ€ to the climate change fight to save a dying planet.But on the debate stage next week, his aim is a bit more modest: Get more people to recognize his face.In a field of more than 20 candidates, the Washington governor acknowledges itâ€™s been tough to break through, noting “a third or less of the voters could pick me out of a lineup.”So as candidates like former Vice PresidentÂ Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren look to solidify their place among top-polling candidates, lower-polling candidatesÂ find themselves in search of a signature moment that will lodge their names into voters brains around the country.A zinger. An out-of-the-box idea. A line of attack on a fellow candidate.Â As the clock ticks, the pressure to make a splash is intensifying. The debates on July 30 and 31 may be the last time several candidates have a chance to make theÂ case for their presidencyÂ before higher debate qualifying standards kick in.”I’m hopeful that after this debate a whole bunch of these folks will be forced to see the writing on the wall and end their campaigns,” said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist who worked for former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.He’s not alone. Many experts believe the massive pool of 25 Democratic candidates will shrink in the immediate aftermath of the debate but, they say, there are ways for candidates to try and distinguish themselves during these pivotal events and build off momentum after the eyes of the nation are on them.More: 5 decades separate 2020’s presidential candidates. Here’s what that looks like.How can 2020 candidates stick out?On the campaign trail, Inslee wastes no time bringing up the one issue his campaign has revolved around: Climate change. But he’s routinely pollingÂ no higher than 1% and admitsÂ he needs a breakout moment on his signature issue to build momentum.Â “I didnâ€™t look at this [race] like playing the odds. I want the odds to be 100 percent that humanity is going survive. Thatâ€™s the odds Iâ€™m interested in,” he said at an event earlier this month in Portland. “Itâ€™s not daunting to me that thereâ€™s a bunch of candidates. When youâ€™re mission-driven, those odds donâ€™t matter to you.”Experts say at the heart of Inslee’s campaign plan is hope to differentiate himself on a specific issue, which can be effective or can backfire.Â CLOSE
Who won the Democratic debate remains to be seen, but here are some of the best moments from the first ten contenders to take the stage.
USA TODAYDemocratic debate No. 2: What you need to know2020 presidential election: CNN to host climate change town hall with DemocraticÂ candidatesRobert Shrum,Â a longtime Democratic strategist, said in this case, itÂ isn’t working.Â “InsleeÂ isÂ running solely on climate change but almost every Democrat on that stage fundamentally agrees with him,” Shrum said. “So, it’s not necessarily a distinguishing argument.”Shrum said New York Sen.Â Kirsten Gillibrand is doing something similar when it comes to addressing women’s issues, sexual assault and sexual harassmentÂ â€”Â issues Gillibrand has been outspoken on throughout her career but haven’t stood in opposition to her Democratic counterparts.Â “I don’t think that if you just focus on women’s rights or the environment that you’re necessarily going to set yourself apart in a way that’s really needed at this point,” he added.Â IssuesÂ haveÂ broken through as a success inÂ Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign. The Massachusetts senator has rolled out policies and plans on a slew of topics, giving voters a clear vision of her progressive ideas.Â A large part of this could be due her focus on the middle class and the wealthy, which are broad topics and overlapÂ with most issues;Â she hasn’t been pigeonholed into one set issue or category, said Kelly Winfrey,Â a professor at Iowa State University who focuses on political campaigns.Â Winfrey said Warren also came into the race with more name recognition than many candidates and her policies as a whole have given her a persona in the race as the most prepared candidate.Â “The plans that she has released, which while they all seem to go back to economic equality, they cover different issues and have helped her branch out,” she said. “I mean, climate change doesn’t give you the latitude to tie into a lot of issues, but if you target equal pay, it does.”How a line of attack can be a catalystÂ But there are other tactics to sticking out in this crowded field: attacking another candidate or having that one memorable line that sticks with voters, the latter becoming harder on crowded debate stages with 10 candidates fighting for air time.Â Going afterÂ a fellow candidate has been markedly helpfulÂ to changing the dynamicÂ of the race for one candidate: Sen. Kamala Harris.CLOSE
In night two of the Democratic debate, candidates bore down into issues, and each other. Kamala Harris went after Joe Biden for his past on busing.
USA TODAYIn the first debate, the California Democrat zeroed in onÂ Biden in a now-infamous exchange where she challengedÂ his comments about working with segregationists in the U.S. Senate and his stance on federally mandated busing to desegregate public schools. The exchange on busing was particularly powerful with Harris noting how the issueÂ personally affected her as a child.’That little girl is me’: Kamala Harris attacks Biden with personal story about raceHarris took advantage of the moment as soon as the debate ended, selling merchandise with a photo of herself as a child on it. She soon after enjoyed a significant bump in several national polls.Â The move didn’t target just Biden, it took on the issue of race â€” a central issue thus far in the 2020 race â€” and illustrated to voters how Harris may take on Trump, which is the primary characteristic voters will be looking for, said Democratic strategist Kristen Hawn.”That’s what these debates are really about. In a way, it’s an audition,” Hawn said. “She looked like a fighter, she looked strong, which as a woman, it’s hard for us to come across as strong with also being likable, which is a sad truth. But she came off very well.”Â But attacking a fellow candidate also can fall flat or backfire. Rep. Eric Swalwell tried to paint Biden as too old to be president in the first debate. The California Democrat quoted Biden as saying 32 years ago that it was time to “pass the torch” to the younger generation.Â Related: Eric Swalwell calls on Joe Biden to ‘pass the torch’ during Democratic debatesCLOSE
Rep. Eric Swalwell on Monday became the first candidate in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary to exit the campaign, saying he would run for reelection to his California congressional seat next year. (July 8)
AP, APWhile the moment gained some social media buzz,Â it didn’t substantially help Swalwell’s already struggling campaign. Within two weeks, he was the first Democrat to dropÂ out of the race.Â Get ready for a shrinking 2020 poolAs the Democratic field begins the inevitable shrink, this debate takes on a particular sense of urgency for those candidates languishing at the bottom of polls.It will be the last time candidates have the attention of the nation until the September debates, where it will be harder for candidates to qualify for the stage.The DNC doubled the qualifications candidates need to hit for those debates. In the first two debates, candidates needed to poll at 1% or have 65,000 unique donors. In the third debate in September, candidates will need to be polling at 2% or have 130,000 unique donors.Â “I would expect handful, at least,Â to drop out after this,” Winfrey said.Â AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideShe said this debate will be an opportunity for those polling low to really try to connect with voters because as the race progresses, it becomes only gets more difficult. This could likely be their last shot to become competitive.”This is it,” she said. “IfÂ they don’t have a break-out moment in this debate, it means it will be fairly likely they won’t have the momentum to stay in the race.”But if this round is like the last, it could mark another “missed opportunity” for longshot candidates, Winfrey added.Â “Most of those candidates polling toward the bottom of the pool are saying what everyone else is saying,” she said. “They simply havenâ€™t made the case for the White House.”Manley, the Democratic strategist, saidÂ in realityÂ it will all come down to one thing: money. And as time goes on, fundraising will dry up for some candidates and enthusiasm will be harder to sustain.Â “I’m sure there will be some who will stay in this hoping for some momentum but they won’t be able to without fundraising. If there’s no more money, it’s over,” he said. “Money is the mother of politics.”Â More: Yuge? Bernie Sanders outraised by newcomer Pete Buttigieg. But Donald Trump crushes both of them.Contributing: Lindsay Schnell, who reported in PortlandRead or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/07/27/2020-democratic-debates-how-can-candidates-stand-out/1674446001/
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…
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.
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…
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
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…
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.