National Newswatch
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Justin Trudeau’s Hamburg speech hints at populist shift in Ottawa

Feb 21 2017 — Paul Wells — The St. Matthew’s Day Banquet in Hamburg has been a big date on the German city’s social calendar for more than six centuries. Everyone who’s anyone in Hamburg attends. Under the gilded roof of the historic town hall’s palatial banquet room, keynote speakers — each year, a German dignitary and a foreign guest — discuss […]

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Anti-Islamophobia motion puts Tories on the horns of a dilemma

Feb 17 2017 — Paul Wells — Most Fridays, I appear as an all-purpose pundit-for-hire on Radio-Canada’s popular noon-hour radio current-affairs show out of Montreal. Five days after the massacre at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, one of the topics was, “Will anything change?” It was a fair question. Justin Trudeau and Philippe Couillard, the Quebec premier, had spoken powerfully at […]

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Trudeau gambles that getting close to Trump will pay off

Feb 13 2017 — Paul Wells — The photo wasn’t a small thing. It was a token of insider status. It was Justin Trudeau’s wristband. On arriving at the White House on Monday for his first face-to-face meeting with Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau brought a gift, a framed print of a photo showing Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Donald Trump at a function […]

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Liberals trying to look more liberal with relaunch of cherished programs

Feb 8 2017 — Paul Wells — In the eternal balancing act of Canadian Liberalism, it’s a week for tilting left. One after another, cabinet ministers are lining up to resuscitate programs that please the Liberal base and that the Harper Conservatives fought tooth and nail. On Monday, Health Minister Jane Philpott announced approval for three supervised drug injection sites in Montreal. […]

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As the world tiptoes around Trump many are watching Trudeau closely

Feb 3 2017 — Paul Wells — In December Michael Lollesgaard, a Danish army major general, went home after a year and a half as Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA. The post has been vacant since. The UN has been holding it in case a Canadian comes along. In December Canada’s plan was […]

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From electoral reform to protecting the electoral process

Feb 3 2017 — Paul Wells — Maybe the Liberals’ humiliating retreat on electoral reform wasn’t the only important news in Karina Gould’s portfolio this week. Gould is the new Minister of Democratic Institutions, a Burlington MP who was brought in to clean up the mess her government had already made on electoral reform. It’s pretty obvious the retreat came because Canadians […]

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A tale of two cities for Stéphane Dion

Feb 1 2017 — Paul Wells — In the end, today’s not that different from the day in 1995 when he moved to Ottawa. In the perilous hour, Stéphane Dion is packing his book bag and marching into the fray. It sure took him long enough to make up his mind. Tuesday marked three weeks to the day since Prime Minister Justin […]

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Politicians guiding journalism? No, thanks

Jan 26 2017 — Paul Wells — Here’s what happened to newspapers. In the early 1990s I worked at the Gazette in Montreal. In those days on a Saturday you’d pick up your Gazette, shake five sections of classified advertising and home and car ads onto the floor, and go straight to the City pages, which featured a loving summary of local […]

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Liberals carefully learning to navigate Trump land

Jan 24 2017 — Paul Wells — Donald Trump approved of the Keystone XL pipeline project Tuesday. Sort of. Stephen Harper always said it was a no-brainer, and, well, here we are. The Liberal cabinet was meeting in Calgary, and reaction was muted. Perhaps surprisingly so. They campaigned in 2015 on getting Keystone XL approved, if they could. You’re forgiven if you […]

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Trudeau’s Trump tactics seem to be working — so far

Jan 23 2017 — Paul Wells — On Nov. 8, when it became clear Donald Trump would be the next U.S. president, Justin Trudeau was watching with close advisors. “Well, we’re Canadians,” the prime minister said at last. “We can get along with anybody.” We will now see. Until now Trudeau’s occasional offsite two-day cabinet retreats have been professional-development exercises, a break […]