Jagmeet Singh and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raise $200,000 playing Among Us

The two politicians played the online game to raise money for a variety of charity organizations in the U.S.

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party, joined U.S. congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Nov. 27 for a five and a half hour live stream of the popular online game Among Us, with a rotating group of popular online streamers.

Ocasio-Cortez used the online stream as a way to fundraise for eviction defence legal aid efforts, food pantries and community support organizations in the United States. With a peak of over 100,000 people watching Ocasio-Cortez’s stream, around $200,000 was raised.

Among Us is an online multiplayer game, where players are crew members on a spaceship, and the goal is to keep the spaceship intact and return to earth. The catch is that one or two of the crew members have been replaced by a shape-shifting alien, The Imposter, whose goal is to sabotage the ship and kill crewmates.

According to a New York Times article, Among Us was created in 2018, but gained popularity during the pandemic. Influencers such as James Charles and Felix Kjellberg — commonly known as PewDiePie — have streamed the game on Twitch, attracting millions of views.

Ocasio-Cortez first live streamed Among Us on Oct. 20, with over 400,000 views. According to a Vox article, this was one of the 20 most-watched live streams in Twitch history.

According to the article, Ocasio-Cortez is known for using media platforms and games such as Animal Crossing to reach young audiences in fun, organic, unconventional ways.

During the recent game with Singh, Ocasio-Cortez stated that she was trying to get Bernie Sanders, an American politician known for his progressive ideologies, to participate in a future game.

“I could see him getting cranky with this game,” said Ocasio-Cortez during the live stream.

Singh had over 30,000 people watching his stream, and during the game he talked to his viewers about his policies and the pandemic. He often played as The Imposter, and even had a round where both him and Ocasio-Cortez were imposters.

“Do you believe we need to bring in a wealth tax?” asked Singh while simultaneously killing other players in the game.

He mostly talked about issues affecting young people, such as how he saw that younger people were being scapegoated for going to parties and spreading the virus, while in reality young people were putting themselves at risk to work service jobs.

“I think it’s great to see politicians courting young people,” said Ethan Cox, editor and co-founder of Ricochet Media — a public interest news platform. “But to really engage younger generations, politicians need to be unabashed champions of the policy they want, such as a Green New Deal, racial justice, wealth taxes and strong social programs.”

“Playing Among Us is a great way to reach younger voters with a strong message, but you need to do more than just show up. You need to show that you will fight for the priorities of younger people,” he said.


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


Liberals win federal elections as minority government

Same Parties, New Results: A Recap of the Federal Election.

The results are in for the 2019 federal election, signaling a second term for the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau. However, the Prime Minister cannot celebrate just yet, as the Liberals no longer have majority status due to the loss of 20 seats.

At 157 seats, Trudeau will have to form a coalition or loose agreements with one or more of the other parties in order to maintain the ruling majority. This is due to the legislative condition that bills require more than 170 votes in order to pass as law.

The New Democratic Party under Jagmeet Singh, with its 24 seats, is sizeable enough to form such deals with the leading Liberals. Should this happen, the NDP would be able to push for compromises on new legislation, placing its platforms on government agenda. A welcomed development for the New Democrats, given that the NDP has lost 15 seats from its previous 39.

The Green Party under Elizabeth May has in fact reached a new milestone by gaining three seats in parliament, up from two. Nevertheless, any Green contribution to a Liberal-NDP coalition would be limited due to low seat numbers and overlapping platforms.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Conservative Party under Andrew Scheer has increased its seats by 26, up to 121. The Blues have collected most votes in both Alberta and Saskatchewan, with strong showings in Manitoba and Ontario as well. They also lack any realistic chance at forming a coalition government, given that Singh himself has denied any possible collaboration with Scheer, as reported in an article in the Globe and Mail.

Another party unlikely to ally with the Conservatives would be the Bloc Québécois under Yves-François Blanchet. Now larger at 32 seats, having gained 22, the party can further its claim of representing much of the Quebec population. Furthermore, with increased influence in parliament, the BQ is poised to bring separatist sentiments out of the sidelines.

Interesting to note, former Liberal candidate Jody Wilson-Raybould is the only independent victory of this election, keeping her seat in Vancouver-Granville.

Finally, the People’s Party of Canada under Maxime Bernier did not win any seats, as none of its candidates have been elected. Additionally, Bernier lost his own riding, Beauce, to a Conservative candidate.


Photo by Andrej Ivanov


Poli Savvy: The storm before… the storm?

It’s been a whole new world of pain for the Liberal Party, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deals with accusations of racism over his use of “brown face.”

Old yearbook photos have been posted by TIME Magazine, showing Trudeau with a unique take on Aladdin, complete with a turban and dark face paint. Naturally, many Canadians were less than impressed with this attempted display of multiculturalism, leading Trudeau to issue apologies to the public and… NDP leader Jaghmeet Singh?

According to CBC, Trudeau approached Singh to apologize for the incident – a confusing move, seeing that Aladdin is of an Arabian background, not Indian. Moreover, it seems that Singh has enough on his plate, given that the Steel Workers Union of Regina might vote Conservative according to the Regina Post. A traditionally New Democrat group in the NDP heartland, workers are being forced to choose between work opportunities provided by a pipeline or job protections offered by Singh. Whether this highlights a dangerous trend among unions is yet to be seen, but the NDP certainly cannot afford to lose support after previous defections to the Green Party of Elizabeth May…

… who is facing her own scandal, covered by the Toronto Sun since an image on the party website shows her holding what appears to be a photoshopped reusable mug, though the truth is much more sinister. It was proven that May was instead using a single-use paper cup to store her coffee, leading to calls of hypocrisy by voters who feel that the pro-environment leader should lead by example. How this will affect the Green Party’s chances at a federal majority is too early to say. Regardless; Liberal scandals, NDP popularity drops, and Green Party controversies could prove to be advantages for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leader, Andrew Scheer.

Well yes, but actually no, since the National Post reported that Ontario’s CPC base is in trouble due to major cuts in healthcare, environmental protection, student grants, social services, legal aid… basically everything, by Conservative premier Doug Ford. A fact not lost on Scheer, who, interestingly, has conducted most of his Ontarian campaigns without Ford by his side. Undoubtedly a risky move that could alienate “Ford Nation” voters, but one that would gain the approval of no other than Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet.

Incensed by the cuts to French-language services, under Ford no less, Blanchet has expanded his campaign to include francophone towns in Ontario; as covered by Global News. Claiming that French-speakers outside Quebec are being treated like second-class citizens, he has called for votes towards an independent Quebec, a bilingual Supreme Court, and expanded powers for the federal commissioner of official languages. In other words, nothing new; but a stark contrast to fellow Quebecer Maxime Bernier.

From claiming that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant to backing a candidate who had published racist tweets, as covered by CBC, the People’s Party of Canada leader is no stranger to controversy. However, Bernier is facing a lot of criticism for calling environmental activist Greta Thunberg “mentally unstable”, in a series of tweets back in September. Aside from the fact that picking a twitter fight with a 16-year-old is frowned upon in politics, his choice of words proved quite poor seeing that Thunberg has autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Ultimately, how these scandals impact the upcoming election remains to be seen. Canadians will simply have to vote for whichever party they feel is the best choice for Canada or the best option available.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Poli Savvy: Walking on eggshells one week into the election

The election campaign is now in full swing. From the start, the Liberal party was taken aback by reports alluding that their cabinet blocked efforts by the RCMP to investigate allegations of obstruction of justice regarding the SNC Lavalin scandal. Trudeau’s main statement in response to the questions regarding his cabinet’s involvement was roughly his job as Prime Minister is to be there to stand up for and defend Canadians’ jobs.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer debuted his campaign with a public reprimand of the PM, calling on Justin Trudeau to allow law enforcement to investigate his cabinet. The somewhat unknown conservative leader is struggling to make a name for himself that is not Harper or Ford.

Trudeau was not present at the first English debate hosted by MacLean’s and City TV. Instead, he rallied in Edmonton, one of the bedrocks of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project.

The Green Party was almost laughed off the stage by commentators and Scheer, despite Elizabeth May having the only political plan that even begins to address our climate crisis economically and scientifically.

Jagmeet Singh marked some points by connecting the Conservative leader to the much-hated Conservative Premier of Ontario during the debate.

“[Scheer] believes that the priority should be making life easier for the wealthiest,” said Singh. “I believe it has to be different and we can do it differently.” However, Scheer and Ford have not been seen together since the debate, indicating Scheer is distancing himself from his fellow Conservative.

This week hasn’t been all policy. A photograph of Trudeau surfaced on Wednesday, published by the TIMES, depicting the Prime Minister in blackface back in 2001.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Trudeau stated in the Liberals’ campaign plane. “I should have known better, but I didn’t and I’m really sorry.” Trudeau has since admitted to other occasions where his costumes involved blackface.

One leader that has not shown restraint in his response is Singh, stating “What we see now is an ongoing pattern of behaviour that is going to hurt Canadians.”

Needless to say, this will have an impact on the Liberals’ re-election campaign. But does a picture of a man 20 years ago define him? At the end of the day, it is up to the people to determine what to make of Trudeau’s character.


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Jagmeet Singh and the future of Canadian identity

As a visible minority, Singh’s NDP leadership win highlights a positive change in our country

Following the announcement of his NDP leadership win on Oct. 1, Jagmeet Singh said, “Canadians must stand united and champion a politics of courage to fight the politics of fear […] a politics of love to fight the growing politics of division,” reported CTV News.

Leading with 53 per cent of the ballot vote, Singh is the first person from a visible minority to be elected to lead a federal party in Canada, according to CTV News. In the aftermath of the election, many Canadians are asking what this historic moment could mean for the future of Canada’s identity.

According to an article from The Globe and Mail, at least 70 per cent of Canadians believe having a person of colour in a position of leadership at a national level is a good thing for Canada. Nonetheless, when the Angus Reid Institute surveyed 1,477 Canadians between Oct. 2 and 4, the results showed that 31 per cent would not vote for a Sikh man who wears a turban and carries a ceremonial kirpan knife—as Singh does.

Despite this statistic, it is an improvement compared to the results of a previous poll about Singh conducted in June. As a result of these improved statistics, there is growing belief that public acceptance of openly religious Sikh men has increased since Singh’s election victory, according to the same article by The Globe and Mail. Coupled with his young age, 38, making him the youngest leader the NDP has ever had, Singh’s success to date is nothing short of a breakthrough. Even though he still faces criticism from some because of his faith, Singh is diligent and dedicated to his work.

According to CBC News, Singh constantly faced criticism while growing up and was often bullied for being different. His childhood experiences in a society where minority groups are often looked down upon was a motivation for him. Singh dedicated himself to fighting for those who, like him, were and are still harassed for being different.

According to CBC News, one of Singh’s primary objectives is to show Canadians that he is more progressive and willing to go further than the Liberals. He has discussed his intentions to fight social oppression, denounce stereotypes about Sikh men and help eliminate racial profiling. In an interview with CBC News in May 2015, Singh claimed he had been a victim of racial profiling by Toronto police at least 10 times. He was later involved in pushing a motion to ban random police checks in Ontario that was implemented by the provincial government in 2016, according to CBC News.

Singh’s rise to power has shattered social barriers preventing the progressive evolution of Canada’s political identity. His acceptance by the NDP party and its supporters, as well as the growing support from his fellow Canadians, demonstrates a substantial step forward for Canada. Regardless of race and cultural background, Singh is making progress not just for himself, but for others who have been marginalized by society. He is opening the eyes of Canadians and working himself to the bone every day to renew and reconcile the relationship between Canadians with diverse backgrounds. If he, a member of a visible minority, can be accepted by Canadians of various cultures and faiths, then it speaks volumes for our progress as a multicultural nation.

And it does not stop here. Singh has only begun to change what it means to identify as Canadian. As his party’s new leader, Singh is beginning his campaign to reclaim the NDP’s title as the country’s most progressive party. As he explained in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Singh wants to transform the NDP into “the party that inspires, that truly touches the hearts of the people. We have to inspire because we have to win—we owe it to Canadians to do so.”

In a first step on his way to perhaps becoming prime minister, Singh is now touring the country to gain support from suburban ridings, which could potentially result in a significant shift of support for Singh and his party. Considering his current progress, I believe it’s highly likely Singh may once again defy the country’s expectations. Certainly he will continue to redefine what it means to be Canadian.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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