National Newswatch
neil-macdonald

Forget ‘values tests.’ One would-be Tory leader has other ideas that will horrify Liberals: Neil Macdonald

Mar 18 2017 — Neil Macdonald — Rick Peterson, the private-sector firecracker competing with 13 other candidates to lead the Conservative Party, wrote the other day, politely taking issue with my contention that the race is less exciting than televised darts and devoid of big, serious ideas. So I called him back. He wasn’t terribly keen on discussing the cruelly boring race […]

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Forget populism — where are the big ideas from Canadian leadership candidates?

Mar 14 2017 — Neil Macdonald — A populist blast, we are told, is building in the intestines of the Canadian polity. It’s like attitudinal fracking; economic despair and class resentment is cracking open dormant pockets of inflammable anger-gas, and the coming blowout threatens the very order of things. My old colleague-turned-academic Michael Valpy, an earnestly sober left-leaning intellectual, wrote recently in […]

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Trust in the media is sinking and it’s time to act

Feb 21 2017 — Neil Macdonald — If I were a public figure — a politician, a senior public servant, a judge, someone in the national security apparatus — I doubt I would speak to most reporters. Actually, if it were just me, going through some horrible personal episode that occasioned a local police reporter to call my home, I would likely […]

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With Donald Trump, the word ‘lie’ finally enters the mainstream media lexicon

Jan 28 2017 — Neil Macdonald — When Justin Trudeau, during the last election, dismissed the $15 billion worth of military materiel being manufactured in Canada for export to Saudi Arabia as “Jeeps,” he uttered a verifiable falsehood. It was simply untrue. The vehicles are armoured warfighting machines, equipped with medium and heavy machine guns and cannons capable of firing heavy shells […]

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America’s shining moment — a stump speech, tear gas and unsold Trump T-shirts

Jan 21 2017 — Neil Macdonald — Americans are peerless creators of national myths. It’s a gestalt psychology, a self-organizing collective mind, indifferent to actual events or circumstances. Friday, hours before Donald Trump laid his hand on the Lincoln Bible, an inauguration myth was taking form on the television airwaves. It went something like this: Americans of all persuasions had streamed from […]

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A failure to communicate: Anglos flounder in Tory French-language debate

Jan 18 2017 — Neil Macdonald — I have no idea what Deepak Obrhai was talking about during the Conservative French-language debate Tuesday night, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else who speaks French would, either. Plowing stolidly, syllable by syllable, jabbing his finger in the air, he demonstrated a near-total inability to communicate with a quarter of Canadians.

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Breakfast with the Tories: Chris Alexander learns to tread carefully

Jan 17 2017 — Neil Macdonald — I asked Chris Alexander this question over breakfast: once government is finished taxing a Canadian, should that Canadian be able to spend what’s left of his or her own money on private medical care? “I’d have to think about that,” he replied, his guard up. “I mean, the way you put it, I think I […]

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Breakfast with the Tories: Maxime Bernier, the smooth libertarian

Jan 13 2017 — Neil Macdonald — Maxime Bernier eats a disciplined breakfast. Oatmeal, with a little maple syrup and a glass of water. Which is understandable. Discipline keeps up your game. Bernier is trim and intent on staying that way. His outfit is just about perfect for a modern conservative: open-neck shirt, sleek navy suit, silk pocket square. And his retail […]

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Advice for anxious liberals — tone down the snark

Jan 7 2017 — Neil Macdonald — Having for years assumed their road to social justice is inevitable, and that conservatives are just on the losing side of history, progressives are now peering anxiously through a pall, awaiting war wagons of gibbering horribles — perhaps led by a Dennis Hopper character decorated in human bones — screaming for revenge and the slaughter […]

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Let’s stop pretending Israel is heading toward a two-state solution

Jan 4 2017 — Neil Macdonald — The diplomatic rictuses that were so long fixed in place are not just slipping. They’ve been torn off and discarded. In the ascendant Trump nation, they are no longer of any use. What lies underneath shouldn’t be a surprise: the Trump campaign official in New York who declared that Michelle Obama should return to Zimbabwe […]