National Newswatch

Year-end deadline for new NAFTA looking impossible, trade experts say

Sep 21 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — NAFTA negotiators appear to have adopted the lament of the White Rabbit: "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get." Battalions of negotiators for Canada, Mexico and the United States have been working at a breakneck pace trying to reach agreement on a revamped North American free trade pact by the end of the year […]

Trudeau, Scheer draw election battle lines over small biz tax proposal

Sep 18 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A jousting match erupted Monday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as the Liberal government's plan to end "unfair" tax advantages for some wealthy small business owners dominated the return of Parliament. As they exchanged blows, the two leaders gave what is likely a preview of the themes that will underlie their […]

Plaintiff in assisted dying court challenge finally gets medical help to die

Sep 18 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — One of two British Columbia women challenging the federal government's restrictive law on medically assisted dying has finally been able to end her suffering with the help of a doctor. But Robyn Moro's case will continue to be part of the constitutional challenge, held up as an example of the torment individuals can be forced to endure due […]

PM balances welcoming message to newcomers with emphasis on immigration rules

Sep 8 2017 — Joan Bryden — KELOWNA, B.C. — Justin Trudeau says there's nothing inconsistent about touting Canada as a welcoming country that embraces immigrants and refugees while simultaneously trying to head off another wave of irregular arrivals. Indeed, the prime minister insisted Thursday that emphasizing openness to newcomers while insisting that immigration rules be followed "are not two separate things." Canadians embrace newcomers precisely […]

PM defends small business tax changes as doctors complain of negative impact

Sep 7 2017 — Joan Bryden — KELOWNA, B.C. — Justin Trudeau got a small taste of the kind of grief his backbenchers have been getting over the government's plan to end what it calls unfair tax advantages for wealthy small business owners. During a townhall meeting Wednesday night, the prime minister was lectured by two female doctors about the negative impact they contended  the proposals will have […]

Small business tax backlash tops agenda for Liberal caucus retreat

Sep 5 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — As they prepare to return to the parliamentary hot seat in two weeks, it seems somehow appropriate that Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal colleagues are holing up in Kelowna, B.C. — amid smoke from nearby wildfires — to plot strategy. Liberal MPs are bracing for sparks to fly during the fall sitting of the House of […]

Morneau calls nervous Liberal MPs as backlash to small biz tax proposals grows

Aug 31 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Bill Morneau is scrambling to calm the fears of nervous Liberal backbenchers who've been inundated with complaints about the finance minister's plan to eliminate loopholes that give some wealthy small business owners an unfair tax advantage. The finance minister hosted an hour-long conference call Thursday with Liberal MPs, aimed at listening to their concerns, giving […]

Trudeau appoints acclaimed New Brunswick writer to fill Senate vacancy

Aug 30 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau has named David Adams Richards, an acclaimed New Brunswick novelist, essayist, screenwriter and poet, to the Senate. "His dedication to the arts, his love of place and of country will be an extraordinary asset to the independent thinkers in the Senate," the prime minister said Wednesday during a news conference in Moncton. Trudeau held up Richards […]

Trudeau splits Indigenous affairs, names personal friend to veterans affairs

Aug 28 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a mid-mandate mini-shuffle Monday to shore up his cabinet in two areas where his government has fallen far short of his soaring campaign rhetoric: veterans and Indigenous affairs. In the most dramatic move, Trudeau split Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada into two separate departments and appointed one of his most reliable, competent ministers, Jane Philpott, to one of […]

U.S. signals Trump’s Buy American agenda non-negotiable in NAFTA talks

Aug 19 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The U.S. appears to be signalling that President Donald Trump's vow to aggressively promote a "buy American, hire American" agenda is not open to discussion during negotiations on a new North American Free Trade Agreement. The Trump administration has served notice that it's dealing with the issue outside NAFTA.  While it's being pulled in one direction […]

Trade experts agree Canada has plenty of leverage in NAFTA negotiations

Aug 15 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — With NAFTA negotiations set to begin Wednesday, it's tempting to think of Canada as the proverbial 90-pound weakling about to get a faceful of sand kicked up by the body-building, muscle-flexing behemoth who lives next door. The United States, after all, is a huge, self-sufficient market that doesn't really need free trade with Canada and Mexico to […]

B.C. replaces Saskatchewan as fossil fuel thorn in Trudeau’s side

Aug 11 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lost the harshest critic of his plan to impose a carbon tax with Brad Wall's surprise announcement Thursday that he's retiring as Saskatchewan's premier. But just as Trudeau pulled that persistent thorn from his right side, he was stabbed in the left side by another thorn as British Columbia's fledgling NDP government unveiled plans to block […]

Mexico’s disproportionate share of auto investment, jobs seen as key NAFTA issue

Aug 3 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The auto sector rates nary a mention in the published list of U.S. objectives for the renegotiation of NAFTA. But senior Canadian officials privately believe the automotive industry is actually at the root of American demands for changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement and will be the key to the success — or failure — of negotiations to […]

Trudeau government bolsters Canadian team in U.S. in prep for NAFTA talks

Aug 2 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is beefing up its team in the United States as it prepares a full court press to defend Canada's interests in the looming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Sources say the government is creating a new position of deputy ambassador to the U.S. and is filling it […]

Tories, NDP want Liberals to outline NAFTA priorities before Commons committee

Jul 18 2017 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Conservatives and New Democrats are joining forces in a bid to pressure the Trudeau government to reveal its priorities for the imminent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Four MPs from both parties sent a joint letter Tuesday to the clerk of the Commons international trade committee, requesting that an emergency meeting be held to […]