National Newswatch

Wildcards abound for Canada’s national parties

Sep 7 2017 — John Ibbitson — As Liberals and Conservatives hold caucus retreats this week and New Democrats prepare to vote for a new leader, all three national parties face challenges that will define their brands. All three confront, as well, a political wildcard that could upend everything. Because they are the governing party, barnacles were bound to accumulate on the […]

Russia to probe Canada’s aid to gay Chechens fleeing persecution

Sep 6 2017 — John Ibbitson — A Russian official has warned that if Canada violated Russian law by bringing homosexual Chechens to Canada as refugees, there will be consequences. Kirill Kalinin, who is a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Ottawa, said of the Canadian underground railroad operating in his country: “Any legal irregularities, if proven true, shall be duly investigated.” […]

How Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay people in Chechnya fleeing persecution

Sep 1 2017 — John Ibbitson — For three months, the federal government has been secretly spiriting gay Chechen men from Russia to Canada, under a clandestine program unique in the world. The evacuations, spearheaded by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, fall outside the conventions of international law and could further impair already tense relations between Russia and Canada. But the Liberal […]

Trudeau’s shuffle reveals two truths about Liberal cabinet

Aug 28 2017 — John Ibbitson — Monday’s cabinet shuffle reveals two weaknesses in the Trudeau government: an indifferent, if reasonably stable, front bench outside its core team of top performers, and a real problem in Alberta. An enfeebled ministry is typical of modern governments everywhere. The ever-accelerating pace of events concentrates power in the leader’s office. Justin Trudeau had promised a […]

Trudeau should quit while he’s still ahead on federal-provincial relations

Aug 19 2017 — John Ibbitson — Justin Trudeau has been remarkably successful in handling federal-provincial relations. To cement that legacy, he might want to consider losing the next election. Whoever is prime minister after 2019 could confront a far less co-operative collection of premiers, should Alberta and Ontario voters choose to elect conservative governments. History tells us that when those two […]

The fascists are mobilizing in Donald Trump’s name

Aug 14 2017 — John Ibbitson — Almost lost in the tumult of the last few weeks – the collapse of the effort to repeal Obamacare, chaotic hirings and firings in the White House, cascading revelations over Russiagate, the escalating crisis with North Korea, and now the horror of white supremacists injuring and allegedly killing people in Charlottesville – was news that […]

Khadr is to Trudeau what the census was to Harper

Jul 20 2017 — John Ibbitson — The Omar Khadr affair is for the Trudeau government what the census scandal was for the Harper government: a midsummer meltdown that permanently taints the reputation of the prime minister. There are important differences between the two imbroglios, and we should remember that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won the next election despite the census mess. But, […]

The economy can make or break a prime minister

Jul 17 2017 — John Ibbitson — Justin Trudeau’s Liberals enjoy the political benefit of strong economic growth, reflected in the Bank of Canada’s decision last week to raise interest rates. If things are this good in 2019, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives won’t be able to use the economy as an election issue, leaving the Tories with an uphill fight to unseat the […]

In Jagmeet Singh, a unifying figure with divisive potential

Jul 11 2017 — John Ibbitson — Jagmeet Singh’s bid to lead the federal NDP offers bold new possibilities for the party. But the Ontario MPP faces serious opposition, which he believes may include agents working on behalf of the government of India. However, the greatest hurdle may be overcoming resistance from Quebec secularists uncomfortable with the prospect of a turban-and-kirpan-wearing Sikh […]