National Newswatch

Ethics commissioner cleared Trudeau’s fundraising in February

Apr 27 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Ethics commissioner Mary Dawson concluded in February that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not contravene the Conflict of Interest Act when he participated in two fundraising events last year that were the subject of opposition complaints. The Conservatives and New Democrats asked Dawson to investigate Trudeau’s participation in those events in December.


Can Trudeau talk Trump out of trade fight?

Apr 21 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Participating in a public Q&A session with Bloomberg’s editor in chief on Thursday, Justin Trudeau was asked what he’d learned about Donald Trump in his three months of dealing with the American president. The prime minister thought about this for a second or two. “I’ve learned that he listens,” Trudeau said, seated on a stage […]


Trudeau sends more ministers to U.S. amid NAFTA and border tax worries

Apr 18 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Three more ministers from Justin Trudeau’s cabinet will be in the United States this week, as the federal government continues to lobby American leaders and lawmakers about the importance of maintaining unfettered trade between the two countries. With U.S. President Donald Trump hoping to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and others suggesting the […]


Weed might not be the new beer, but Trudeau could cast off the taboo

Apr 13 2017 — Aaron Wherry — In the days leading up to Thursday’s potentially momentous tabling of legislation to legalize marijuana, there was concern on Parliament Hill about the availability and affordability of alcohol. With a rallying cry of “Free the beer,” Conservative MP John Barlow tabled a bill on Tuesday that would facilitate the sale and transport of alcohol across […]


Why the Liberals are still struggling to change how Canadian democracy works

Apr 5 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Badgered again during question period Tuesday about her government’s interest in changing the rules that govern the House of Commons, Bardish Chagger protested that Liberals “will not give a veto to the Conservatives over our campaign commitments.” It is on this basis that the House of Commons remained, for another day, no closer to reform. […]


Liberals say no to mandatory and online voting

Apr 4 2017 — Aaron Wherry — The Liberal government says it will not pursue mandatory or online voting for federal elections. The Liberals had raised the ideas for consideration in their 2015 election platform and tasked the special committee on electoral reform with studying the possibilities. But MPs on the special committee were divided on the merits of mandatory voting and […]


Health of Canadian democracy improving, but concerns remain, poll suggests

Mar 28 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Amid widespread concern for the state of Western democracies and the rise of populist revolts, a new report says the health of Canadian democracy has improved over the last two years. But celebrations should be measured. Democracy 360, the second biennial report by Samara, a non-partisan civic organization based in Toronto, finds the country’s political […]


Everyone thinks Parliament should be reformed, but no one can agree on how

Mar 24 2017 — Aaron Wherry — The state and functioning of the House of Commons have been widely and sorrowfully lamented in recent years. But to the list of lamentable things might now be added the latest attempt at parliamentary reform, an effort that seems in danger of being strangled by parliamentary democracy. Our current tale of woe begins, as many […]


Liberal budget offers lots of ‘vision’ but few new numbers

Mar 23 2017 — Aaron Wherry — At a dozen points in the budget document, the Liberals interrupt their announcements to explain “What Success Will Look Like.” Canada, we are told at one point, “will have one of the most skilled, talented, creative and diverse workforces in the world.” The country “will be on the leading edge of discovery and innovation.” Commute […]


How the federal budget could spare Justin Trudeau some difficult conversations

Mar 21 2017 — Aaron Wherry — A year ago, the prime minister came face to face with the reality of economic dislocation and hardship. And in that moment he seemed hard-pressed to offer a tidy solution. “It was a really difficult conversation,” Justin Trudeau told the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge after sitting down with Neil Piercey, a 58-year-old man from London, Ont., […]


NDP leadership candidates consider what the heck happened and what now

Mar 13 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Possibly the most challenging question posed during the NDP leadership debate on Sunday came from Kim, the bartender. “A few months after [the last election], I went in to watch the hockey game at the local sports bar. Kim the bartender came up to me. She’s putting her son through law school on tips,” recounted […]


What happens when Liberal backbenchers rise up

Mar 11 2017 — Aaron Wherry — Wednesday was an eventful day for the House of Commons. Perhaps even an important one, precisely because it was so eventful. In the climactic moment, 105 Liberals broke with the government and voted in favour of S-201, a bill sponsored by Liberal MP Rob Oliphant to ban genetic discrimination. Moments earlier, 27 Liberal backbenchers had […]