National Newswatch
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Trudeau’s marijuana plans may be deep in the weeds

Apr 18 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — All things considered, it would have been much easier for the Trudeau government to simply decriminalize marijuana. Easier, at least, than legalizing the stuff, as proposed in the legislation presented to the House last week. The very timing of the legislation — surfacing on the last day of a sitting before a two-week spring break […]

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Trudeau and Freeland are sending Russia the right signals

Apr 11 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Bashar al-Assad finally overplayed his hand with the international community last week in unleashing an unspeakable chemical attack that killed 87 Syrian civilians, including many children and infants. The horrific images of this event have sparked a consensus among western leaders that Assad must finally “be held to account” — in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s […]

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The CPC race is slapstick. The NDP race is politics for adults.

Mar 31 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — The NDP leadership race has two big things going for it — compared to the Conservative race, and compared to recent decisions by the Liberals alienating voters on the progressive left. The contrasts can help the New Democrats rebuild their brand to the 20 per cent polling threshold they need to consider themselves back in […]

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Budget 2017: Morneau rags the puck

Mar 22 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Sometimes you really can tell a book by its cover. Bill Morneau’s first budget in 2016 featured a cover image of a mother and daughter holding hands as they walked down a yellow brick road on their way to prosperity. The title of the book was “Growing the Middle Class”. The message was clean and […]

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A day to remember in the House

Mar 15 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Write down the date — March 8, 2017. It will be remembered in the annals of the House of Commons as one of the most progressive and productive days in the modern era of Canadian politics. First came the Daughters of the Vote, 338 young women aged 18-23 occupying the seats of MPs from their […]

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How Bill Morneau’s building a budget around Donald Trump

Mar 8 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Bill Morneau got the information he needed in Washington last week to move ahead with a budget that won’t put Canada at any competitive disadvantage with the United States. Much of what the finance minister needed to know was in Donald Trump’s address to Congress last Tuesday, on infrastructure spending, corporate and personal tax reform, […]

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Debates are for politicians. O’Leary is a celebrity.

Feb 28 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — It’s indicative of how social media platforms have become game-changers in politics that Facebook and Twitter were lead sponsors of last weekend’s annual Manning Centre conference in Ottawa. In fact, both platforms were represented on the program. Facebook Canada’s head of policy Kevin Chan spoke about how much they’ve enjoyed working with the office of […]

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The Manning Conference takes a hard slide to the right

Feb 24 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Preston Manning has spent most of his post-political life establishing himself as a thought leader on the right. During the decade of Conservative rule in Ottawa, the annual winter Manning Centre Conference in the capital was both an intellectual check on the Harper government and an important source of new ideas. This weekend’s Manning Conference […]

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Don’t throw Mexico ‘under the bus,’ says Mulroney

Feb 21 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — There are two ways of renewing NAFTA. One way is through trilateral negotiation among the three North American treaty partners. The other is through bilateral talks — between the U.S. and Canada on the one hand, and between the U.S. and Mexico on the other. That latter approach seems to be how the Trump administration […]

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Reading between the lines of the Trudeau-Trump encounter

Feb 14 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Media outlets have been measuring the degree to which Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump hit it off by the duration of their handshakes at the entrance to the White House and again in the Oval Office. Leaving body language aside, the more significant message was in the joint communiqué that was drafted ahead of the […]

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Trump badly needs a drama-free meeting with Trudeau

Feb 8 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — If you’re wondering when Justin Trudeau will have his first meeting with Donald Trump, you might look at the week of February 27. For one thing, it’s a break week in the House, making it easier for the prime minister to travel to Washington. For another, it would give Team Trump three weeks to settle […]

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A poisoned political culture erupts in bloodshed

Jan 31 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — We don’t know the accused shooter’s motives, though the usual profile — a misfit and loner — has emerged since the Sunday night massacre at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in the Quebec City suburb of Ste-Foy. Surprising no one, it turns out that the accused lone gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, was an Internet troll […]

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NAFTA, Keystone and the new American president

Jan 24 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — It was not a speech urbi et orbi — to the city and the world. Donald Trump’s inaugural address was a campaign speech, reiterating the isolationist, protectionist and nativist themes of the unlikely election result that made him the 45th president of the United States. I meant what I said then, he said now. Power […]

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Brian Mulroney on Trump, Trudeau and trade: Don’t panic

Dec 21 2016 — L. Ian MacDonald — Former prime minister Brian Mulroney has known Donald Trump for more than a quarter century. They own homes near each other in Palm Beach, share numerous friends and business associates, and their wives — Mila Mulroney and Melania Trump — have a habit of speaking to each other in Serbo-Croatian. On Dec. 5, Mr. Mulroney […]