National Newswatch

Patrick Brown’s summer of discontent

Jul 27 2017 — Bob Hepburn — By most measures these should be happy times for Patrick Brown. The Ontario Conservative leader is riding high in the polls, his summer campaign-bus tour is operating smoothly, an experienced election team is in place and a wave of slick new ads has been released showing a smiling Brown talking earnestly and confidently into the […]

Why Patrick Brown will be our next premier

Jun 8 2017 — Bob Hepburn — There’s a well-known saying in politics that voters never “toss in” a new government; instead they “toss out” an old one. That’s what happened in 1995 in Ontario when voters tossed out Premier Bob Rae and the NDP and replaced them with Mike Harris and the Conservatives. It happened again in 2003 when voters tossed […]

Ontario election all about jobs, jobs, jobs

Apr 20 2017 — Bob Hepburn — As she tries to fight the impression that her Ontario Liberals are heading for a major defeat in the 2018 election, Premier Kathleen Wynne is working diligently on a stream of policy priorities. Indeed, she’s heavily involved in almost every policy initiative being undertaken by the Liberal government, from health care to education, infrastructure projects, […]

Patrick Brown is the man with no plans

Apr 13 2017 — Bob Hepburn — Patrick Brown is riding high as he nears the second anniversary of his election as leader of the Ontario Conservatives. His party is well ahead of the ruling Liberals and the New Democrats in the polls, he’s kept the party’s vocal right-wing fringe largely in check, and he’s succeeded in boosting the party’s fundraising efforts. […]

Why Kevin O’Leary still calls Boston home

Feb 2 2017 — Bob Hepburn — Kevin O’Leary may be running for Canada’s Conservative Party leadership, but his heart and soul live in Boston. Indeed, O’Leary’s a Bostonian to the core — and despite wanting to be Canada’s next prime minister he has zero plans to move back to Canada any time soon. He’s lived in downtown Boston for more than […]

Five questions for Kevin O’Leary: Hepburn

Jan 12 2017 — Bob Hepburn — Kevin O’Leary is a real tease, isn’t he? For more than a year, the multimillionaire entrepreneur has been tossing out hints that he will run for the federal Conservative leadership, a move that has many party loyalists salivating. Over that time, O’Leary, who became a national celebrity as a panelist on the CBC-TV program Dragon’s […]

A year of reckoning for Brown, Horwath

Jan 5 2017 — Bob Hepburn — It’s a widely held belief in politics that governments fall by defeating themselves rather than an opposition party seizing victory on the strength of a charismatic leader or a compelling election platform. That scenario is playing itself out in Ontario, where the Liberals under Premier Kathleen Wynne are feeling a lot of panic these days […]

Top 10 winners and losers of 2016

Dec 15 2016 — Bob Hepburn — As 2016 draws thankfully to a close, it’s time to look back on the people and events that made headlines over the last year. In that spirit, here’s my eighth annual list of the Top 10 Winners and Losers from the Toronto area, the province and across Canada. As in the past, many big names […]

Changing our voting system a bad idea: Hepburn

Dec 8 2016 — Bob Hepburn — Justin Trudeau made one of his biggest mistakes during last year’s federal election when he promised to kill off Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system before the 2019 election. It was a mistake because the idea of changing our electoral system is, simply, a bad one that could potentially do more harm than good for our democracy. […]

Wynne’s desperate election survival strategy

Nov 24 2016 — Bob Hepburn — Believe it or not, Kathleen Wynne thinks she and her Ontario Liberals still have a fighting chance to win re-election in 2018. While it’s hard to imagine how the unpopular premier can turn around her party’s sinking fortunes over the next 18 months, Wynne and her campaign team are convinced they finally have a plan […]

Kellie Leitch’s bizarre leadership campaign

Nov 17 2016 — Bob Hepburn — Kellie Leitch’s campaign for the federal Conservative leadership grows stranger and stranger seemingly with each passing day. In the past week alone, Leitch has voiced high praise for Donald Trump and his U.S. presidential victory, lost the endorsement of several high-profile Tories who previously supported her, bashed “elites” while hitting them up for donations, dodged […]

Why the polls may be wrong about Trump

Nov 3 2016 — Bob Hepburn — Donald Trump has been claiming for weeks that he doesn’t believe in polls anymore that show him losing the U.S. presidential race against Hillary Clinton. In rallies from Florida to Colorado, Trump is telling supporters he’s winning and that “phoney polls” by “disgusting” media are all part of a “rigged election” designed to defeat him […]

Time Tories stop pandering to fear, hatred

Oct 27 2016 — Bob Hepburn — First it was Kellie Leitch with her plan for screening of potential immigrants for “anti-Canadian values.” Now comes Steven Blaney with his proposals to test all citizenship applicants to preserve “Canadian identity” and to ban federal employees from wearing niqab face coverings at work. “It is critical that we make sure that new Canadians fully […]

Why Trudeau rates A- after Year 1

Oct 13 2016 — Bob Hepburn — Justin Trudeau has enjoyed one of the longest political honeymoons in recent Canadian history. Initially, the love affair between the Liberal prime minister and voters was expected to last just 100 days, but with Trudeau preparing to mark on Oct. 19 the first anniversary of the Liberals’ 2015 election victory, it’s clear the honeymoon is […]

A sad backlash against rising immigration

Oct 6 2016 — Bob Hepburn — I was saddened and appalled when the emails from readers began to pour in after I wrote last week about how it would be wrong to dismiss Kellie Leitch’s plan to screen potential immigrants as silly or unpopular. For days my email inbox was flooded with angry, anti-immigrant rhetoric from readers who believe Leitch, who […]