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Help Us Turn Michael Harris Loose on Vital Election Issues

The ace journo plus your support builds an even stronger Team Tyee.

By David Beers 17 Jun 2019 | TheTyee.ca

David Beers founded The Tyee and is now editor for initiatives.

Michael Harris can’t wait to sink his teeth into the coming federal election for The Tyee. The more money our readers can contribute in this last week of our election coverage fundraiser, the deeper he can bite.

It was great news when Michael kicked off 2019 by coming aboard as a Tyee contributing editor. Harris, as you likely know, is one of Canada’s best investigative reporters and political analysts. Pick your measure. How many royal commissions of inquiry did his work trigger? Four. How many books has he written? Eight (three made into movies). How many awards has he won? Too many to list here. Where did his book ripping the lid off the Harper government, Party of One, sit on Canada’s bestseller list last election? One.

Harris says he hopes to ramp up the frequency of his Tyee pieces, given the election is so unpredictable, the stakes so high. We told Michael we asked you and other readers to prioritize your big election questions, and empower Tyee journalists to deliver answers. He loved the challenge.

Addressing the climate emergency topped readers’ list. Harris: “I will be watching throughout the election period how the parties play the environment issue — priority, aspirational plank, or rubbish?”

Readers also told us they want tough reporting on who, if anyone, is truly committed to ending tax policies favouring the rich, creating federal pharma and dental coverage, and fixing grim conditions on some First Nations reserves.

Harris (getting excited): “I will be dogging the words of all the leaders, assessing whether they say the same thing in different parts of the country, whether what they say meshes with what they’ve done in the recent past, and whether what they say is true or merely catnip for the base. I will be watching Elections Canada to see how quickly it reacts to hanky panky in the campaign, from election expenses to dirty tricks like robocalls. I will be assessing the impact of televised debates.

“I will be going over the promises of all parties with a lapidary’s eye — the cost, whether it is possible to measure the outcomes, whether the promise extends beyond the time-frame of the next election, whether it is consistent with past stands and actions.

“I will be scrutinizing how provincial premiers participate in this election — from cheque book politics that might violate electoral spending limits, to the extent of their personal participation on the hustings. Jason Kenney and Doug Ford could easily become big election issues.”

Harris has written incisively for The Tyee about how Trudeau’s PMO sought to impede prosecution of scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin, then expelled two top ministers because they blew the whistle. “I will be following the fate of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott as they try to win their seats as independents,” Harris says. “And I will be watching closely to see if the Liberals grant a DPA to SNC-Lavalin or change the regulations governing those convicted of crimes as it relates to federal work.”

It’s always bracing to hear Michael Harris lay out his reporting agenda. It does have to be mentioned, however, that the man doesn’t work for free. Nor should any serious journalist. If you wish to reap the full benefit of Harris’s investigative experience and many cultivated sources, now would be the time to become a Tyee Builder, or top up your ongoing contribution.

Meanwhile, Harris isn’t done working up quite a bit of steam:

“Finally, I will be watching region by region for trends once the writ drops — the Atlantic region where the Liberals have nowhere to go but down, Quebec, where they hope to pick up NDP seats, Ontario where Ford will try to put his ass on the electoral scale, the prairies where Trudeau faces a wall of Conservative premiers, the lost cause of Alberta, and the province which may lead the biggest electoral surprises in the country, B.C. If there is a green wave, it will be in B.C.”

That’s a lot. And when Michael Harris keeps promising, “I will,” he makes it sound like it’s a done deal. Not quite. First we need to hit our goal of $60,000 for The Tyee 2019 election reporting fund. Please send what you can today.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, Elections, Media

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