One afternoon in June, earlier this year, the mayor of the country’s largest city, the Premier of its most populous province and the Prime Minister of Canada found themselves unexpectedly sharing a stage together in downtown Toronto. They – along with an estimated two million fans from throughout the city – had come together to pay tribute to a group of young (and mostly black) men.
Four days prior, the Toronto Raptors had defeated the Golden State Warriors for the NBA championship, leading to a national outpouring of pride and joy. The Raptors possessed an incandescent quality, and a rare one: They were Canadian and cool, two words that don’t usually come together unless you’re talking about the weather. For the Prime Minister, the election loomed, and for the others, it was a rare moment in political life: a captive audience with a deep well of goodwill. Of course politicians wanted to be associated with the Raptors.
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