National Newswatch

Jagmeet Singh and the viral video Canada needed

Sep 11 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — In newsrooms, where I used to spend my time, there are some rare moments when you realize a particular story has penetrated the larger public awareness. Most of the time, things that reporters think everyone should care deeply about barely register in the real world. This becomes apparent at family gatherings or a kid’s sports […]

Canada’s postcentennial generation

Jun 29 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to feel an emotional connection to the number 150. There’s nothing particularly personal about it. Canada’s sesquicentennial marks the country’s age and accomplishments (and failings), but it doesn’t mark our own individual journeys as citizens. (Maybe that’s why I often notice the Terry Fox statue when I walk down Wellington […]

A fresh, or re-heated, Conservative menu?

May 29 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — That Andrew Scheer would like to emulate the success of his predecessor at the helm of the Conservative Party makes perfect sense. Whatever you thought of Stephen Harper, he was a shrewd politician. Back before the 2006 election, Harper and his team looked at the Canadian electorate and saw a path to victory that united […]

Budget 2017: Right road, low fuel

Mar 23 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — I’m going to borrow from some of the buzzwordy language in vogue with the government right now as a metaphor for Budget 2017 – it’s like an automated car that is probably going down the right road, but its electric battery is only partly charged. Finance Minister Bill Morneau concedes as much in his speech […]

Trump versus the press: Canadian deja-vu

Jan 23 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — At the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, I recall a strong feeling of shame as I waited for then-Prime minister Stephen Harper and former President Barack Obama to emerge from a meeting. I was the designated pool reporter with The Canadian Press, killing time with my Associated Press counterpart. I sheepishly […]

Policy thinking for the next 50 years

Jan 2 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Our politicians need to be pushed to think long-term, even as the world seems impossible to predict. When Lester B. Pearson lit the Centennial Flame in front of Parliament Hill on January 1, 1967, Canada was on the cusp of major change in many areas. At that time, the country was still fundamentally white (only […]

A good year for Canadian women

Nov 11 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — One of the most poignant moments of this emotionally charged week was Hillary Clinton’s message to the crestfallen young women of America who supported her bid for the presidency. “Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling. But someday someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right […]

Our constantly evolving Canadian values

Sep 7 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — The proposal that newcomers to Canada should have to pass a “values” test suggests that our views as a society are static, and that people from certain cultures can’t adapt to them. Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says we need to have “tough conversations” on complex issues such as immigration, and where newcomers stand on […]

Vacation shaming our politicians

Aug 16 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Are Canadians really about work-life balance, or does it make us feel a bit guilty? Remember the commercial for the Cadillac ELR Coupe a few years back, the one with the smarmy rich guy who makes fun of the French for taking so much vacation? “As for all the stuff, that’s the upside to only […]

Donald Trump, disruption and the Conservative leadership campaign

Jul 20 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — The word “disruption” pops up just about everywhere these days, suddenly transformed into something companies and governments actually want. Uber is an example of a disruptor — shaking an age-old industry to its core, with an innovation that the marketplace suddenly realizes it desperately needs. The Conservative Party of Canada needs a disruptive leadership candidate. […]

Canada was having the wrong debate about refugees

May 21 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Cast your mind back nine months to the vigorous public policy discussion over the Syrian refugee crisis that suddenly dominated the Canadian election campaign. That heartbreaking photo of little Alan Kurdi on the beach crystallized the question in our minds: what can we do? The ensuing debate was framed around security – Canada had to […]

Mike Duffy, ethics and accountability

Apr 22 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — It was completely by accident that Policy Options planned for a special feature on the Federal Accountability Act in the same week as the verdict in the Mike Duffy trial came down. On the surface, they might seem like two distinct issues. The FAA was a broad piece of legislation meant to cover everything from […]

Open government: The political motivations and hurdles

Apr 2 2016 — Jennifer Ditchburn — This year’s Canadian Open Dialogue Forum preached the gospel of transparency and freely accessible data, but success will depend on the will of political leaders. If on a future visit to the City of Lights you wind up visiting the restored “Petite Ceinture” railway in the heart of the metropolis (a project vaguely reminiscent of […]