National Newswatch
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Morneau sees 2017 budget as Chapter 2 of ongoing plan

Mar 23 2017 — Paul Wells — Bill Morneau works in a building named after Jim Flaherty. No pressure there. The very walls seem to ask why Morneau, a political rookie whose adult life before politics was spent in some fairly cushy corporate precincts, can’t seem to display the offhand charm and crusty wit of his late Conservative predecessor. If the walls […]

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Budget is a list of decisions to be made later

Mar 23 2017 — Paul Wells — This is the 22nd or 23rd federal budget I’ve covered. And I’ve never seen the like of the one Bill Morneau introduced on Wednesday. Not even in the last days of the Harper Conservatives did a budget provide for so little new spending — $1.3 billion in the current budget year, total, in all fields […]

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It’s a mystery how the Liberals are encouraging innovation and helping the middle class

Mar 22 2017 — Paul Wells — Wednesday’s budget will be about the middle class and innovation. Maybe it’ll even be helpful! That would be nice. Unfortunately, the Trudeau government’s handling of both files so far has left them in something close to a shambles. I wrote here, somewhat quizzical, after Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos gave a presentation to reporters about […]

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War is hell and Chrystia Freeland has nothing to be ashamed of

Mar 9 2017 — Paul Wells — In 1992 I studied for a school year in Paris. My roommate was French. One night, over cheap port from the local grocery, we got to talking about World War II. “Everyone’s grandparents fought in the Resistance,” my roommate said. He paused for a beat. “The Resistance wasn’t that big.” He was paraphrasing J.B.S. Haldane, […]

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Crucial for Canada’s scientific research efforts to be agile

Mar 7 2017 — Paul Wells — Sometimes to kill time in Ottawa, a few of us old-timers like to speculate about what ever happened to the Naylor report. “Whatever happened to the Naylor report?” Tex will ask, or maybe it’s Mitch. Long silence. “Hard to say,” Four-Eyes will say at last. The rest of us nod sagely. God, we have such […]

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau preaches patience

Mar 2 2017 — Paul Wells — When travelling, it’s handy to show some fluency in local dialects. “We are of course very alert to the challenges posed by the Southern resident killer whale pod,” Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, cool as a cucumber, as he stood on the dock at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, just outside Victoria. Of course he is. […]

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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 […]