When political differences create family drama — and how to handle it at Thanksgiving – National

by BBG Hub

With the federal election just around the corner, Thanksgiving dinner will likely come with a side of political debate.

“There’s often that one relative who always has to be right … or a relative who is insufferable, won’t listen and wants to pontificate,” says Melanee Thomas, an associate professor of political science at the University of Calgary.

While some families have more civil discussions than others, Thomas says, research shows Canadian society may be becoming more polarized.

A recent political study found evidence of “affective polarization” among the Canadian public, which is described as a “dislike of parties or their supporters on the other end of the political spectrum simply because they belong to an opposing group.”

READ MORE: Got questions about voting in Canada? Here are some answers

This trend is troubling, researchers say, because it suggests “polarization does not just influence people’s opinions about the parties, but also how they view ordinary Canadians.”

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Thomas says this is happening in the U.S., too, and points to research that shows political polarization has caused people to adopt an “us-versus-them” mentality.

So how can you talk out political differences without turning Thanksgiving dinner into the first leaders’ debate? The first step is setting pure intentions.

Come from a place of curiosity

You may think your cousin is a tool for his views on tax reform, and that’s OK. But don’t jump into a heated argument with someone just because they have different views than you, says Ottawa-based etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau.

Instead, approach the conversation from a place of genuine curiosity. If you want to understand why someone believes what they do, ask.

Which federal leader has post-debate momentum?

Which federal leader has post-debate momentum?

Blais Comeau suggests using prompts like, “Tell me more,” “That’s really interesting, I never thought about it that way” and “Can you give me an example?”

By using neutral language, you are not coming across as combative. This helps promote healthy discourse, Blais Comeau says.

Use evidence, not emotion

If you’re going to talk politics at the table, educate yourself on issues and be prepared to back up your points. Insults and below-the-belt remarks do not move conversations in a productive manner.

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READ MORE: Why isn’t violence against women an election issue?

“Present evidence and try to have a dispassionate conversation,” Thomas suggests.

“Ask people to explain why they feel a certain way to get them into a position where they consider they might not actually be correct.”

This tactic does not always work, Thomas says, especially if someone holds polarized views. When it’s clear you and another person are not getting anywhere, take a step back and regain your cool.

Leaders’ Debate: Scheer mocks Trudeau for being ‘oddly obsessed’ with provincial politics

Leaders’ Debate: Scheer mocks Trudeau for being ‘oddly obsessed’ with provincial politics

Don’t take things personally

It’s easy to say and harder to do, but try not to take someone’s political views personally, says Blais Comeau.

“People take [politics] very personally because what they feel is being ‘attacked’ are their own beliefs and values,” Blais Comeau explains.

“So if we’re going to talk about politics at the table, we should approach it from a fact-based point of view and we should definitely keep context in mind.”

READ MORE: There are stark disparities in access to mental health services across Canada

Thomas also suggests pivoting the conversation when it’s heading in a direction you find offensive.

“Try to find some common ground or pivot so that people can talk about a general issue without it necessarily being partisan versus partisan,” she says.

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Know when to walk away

If you know a certain family member is prone to taking a constructive conversation to a nasty place, you might want to speak to them beforehand. Blais Comeau says ringing up a relative and politely telling them that you want to keep Thanksgiving dinner civil can help prevent fights.

“Set the expectations that you don’t intend things to go into a negative direction,” Blais Comeau says. “Make it clear from the outset that the purpose of this gathering is to be grateful, to enjoy each other’s company and not to start a fight.”

How to vote in the 2019 federal election

How to vote in the 2019 federal election

If things do get heated at gatherings, it’s perfectly OK to put an end to the conversation. If your Uncle Jeff does not listen to opposing stances — no matter how well argued they are — you may have to accept that his mind isn’t going to change anytime soon.

In these cases, take the diplomatic “agree-to-disagree” stance.

“Say, ‘I recognize that we’re both passionate, and we can go back and forth on this for a long time, so why don’t we agree to disagree?’” says Blais Comeau.

“Or just put an end to it by saying: ‘You know, that’s interesting. I’m going to have to let that simmer for a few days.’”

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READ MORE: Paid leave, tax credits, more benefits — What the parties are promising parents

— With a file from the Canadian Press

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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12 ways to save money on your next grocery bill – National

by BBG Hub

It’s easy to overspend at the grocery store.

Sometimes we stock up on too many sale items, other times we get distracted by in-store promotions and often, you’re entire grocery list can change as soon as you walk into a store.

READ MORE: Here’s how a family of 4 could save $3K in groceries every year

Experts will tell you the best way to cut back on costs is to go with a plan — but it can get difficult to start this process. Start with a meal plan, knowing what you want to cook during the week is the best way to ensure you stick to your budget.

Also, go in with a list. Not only will you save money by setting yourself a budget, but you won’t be tempted to pick up those extra items.

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Below, five experts share their top tips on how to save money on your next grocery bill.

You need to start with a plan

“When you dedicate a couple of hours one day to plan out your meals it helps you to be efficient and organized when it comes to grocery shopping,” said registered dietitian Anar Allidina. Start by looking at what’s on sale at your favourite grocery store and come up with meal ideas around those items.

“Plus, by planning your meals your grocery list will be more streamlined and you will likely have fewer grocery store trips and only buy what you need when you are food shopping.”

Get the right apps

Price matching apps like Rebee and Flip can also help, Allidina said. “It takes just a few minutes to look up items that are on sale elsewhere. All you need to do is take a screenshot of the item that is on sale and show the cashier and they will match the price for you.”

Here’s how to eat on a $65/week budget if you live alone

Here’s how to eat on a $65/week budget if you live alone

However, not all Canadian grocery stores offer price matching, so make sure you are aware of the grocery store’s policy before you fill up your cart. “You will be surprised at how much you can save by doing this.”

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Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Going shopping when you’re hungry can easily lead to overspending on food you may not typically buy, said Shahzadi Devje, a registered dietitian and host of the Morrocco Real Food Adventure based in Toronto.

READ MORE: How to save money on groceries every month

We often end up spending more money on junk food. “Shop when you’re less vulnerable to opt for high-calorie foods that may be of low nutritional quality.”

Seasonal food is cheaper

“Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they’re in season,” Devje said. “Find the best buys of the season and purchase in bulk and freeze.”

She also recommends visiting your local farmer’s market to find further deals on local produce. “The prices don’t include shipping costs, which saves you some bucks.”

Not all food has to be fresh

“Buying some food frozen can also help you cut down on cost,” Allidina said. “Frozen produce can sometimes be better than fresh because they’re picked at harvest time and flash-frozen (so all the nutrients are intact) as opposed to fresh veggies and fruit that have traveled from long distances.”

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How much of your budget should you spend on groceries?

How much of your budget should you spend on groceries?

The options are also endless these days. You can find everything from frozen spiralized zucchini noodles to cauliflower rice to cubed butternut squash.

Give beans and lentils a chance

Not only are these plant-based protein sources cheaper than animal protein, but they are also nutritious. “Canned beans and lentils are fine and a great price point but buying dried beans and lentils and prepping them yourself is a major money saver,” Aillidina said.

Order groceries online for pick-up

This may sound odd, but ordering groceries online and picking them up later on will help you save in the long-run — even with an added fee, said Jessica Moorhouse, a millennial money expert and financial counsellor based in Toronto.

“When you order online then pick-up later, you can more easily stick to your grocery list of what you actually need instead of succumbing to impulse buying or hunger shopping which we all do when we’re at the grocery store.”

Bigger is cheaper

Registered dietitian Jessica Tong of Vancouver says instead of buying individual packages of items, look for larger sizes.

“(For example buy a) large block of cheese instead of individual portions, and cartons of 18 eggs instead of six or 12.”

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Look into grocery store reward programs

Again, this also depends on where you live in Canada, but several grocery store chains include reward programs for shopping at their stores. This can include cash-back credit cards or a points system for free groceries. Moorhouse says they are usually free to sign up for.

Tong says stores like Safeway or Metro use the Airmiles rewards program. “If you set your reward preference to cash miles, the miles you accumulate can be used as money off your grocery bills. This is a great way to save money or splurge on gourmet products.”

READ MORE: How a family of four can eat healthy on a budget of $200 a week

Personal finance expert Barry Choi of Toronto adds it does come down to research and figuring out which program works best for you. He recommends also looking into in-store offers. For example, the PC Optimum program often offers 20 points through their Shoppers Drug Mart brand. These points can be used towards groceries at Loblaws or No Frills.

Actually look into what’s on sale

Not only should you meal plan around what’s on sale during the week, but Choi said by simply buying fruit, vegetables and protein on sale will save you anywhere from 25 to 50 per cent in savings. And if you’re up for it and have the time, shop around: sometimes you can find multiple deals at a variety of stores.

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Go to local ethnic grocery stores

For major urban centres, Choi says you can save a lot more money on protein, fruits and vegetables buy shopping at local ethnic grocery stores. Besides this, you will also find a variety of produce.

Stop buying expensive brands

We all have our favourite go-to brands and often, it comes down to taste preferences. But Devje argues when it comes to some products (think flour, sugar, salt and spices), store brands are much cheaper.

$220 per week: That’s the cost of groceries for an average Canadian family

$220 per week: That’s the cost of groceries for an average Canadian family

“Read the nutrition label and ingredient list carefully to compare products, and be sure you’re getting the most for your cash”

Choi says tomato paste, dried beans or even barely, for example, is another product that doesn’t need to be expensive.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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