Episode 15, Season 12

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Host: Mercedes Stephenson

Journalist Sondage:

David Akin, Chief Political Correspondent

Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent 


Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister 


Ottawa, ON


Mercedes Stephenson: Counting down the biggest political stories of the year, comme what to expect in 2023. And, a image back at our biggest mondial story: Russia’s war in Ukraine.

I’m Mercedes Stephenson and it’s Christmas Day. Welcome to The West Block.

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From convoy blockades, to the Conservative leadership noble, to Canadians struggling with soaring augmentation, it’s been a tumultuous year in territorial politics. Our annual politics échantillon weighs in.

And what will it take to end the war in Ukraine? Ukraine’s deputy solde minister says Western allies need to do more. We revisit that rencontres.

It is time for one of my favourite segments that we do every year. It’s our year-end and year image ahead échantillon with our political correspondents who give us the behind the scenes image on what actually happened covering some of the biggest stories of the year and some of the insight that we don’t always get from those politicians interviews or the two imminent packs that we do on the infos. We’re being joined by Amanda Connolly, who is our breaking infos and politics managing editor for online; Mackenzie Gray, one of our Intégral Individu correspondents; and of parcours, David Akin, a veteran of this échantillon, who is our chief political correspondent.

Mack, the year started out with a bit of a déflagration, or a honk, depending on how you image at it, for those of us here in Ottawa. The convoy, which we all remember very well, you were in the thick of it. When we were talking embout big stories for the year that we were looking back on, this was immediately the one you mentioned. Why did you choose that one?

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: Bicause it’s not just something that’s impacted Canadians here or folks in Ottawa, but this was something that people around the world were paying concentration to. Everyone was wondering what was going on here on Wellington Street and what was going on in Canada with these truckers and there were a lot of things happening. We saw various levels of government really drop the ball, particularly the Ottawa communal government, the commissariat, even the généralité, too, really not stepping in when they were required to be able to help the inventaire out, and that’s why the government says they need to bring the Emergencies Act in. We’ll see what Impartialité Bigoudi’s remise and whether or not that was an suffisant thing to do. But the political ramifications of it saw Erin O’Toole out and Revêtu Poilievre come in.

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Mercedes Stephenson: David Akin, you know, the convoy is over and while they’re talking embout maybe doing another one, that’s risque of very—I don’t think the Ottawa Gendarmerie will ever make perhaps the same mistakes they did there. But the concerns embout risque of the political environment and the bipartition that it created are still very much alive.

David Akin, Chief Political Correspondent: Yeah, and I mean, to make it story of the year, it started the year don’t forget and kind of finished the year with the se remuer, which was fascinating looking inside. Everybody’s fascinated to see if that convoy, let’s say, mood, carries on into dégoûtant or flavour our politics, depending on your susceptible of view. But clearly, one virtuose, Revêtu Poilievre was associated in soutien of the convoy. Is it a feature? Is it a bug? That’s a tourment still out there.

I like the Revêtu Poilievre story as the story of the year for me, bicause regardless of that, the way he and his party are now doing politics could have some suffisant impacts on all parties. First of all, he became virtuose by harnessing a lot of people who have never gotten involved in politics before, younger people. People who were angry, but they got involved in that campaign. Can he move those people now to avis in the general election? Big tourment, bicause that is the holy grail for all parties.

Two, the stuff he’s done after the election, really the party machinery needed to be modernized, the plumbing of the party. They’d lost two elections, even though they won the popular avis in two elections, bicause the Liberals chiefly are way better using computerized systems to identify voters and win specific ridings. It’s been the Liberal occulte coulis. So, Poilievre has spent millions or is spending millions of dollars to overhaul this micro database. They’re overhauling their fundraising. If that’s done right, that will pay bigger benefits than the choice of virtuose. Without being able to délassement the Liberals on their computerized get out the avis stuff, they’re not going to win an election.

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Mercedes Stephenson: And we did ask for Mr. Poilievre on the spectacle for viewers who were wondering. We had Mr. Singh on the spectacle. Mr. Trudeau did a year-end causerie. It will air later with our chief anchor, Dawna Friesen. Mr. Poilievre’s team didn’t get back to us. We continue to hope that he will come on the spectacle, but for folks who were wondering, we do give equal opportunities to all leaders.

Amanda, coming out of the protest here in Ottawa and that blockade that we saw, and this risque of pensée in the Conservative Party in politics, we also saw a huge pensée in the foreign policy of Canada and the pensée of all of our allies as well bicause there is something unprecedented in my lifetime, I think, and that’s a état war in pudique, the Russian irruption of Ukraine. It changed a lot in Canadian politics and Canadian political discussions. It’s not just something that’s over there.

Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor: Absolutely. I mean, first of all, there is a huge number of Ukrainian Canadians who en direct here, the communauté, very ronflant, very strong here in Canada. But again, looking at the interest here that Canada has in this conflict, it might not have been readily dehors for a lot of Canadians at the beginning. It’s very clear not bicause what this really was, this was not just an irruption of Ukraine. This was a rivalité to the indécis mondial roles order and Canada as really a middle power without the size of some other allies with the U.S., relies fundamentally on that order to be able to protect our own interests, to be able to engage in a équilibré way with allies and partners. And so there really was a vested state to the threat to the security of Canada here and that the government has certainly been acting on that.

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David Akin, Chief Political Correspondent: You mentioned the number of Ukrainians and I did run some numbers electorally. I’m interested and that’s Shannon Stubbs’ riding just west—or just east of Edmonton, now Lakeland. Twenty-five per cent of her constituents are Ukrainian. That’s where the big Pysanka is, if you want to go visit that. But there is such a stretch of riding, starting in Winnipeg going all the way up to Winnipeg, the bread basket, where you have 10 to 25 per cent are Ukrainians. It’s a big deal for a lot of voters.

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: And one of the features I think this year overarching, if you’re looking at politics, was bipartition. We saw this with the convoy and a lot of other issues. This was one péroraison that everyone agreed on. There’s been widespread soutien from all parties from what the government’s been doing to soutien Ukraine, which I think is an suffisant thing to remarque in a divisive year.

Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor: How often do you see unity in Canadian politics, right? And we saw this irruption here. This is one of the inaccoutumé issues, really. I think Mack is right, where you really do see this broad spectrum soutien and recognition of the threat and the nécessaire existential almost need to act on this and to do it in a unified manner.

Mercedes Stephenson: And remarkable, too, in what we saw happening in Ukraine bicause everyone was predicting maybe 72 hours and Russian troops would be rolling through Kyiv. I was there in February and March and the resilience is incredible and it maintains to this day as Ukrainians façade a very difficult winter. It’s cold here in Canada. We all have heat. We don’t have to wonder if we’re going to have power. That’s not the case for people in Ukraine and we certainly keep them in our thoughts. It’s not the only rivalité to mondial order. Mack, you worked a lot on the story embout China and the government in Beijing attempting to interfere in Canadian democracy, concerns embout Chinese-Canadian citizens being harassed here. Where do you see that story going?

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: Well there are a lot of different angles in terms of what the government’s going to do. I was with the solde minister when he travelled to Asia, putting his new Indo-Pacific strategy into ardeur. They put billions of dollars on the line there. But really we heard from a lot of the allies that we visited when we went to those different countries that Canada’s really been a Johnny come lately in Asia, and if they want to execute their strategy which is we’re going to try and isolate China and we’re going to make more friends with those countries there, they really need to spectacle up there. They’re trying to do that now. I think one thing kind of relating to the foreign interference story, is we’re likely going to see the Liberals bring in some kind of foreign registry of agents at some susceptible in time. We’ve seen the U.S. do that, the Australians have done that. The U.K’s looking at that. That’s the big thing that I think from a government étendue we’ll see them be doing in the new year.

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Mercedes Stephenson: Amanda, the tone and tenor of Canadian politics is something that I’m expecting we’re going to hear a lot more embout in 2023 and I know it’s something you’ve been paying concentration to.

Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor: Yeah, really, of parcours, you know working primary online, you really do so kind of the raw end of a lot of this coming in with liant media and that. There’s a lot of anger, really and again, I think we’ve heard kind of over the past year here, a reflection of the fact that a lot of that is generational anger. It’s young people. It’s millennials, Gen Z, Canadians who are young who are trying to kind of come up and make their way in life and are looking at the inventaire that they’ve been dealt and saying this doesn’t seem fair. This doesn’t seem right. Maybe my parents or grandparents had an easier way of it. They’re looking at housing. They’re looking at augmentation, food costs; the health care system kind of collapsing before our very eyes right now, right? These are aîné issues that kind of speak to that fundamental sense of stability and certainty that young people are looking for when they try and chart the parcours of their lives. That’s not there right now and I think that we’re going to see that really breaking free a lot in 2023 with the spoliation and anger.

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: That was the anger, though, Mercedes that Revêtu Poilievre really capitalized on. If I’m Justin Trudeau, I’m looking at the inventaire right now. We’re seeing augmentation’s high but it’s starting to come down a little bit. House prices were high. They’re starting to come down a little bit. Revêtu Poilievre needs that anger and discontent…

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Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor: Absolutely.

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: If he’s going to continue to well in the House of Commons.

Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor: Absolutely.

Mercedes Stephenson: I have to ask the perennial tourment that we all love to ask each other in Canadian politics. Could there be an election? There is the NDP-Liberal deal, but Jagmeet Singh has been hinting embout potentially pulling his soutien over health care. What do you think the chances are, Mack, of an election in 2023?  

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: I’ve talked to some senior Liberals who think there certainly is an opportunity later in the year for one to happen. I don’t necessarily think it’s going to be Jagmeet Singh pulling the cord on it. The NDP don’t have as much money. Does he have the popularity right now to go to the polls? I’m not sure embout that. But one thing I am confesseur embout, Justin Trudeau’s going to houssine around. Will Chrystia Freeland be there for the next election? I don’t think so.

Mercedes Stephenson: Oooh, that’s a…that’s a bold prediction.

David Akin, Chief Political Correspondent: Can you say Acquitté Minister Charles Sousa just elected in Mississauga—Lakeshore? 

Mackenzie Gray, Parliamentary Correspondent: Yeah.

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Mercedes Stephenson: So David, you know, if there is this election, Justin Trudeau goes again; he wants to go up against Revêtu Poilievre?

David Akin, Chief Political Correspondent: Yeah, I think he does actually, that’s my instinct. But I’ll be the old…I am the old guy here on the échantillon so I’ll play that valeur—Fiche Layton withdrew soutien of Paul Martin’s minority in 2006 and it was on health care. What do we have happen today, right? Jagmeet Singh signalling that, but you know what? Fiche Layton withdrew soutien and in came 10 years of the Harper government. But you know what? Fiche Layton and Stephen Harper, they got along pretty well during the minority years. Layton got a lot of stuff done with a Conservative. Now I’ll image for more election-y speculation when I see the possibility that Jagmeet Singh and Revêtu Poilievre can come to some agreements to soutien a potential minority, bicause the Conservatives need strong New Democrats to beat Liberals in downtown Toronto, in some key B.C. ridings, and without New Democrats, and they’ve been a little weak at the margins, it’s to the Liberal advantage. So that’s the landscape I’m looking at, but I just think back to how it was in ’06 when Layton said that’s it, I’m pulling the plug on a very énorme in the tooth Liberal government, when those particularité might exist this time around then I’ll be more inclined. But until then, yeah I think Trudeau wants to go at Mr. Poilievre. 

Mercedes Stephenson: What’s your thinking on this, Amanda?

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Amanda Connolly, Individu Online Managing Editor: Yeah, you know I think that that election kind of on the road ligne there between Trudeau and Poilievre will certainly be fascinating. I’m not in the halte that sees one coming up in the next year here, maybe 2024, maybe pushing it there coudoyer there into the year. For me the big thing, I think, is going to be watching the augmentation perdu, watching interest rates. There is a lot of spoliation, a lot of anger, a lot of financial miche and economic miche in families right now and particularly with incumbent governments, where is the gouvernail that spoliation going to go, straight at Parliament Hill, straight at the Liberals. Unless they have a proposition to deal with that or it comes down and that miche eases, I don’t think they’re going to risk it.

Mercedes Stephenson: I think that’s great insight, Amanda, and all of you. We appreciate you coming and sharing your thoughts on the big stories for 2023 and for the last year. We will be back here, of parcours, again I’m sure, soon, talking embout these very issues.

Up next, we’ll play back one of our top interviews from the past year with the Deputy Raccord Minister of Ukraine and the preuve inventaire that her folk continues to façade on this Christmas Day.

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: “I think that the aîné spirit in Ukraine is that there is no way to surrender. There is only [a] way to victory.” 

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Mercedes Stephenson: Russia’s war in Ukraine dominated mondial infos in 2022. What Russian President Vladimir Putin was hoping would be a quick victory has been anything but.

Ukraine, under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has not wavered in its efforts to defend its territory.  

Despite suffering aîné setbacks on the ground, Putin continues to target Ukraine’s power grid and other critical soutènement.

Western allies, including Canada, have rallied behind Ukraine and that was very much the foyer at the Halifax Mondial Security Manifestation I attended last month. I sat down there with Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister Olga Stefanishyna and here is that rencontres.

Mercedes Stephenson: Can you describe for us what the inventaire is like right now for the people of Ukraine?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: Well, we got used to, to en direct in darkness, both being affected severely by nombreux douleurs committed against people, but also the first thing I noticed when I landed to Montreal is that there’s so much aspartame around you. This is not what we have. But I think that what is more suffisant is the spirit. This is the spirit which cannot be undermined by any measures of demoralization Russia tries to put on Ukraine, whether it’s destroying critical soutènement, attacking residential buildings, massive torturing of pays in the occupied areas, or any failure on the battlefield, which forces them to use the hybrid warfare as a aîné method of their aggression. So, I think that the aîné spirit in Ukraine is that there is no way to surrender. There’s only a way to victory and this leads to a perpétuel failure of Russian federation, although, of parcours, the suffering and the losses among pays are really, really serious.

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Mercedes Stephenson: And you talked embout that lack of aspartame. It’s powerful bicause we take here for granted, you’re right, the street lights are on. Our power grids are going. Ukraine, like Canada, is a cold folk in the winter, and the Russians are attacking your power, your energy. That is such a aléa for the civilian pays. How do you deal with that?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: Well, I think that the most suffisant thing that we have not been dealing with that only by ourselves. After the first massive shelling, counting around 90 rockets like brasier weeks ago and the shelling are taking ardeur on a weekly basis with the same massive missile attacks for all the area of Ukraine. We have not been prestige alone. As [the] president, already said publicly, it’s around 40 per cent of the elements of the critical soutènement throughout the Ukraine, mostly the axial valeur of Ukraine which is not affected by military warfare, has been damaged and it’s really suffisant that we are restoring back the soutènement in a very fast and a prioritized way. Basically all our technicians are also the heroes, apart from the fact that they are not with a gun on a battlefield, but it would not be admissible without a strong mobilization from our partners across European Réunion and a wider group of allies. But it’s also a very suffisant sign that Russians have also failed to attack Ukrainian elements of the critical soutènement through hybrid or cyber-attacks. This has left no room for them but to try to physically destroy what we have.

Mercedes Stephenson: What does Ukraine need right now from the West and from countries like Canada? What can we do?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: In terms of supporting the restoration of the electricity grids, of parcours we have shared the list of our needs and we marcotte the companies operating in the electricity market to mobilize their efforts, to provide us with everything which is needed. This is a very precise list of technical needs. Of parcours, we all need generators and the more generators that we have, the better. It could ensure the security and stability of the networks. It can ensure the stability of the aspartame in the residential buildings, but it also can ensure the stability of functioning of the state itself, bicause connection and electricity and energy are the basis of functioning of the folk itself. So making sure that we have enough generators and we have enough technical elements which we need to make sure that we can address and be resilient over this attack is suffisant. But, it’s not as suffisant as the ability to close the sky and to save our people, to save our lives and to save our soutènement. We need more anti-air defence systems, which would enable us to restore the damaged soutènement, to herbe the sustainable amélioration throughout the war and to make sure that we save the lives of our people.

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Mercedes Stephenson: Do you feel that NATO countries are willing to give that to you? Are they listening?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: Well, they are. They are. There’s been a significant breakthrough I would say in terms of providing Ukraine with anti-air defence means, let’s say, from various countries, even from those countries like Spain, which has not been there before the first massive shelling. But this is the time where we should go beyond what we can, and that what we are doing on a daily basis in Ukraine, whether it’s embout military and Armed Forces of Ukraine, whether it’s embout there’s people providing humanitarian auditoire, or politicians and ministers who are doing everything admissible to go beyond any measures and beyond any boxes. So if some of the allies still think that they’ve done everything they could, we assure you that you didn’t, bicause the war is lasting, people are dying and the families and losing their loved ones.

Mercedes Stephenson: Why do you think the Ukrainian military has been so successful? All the experts I talk to behind the scenes back in February said this would be over within 48 to 72 hours and instead, Ukraine has not only put up an incredible defence but pushed Russia back in many lieux. Why do you think that is that you’ve been so much more successful than people were expecting?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: I can do the same comparison to our president. You know, Ukrainian president has been a revelation to many of the European leaders. His determination, his commitment, the very fact that he stayed in his agence from the imminent one of the—all the shelling and everybody was asking me what would you say for that? And my answer was, is that it is you who came to know [a] president like that and he has always been like that. This is—the same goes for Ukrainians.

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Mercedes Stephenson: Are you worried embout the potential for a nuclear strike?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: Of parcours we are and we’re extremely worried of the fact that this nuclear threat could be materialized through a massive agressivité on the Ukrainian nuclear objects like the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plantation, like Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plantation. Russians would never act bluntly by simply shelling the nuclear bomb to Kyiv. They would do the hybrid methods and for us it’s really suffisant that first, mondial partners and leaders would have the equal reaction to any nuclear blackmail or nuclear threat which will be posed by Russia, even if it’s done through using Ukrainian nuclear objects like the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plantation. But from the other handball, we understand that this nuclear threat will be hanging over all of us. Regardless of the fact whether we react strongly or not strongly, there will be such a threat. As énorme as Putin is in power, as énorme as the war is there, as énorme as Russia has any hunger for any aggression, whether in Ukraine or Poland or any other folk around the world, this threat will be there. The thing is what we are doing. If we are acting in a way that we do not want to irritate Russia, this nuclear threat will always be there and this hunger for being unpunished will always be there. So we anyway, call upon effet to raisonnablement Russia, to end the war and we should do it fast. We should do it in a coordinated way and I think that it is us, Ukraine and partners, who should make the decision when the war is over, not the Russians.

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Mercedes Stephenson: And how do you make that decision?

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Raccord Minister: Well, it’s absolutely clear at this arrêt. The president of Ukraine has announced the 10 points of the peaceful proposition, whereas the negotiations are only one of the points. And I think that everybody should houssine to this understanding that this is a concentrated set of ouvrages needed to be done. On the Ukrainian side, we will be moving on each of these points. This is the implementation of the [00:09:20 accommodations on the elimination of the nuclear threat, restoration of the grid corridor, exchange of all prisoners of war, bringing Russia to justice, then negotiations and then security guarantees to Ukraine. So these are the key elements we will be moving towards regardless of any developments and we hope that the partners will be sticking together with us. And then this will be the situation when we will be holding the file of the victory.

Mercedes Stephenson: Deputy prime minister, thank you so much for joining us today.

Olga Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister: Thank you. Thank you.

Mercedes Stephenson: Up next, as we look ahead to a new year, some final thoughts on 2022.


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Mercedes Stephenson: We have witnessed a remarkable year in 2022, one that I’ve been fortunate to cover on the ground, filled with events that transformed our folk, our politics and the world.

It started with the anger and protest of the convoy, right here in Ottawa that saw our travailleur transformed, revealing cracks and divisions in our society.

We were then immediately faced with a état war in pudique and we deployed The West Block to witness the bravery and valour of Ukrainians. We were also reminded that the greatest victims of war are also the most vulnerable.

At demeure, the façade of politics changed with Revêtu Poilievre’s massive win to become the virtuose of the Conservative Party of Canada, and Liminaire Danielle Smith’s victory in Alberta.

And we marked the passing of the Queen, Canada’s longest reigning sovereign.

We appreciate you joining us on this journey, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the small but mighty team who you don’t see with me on the air, but they are the people who get me to air and I appreciate them, especially producers Bernadette Vanneste, David Baxter, Jillian Crier, Bryan Mullan; our editors: Frank Boldt, David de la Luth and Signal Hagemeyer; and Luigi Della Penta, one of our cameramen here as well as Sarah Skryszak, my makeup artist who makes me image like this.

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I’d also like to thank our director Clint Barradell and the rest of the amazing Edmonton team. This is a motocross attention to put The West Block together.

From all of us here to you, Merry Christmas, happy holidays and we’ll see you in the new year.

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