National Newswatch
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Outsiders are making a mark on Conservative, NDP contests

Apr 24 2017 — Dan Leger — When they work right, national party leadership campaigns stimulate serious conversations on politics and the country. And they offer opportunities. The Conservative and New Democratic Party leadership races have the potential to do both. The campaigns have attracted intriguing outsiders who are having an impact. Whether they can win is another matter subject to party […]

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‘Scold collectives’ like Fair Vote struggle for relevance

Apr 10 2017 — Dan Leger — Shall we pause for a moment to consider the plight of those little-respected citizens, the perennial scolds? How frustrating must be their outrage in a world unheeding of their sage advice. Seeking affirmation and perhaps company, scolds band together into collectives, hoping to influence government policies or at least “raise public awareness” of society’s wrong-headedness. […]

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O’Leary figures he knows the Maritimes — He’s wrong

Mar 27 2017 — Dan Leger — For sheer gall and pretension, it’s hard to beat the leadership campaign of nouveau-Conservative Kevin O’Leary. These are strange times indeed when reality-show actors think they can run whole countries. Whatever syndrome causes that, we know O’Leary as the New England-based TV personality who has generously returned to Canada, part time, to become prime minister. […]

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Alt-right agitation won’t work in Canada

Mar 20 2017 — Dan Leger — Will Canada become the next domino to fall to right-wing populism? It’s been successful just across the border. Why not here? The emerging movement of angry populism, the so-called alt-right, has already turned U.S. politics upside down. Its exponents, such as Donald Trump and his adviser Stephen Bannon, are at the top of their game. […]

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Health care debate exposes cruelty of Trump-GOP rule

Mar 13 2017 — Dan Leger — U.S. President Donald Trump has figured out that health care is complicated. Good work, Mr. President. After getting elected in a slogan-based campaign attacking this and repealing that and draining something else and banning those people, Trump faces an issue that can’t be reduced to bullet points. Health care in the U.S. isn’t a national […]

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O’Leary looks an unlikely saviour for Conservatives

Mar 6 2017 — Dan Leger — Life after politics looks good on Peter Stoffer, who I bumped into recently in the proletarian confines of the Midtown Tavern. The former New Democrat MP is one of the most able politicians I’ve met, respected by peers in all parties. Stoffer eked out his first election win in 1997 by 39 votes, then reeled […]

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Of Trump, Great Men and the exercise of power

Feb 20 2017 — Dan Leger — “The history of the world is but the biography of great men,” Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle said in 1841, expressing what came to be known as the Great Man theory of history. Carlyle’s understanding of history posits that world events are produced by singular figures like Alexander, Julius Caesar, Napoleon or Hitler. But we know […]

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Trump exploding the myth of American exceptionalism

Jan 30 2017 — Dan Leger — If Americans still have anything left in common these angry days, it’s probably the shared fondness for their great American myths. National legends are as American as cowboys and apple pie, burnished by re-telling into shared national stories. The civilizing settler myth, for instance, casts brave Europeans imposing order on a wild and empty land. […]

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Who can restore Conservative identity? (Hint: not O’Leary)

Jan 23 2017 — Dan Leger — It’s been 19 months since the great calamity, in which Canadians lost their minds and elected a namby-pamby former camp counsellor, Justin Trudeau, over the titanium-willed, lifetime politician Stephen Harper. Somehow Canada has kept going and even moved ahead. The country still isn’t perfect, but Harper’s warnings of Liberal catastrophes haven’t materialized. With Harper in […]

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Will the Trump cult destroy the myth of the presidency?

Jan 16 2017 — Dan Leger — America idolizes its democratic traditions and pretends that no individual is above the people. Paradoxically, it also endows special status on its presidents. The president of the United States is more than a head of state. He (since only men have been president) is almost a cult figure: remote and unknowable, the “most powerful man […]

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Is it time to declare Peak Rage and pick another emotion?

Jan 9 2017 — Dan Leger — Is it too soon to declare Peak Rage? It sure feels like an all-time top in the anger market. When have we had more? The left hates the right, “populists” hate “elites” and the rich-versus-poor resentment index has never been higher. Perhaps expressions of popular rage, like the Brexit vote and the Donald Trump election, […]

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Make politics more fair by restoring the per-vote subsidy

Jan 2 2017 — Dan Leger — There might be many moral tests for a governing party, one of which should measure how that party treats its opponents. The test wouldn’t be judged by rhetoric, tweets or public posing, but by the government’s actions. How it responds to opposition says a lot about a government’s character and the ethics of its leadership. […]

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Lies, Rage and Folly top the watchwords for 2016

Dec 26 2016 — Dan Leger — When we look back on 2016 from a vantage point far in the future, say, next week, we’ll recognize it as a year of lies and folly, of rage, change and uncertainty. And that’s just the short list. In politics, 2016 will forever be known as the year that truth became an artifact of an […]

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Pro-Trump Russian hackers fire first shots of Cold War II

Dec 19 2016 — Dan Leger — We may be witnessing, if it’s even possible to witness something expertly concealed, one of the greatest feats of espionage in modern history. Evidence is building every day that Russian spies changed the course of the U.S. presidential election. It might even turn out the Kremlin played a decisive role in putting its favoured candidate […]