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On Donald Trump and the fight for progress in Canada


On January 20, a dangerous con-man took high office in the United States.

Openly trading in hate while ushering in more inequality will be Donald Trump’s MO for the next four years. While the far right gains ground globally, locally we’re not immune.  It is a troubling moment for progressives. It’s also an opportunity to respond and to act.

We have a plan to provide backbone support for left organizing in Canada. But we need your input and support to make it happen. Over the next year, we are going to focus on the following priorities as we seek to upend the status quo, fight for social progress, and put power back in the hands of citizens and communities.

1. Convening progressives from across the country

This April we will host our fourth Progress Summit in Ottawa. Our theme, “Change the Game”, will showcase our stand against discrimination and inequality and for inclusion and shared prosperity. Register here. There will be opportunities to provide your best ideas for featured speakers and organizers and to nominate activists and researchers for our annual awards.

2. Developing the leaders to organize for a progressive alternative

This year we will expand training to provide a new generation of leaders the skills and tools for winning progressive campaigns and contributing to movement building. We will re-launch our Leadership Fellows Program and the Broadbent Institute Leadership Network, showcasing a diversity of Canadian and international talent. We will feature thought leadership on transformational organizing and leadership practices for winning. Our Online Leadership School will make learning and networking accessible across Canada. And we will provide training in more communities to activists on the ground, starting with British Columbia.

3. Policy, research and ideas to challenge the status quo

Conservative policies have deepened inequality and exclusion. But economic populism means nothing if it is not fused with antiracism and anti-misogyny. Now more than ever, we need to promote social democratic ideas, values and policies far and wide. We plan to invest in more original research and commentary focused on the issues we stand for: economic equality, a green economy, expanded public services and social programs, Indigenous rights, racial justice and gender equity.

4. Fighting for a new voting system that puts electoral power in the hands of the people

Justin Trudeau committed to making 2015 the last election held under the antiquated First Past the Post system. Along with our partners in the Every Voter Counts Alliance, we will continue to push for an electoral system for all .  The preservation of the current system is about preserving elite control of elections, and risks the success of Trump-like politicians here at home. A system based on local representation and Proportional Representation can put power back in the hands of the people, where it belongs.

5. Dogged progressive journalism

PressProgress is busy each day doing the hard-hitting journalism that keeps Kellie Leitch, Jason Kenney, the Fraser Institute and their ilk accountable, exposing whose interests they serve. Filing Access to Information Requests and doing careful investigative work is time consuming and resource heavy, but we need it now more than ever.

As Trump’s inauguration draws near, white nationalists are being emboldened by Conservative candidates here at home. The bottom line is, the Broadbent Institute needs your help to combat right-wing forces and to continue to push our governments to make the positive transformative changes this country needs.

Together, let’s change the game.



Rick Smith is the Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute.