Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and everybody knows that politics and romance go together like chocolate on strawberries. So who are our favourite couples in politics? Of course, it is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau…but who can forget Premier Francois Legault and his sister? Across the border, we will never forget the iconic bromance that is Obama and Biden, but it seems like things between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chrissy Teigen are beginning to heat up. Across the ocean, the EU’s #1 same-sex couple can be found in Italy. Populists in the streets and elitists in the sheets, Mussalvini and Pizza Boy have become a thing not for their love of each other, but for their shared love of the Italian people. Fighting together against the evil Bunga Bunga grandpa and the SHISH! neoliberal cookie monster, the adventures of Mussalvini and Pizza Boy are a must-watch for everyone who’s into European politics.
What You Need to Know – Editor’s Picks
Evelyne Goulet – International Relations: Turkey Chides China
On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a strongly-worded statement urging the Chinese government to close down detention camps in which approximately a million Uighur Muslim are being held. Turkey called Beijing’s “policy of systematic assimilation” a clear violation of human rights and asked the United Nations to take action. The Chinese government soon replied, and claimed that those in camps were “trainees,” who were given the opportunity to “reflect on their mistakes.” Turkey is one of the few Muslim nations, with Malaysia and Indonesia, to have openly condemned the concentration camps, despite having recently received a $3.6 billion loan from a state-owned Chinese bank. It seems like Turkey has decided to take a strong stance against China’s repression of the Uighur Muslim, even if it could hurt the country economically.
Will Keefe – Comparative Politics: Donald Tusk’s Scathing Comments on Brexit
Following a rather soporific State of the Union address, already heated Brexit rhetoric became infernal with new remarks from EC President Donald Tusk on Wednesday. In an apparent attempt to channel Trump aide Peter Navarro’s hard-hitting political analysis, Tusk has told of a “special place in hell” for no-plan Brexiteers. His frustration is telling. The painful absence of a feasible deal is felt throughout the EU, not least in the UK itself. Tusk’s seemingly innocuous slight at recalcitrant Brexiteers will set the tone for upcoming negotiations and parliamentary turmoil. Brexiteers should fear not, however, as Mr. Tusk confirmed with the BBC that they will only be seeing their special circle of hell once they die, and “not right now.” Until then, Brexit negotiations will have to suffice.
What’s the Latest?
In the featured opinion, Zuleyma Caparo paints a sobering picture of America’s historical wrongdoings in Latin America and questions the validity of their “moral reasons” for supporting Juan Guaido in Venezuela.
Ultimately, the interests of the United States lie in eliminating an ally of socialist regimes, regaining control of the oil market, and putting an end to a destabilizing force in the Americas. The respect for human rights and the alleviation of poverty are pretexts used to gain support from international and domestic actors.
The US and Russia dealt a lethal blow to nuclear non-proliferation by withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) earlier this week. The end of the Cold-War era agreement between the world’s nuclear superpowers bodes trouble for international security.
The collapse of nuclear treaties between global powers paves the way for a multipolar proliferation of powerful nuclear weapons, ultimately making the world more unstable and unpredictable.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault makes good on his campaign promises to shake up the province’s immigration policy with Bill 9, or the so-called “Tinder of Immigration.” Key to the new bill is the controversial “Quebec values” and French language requirements for new immigrants. Ryanne Lau on the story.
Bill 9 was introduced by immigration minister Simon Jolin-Barrette on Thursday morning. “The Tinder of Immigration,” as it was dubbed by Jolin-Barrette, seeks to match prospective immigrants to the labour force and will introduce a Quebec values test.
“Populism” and “technocracy” seem to be polar opposites. Jane Warren makes the case for how the two may work together.
As such, populism and technocracy can work together. By incorporating both participation and expertise, decision-makers could serve the public interest while enacting policy based on knowledge rather than collective desire.
What We’re Reading
A history of racism and colonialism in Montreal, via Le Devoir
John Dingell’s last words for America, via Washington Post
Climate change disagreements among Democrats, via The New Yorker
Bolsonaro’s Brazil, via The London Review of Books
Emmanuel Macron’s fight to win France back, via The Economist
The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II, Svetlana Alexievich
Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968-2000, John English
The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America, Sarah Kendzior