Political Traction: Analyzing the First US Presidential Debate

That Canada might be negotiating an extradition treaty with China was the top issue coming out of Ottawa this week. The government is discussing what China refers to as “economic criminals” and what Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch feel might be more like “political refugees.” Both China and Canada are saying that Canada shouldn’t be a safe haven for Chinese citizens who have absconded with millions of dollars, but NGOs are skeptical, citing China’s poor human rights record as a strike against a possible treaty. Right now, talks are early and high-level and nothing has been decided.

We’re still discussing the moving expenses “scandal”. After it came to light that the Liberal party footed the bill for a number of staffers to relocate to Ottawa, two senior staffers – Gerald Butts and Katie Telford – took responsibility for their expenses, issuing a statement on Facebook. Both Butts and Telford have promised to reimburse what are considered some of the more extravagant costs. And while this could have fed into the opposition’s narrative of excessive Liberal spending, it’s resulting in more of a finger pointing game: surprise surprise, when called out on their expenses, the Liberals threw it right back to the Conservatives and pointed out spending under Harper’s administration. Basically, everyone’s saying that on Parliament Hill it’s all spend, spend, spend.

And last but not least: Hillary Clinton stood on a stage next to Donald Trump for almost two hours, reminding everyone that this is in fact real life and not a really long SNL cold open. Although it wasn’t discussed in the House, the first US debate was all over broadcast and print media and all over our Canadian conversation. Canadians got the extra benefit of being able to watch and live-tweet the spectacle with a level of remove. But, lest we forget, the results of the 2016 election will be very real come November. So buckle up – right now, two more debates are planned and who knows, someone might call Sean Hannity before the next one.