National Newswatch

Mud thrown during the Conservative spring cleaning

Mar 20 2017 — Andrew MacDougall — Nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of a hanging, and right now Conservative Party leadership candidates are checking their necks for the presence of a noose following allegations of membership vote-rigging. These kinds of allegations, while extremely serious, are sadly nothing new; dodgy party membership sales are as old as leadership races. And it’s […]

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How Trudeau wants to ride the populism wave, in a ‘middle-class’ Canadian kind of way

Mar 3 2017 — Andrew MacDougall — What a difference a year makes. Last March, the going political concern was the “middle class,” as evidenced by the Trudeau government’s inaugural budget, titled Growing the Middle Class, which mentioned everybody’s favourite ill-defined group 111 times. But following a year of Brexit, Trump and a Conservative leadership race that’s fast becoming an exercise in […]

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When journalists join the ‘dark side’

Mar 1 2017 — Andrew MacDougall — How dark is the future of journalism? It’s so dark, journalists are joining the very place on which they are paid to throw shade: the government. The latest move to the “dark” side: Postmedia columnist Michael Den Tandt, who announced he was leaving his post on February 10, only to join Team Trudeau a couple […]

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The distraction machine You see journalism in decline. Your government sees opportunity.

Dec 16 2016 — Andrew MacDougall — Now that newsrooms more closely resemble abattoirs, a new temptation is taking root in the scramble for revenue: chasing and writing easily understood outrage, rather than deeper reporting on public policy. You know it as clickbait. Your government sees it as an opportunity. The first thing you learn in political communications is that when you’re […]

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Canada’s Conservatives don’t need Kellie Leitch to be relevant

Dec 9 2016 — Andrew MacDougall — After a year-long honeymoon so sweet it left Canada with diabetes, Justin Trudeau is at long last feeling the bitter shock of government. Castro. Cash-for-access. An electoral reform package so comprehensively bungled I had flashbacks to that wacky time we gutted the census. It should hardly need saying that Conservatives — especially the ensemble cast […]

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Can we please get the prime minister a proper plane?

Nov 7 2016 — Andrew MacDougall — The irony gods surely would have died had Prime Minister Justin Trudeau missed the CETA signing ceremony last month because of faulty European technology. After almost losing the long-delayed Canada-EU free-trade agreement to last-minute Walloon gum-flapping, Trudeau’s European-built Airbus was forced to return to Ottawa shortly after takeoff for Brussels because of a flap fault […]

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CETA, Wallonia and the stupid, depressing war on trade

Oct 28 2016 — Andrew MacDougall — Leave it to the ancestral home of the waffle to iron some last-minute uncertainty into the Canada-EU trade deal. After years of blood, toil, tears and sweat, the whole enterprise came under threat this week from a sub-region of Belgium — Wallonia — that most Canadians couldn’t find with the help of the Belgian anti-terror […]