National Newswatch

Fumbling Trump best case against strongman politics

Jun 19 2017 — Dan Leger — You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump. He’s doing more to restore common sense to politics than anyone these days. Bear with me here, I have not lost my mind. Yes, Trump has blurred the line between what is real and what is fake. He’s an obvious serial liar and conspiracy peddler. He is […]

Ambitious plans for the forces, but are they the right ones?

Jun 12 2017 — Dan Leger — Back in misty yesteryear, in the times before Trump, Ottawa realized that the navy needed new ships. Around that time, I spoke with Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who suggesteda new day in military procurement was dawning. MacKay said the Conservative government would lay down the law with shipbuilders. They would ban the time-tested practice of […]

Scheer is a leader who masks his personal beliefs to succeed

Jun 5 2017 — Dan Leger — The new federal Conservative Leader, Andrew Scheer, is entitled to a honeymoon, just like every other leadership newbie. Right? Some weeks of nice headlines and pictures of the family and usually an encouraging bump in the polls. Most new leaders feel some love, at least at the start. In Scheer’s case, it might be a […]

Nova Scotians show reluctant approval of McNeil

May 31 2017 — Dan Leger — That sound you hear is the sound of a slow, slow clap. It is the sound of cranky Nova Scotians endorsing more years of plodding, managerial government by Stephen McNeil and the Liberals. Re-electing McNeil is a muted celebration of the status quo by an electorate that seems to tolerate the lanky Liberal without warming […]

Trump is playing with fire, America is getting burned

May 15 2017 — Dan Leger — On July 1, Canada will turn 150 years old, cause for national celebration. The country isn’t perfect, but its vital signs are strong. Three days later on July 4, the United States will mark 241 years as a democracy, the world’s oldest. It is really showing its age. Given what’s been going on in Washington, […]

Lots of hypocrisy to go around in the Harjit Sajjan controversy

May 8 2017 — Dan Leger — For connoisseurs of political hypocrisy, the case of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is a gourmet meal, with heaping plates for everyone at the table. The beleaguered minister is being assailed for exaggerating his role planning a key Canadian battle in Afghanistan, an overstatement Sajjan admits and for which he has ruefully apologized. And well he […]

The dairy and softwood bluster is pure Trump posturing

May 1 2017 — Dan Leger — All that is old becomes new again and all that is new becomes old. Such is the rhythm of Canada’s economic relationship with a self-absorbed United States. As evidence, every few years, Canada and the U.S. fight over softwood lumber. They have since 1982, the year Canada got a Constitution, ET: the Extra-Terrestrial was the […]

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 […]

‘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. […]

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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]