National Newswatch

Her majesty’s astronaut

Jul 13 2017 — Paul Wells — Picking a governor general is a challenge for any prime minister. (Yes, yes, it’s the Queen’s choice, but to say the least, she takes advice well.) Which is an odd thing to say, because the governor general’s formal role in the legislative process is pretty limited. The privy council offers up bills from Parliament for […]

In the Khadr settlement, the Conservatives find their fight

Jul 10 2017 — Paul Wells — Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had already decided to treat the new Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, a little differently from the way a previous Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, had treated a string of Liberal leaders. The Harper Conservatives had released ads to “define” Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and Trudeau within weeks after each man became leader. […]

Prime Minister Ella-Grace Trudeau?

Jun 5 2017 — Paul Wells — Who’s up for a third-generation Trudeau prime minister? Anyone? Bueller? Always one to think ahead, the current Prime Minister Trudeau, Justin, was on the TV this morning from Niagara Falls, where two visiting American daytime TV hosts, Kelly and Ryan—or as I still call them, Regis and Kathy Lee—asked him which of his three children […]

Inside Andrew Scheer’s unlikely triumph

May 31 2017 — Paul Wells — It’s an eternal truth of politics that every victory is only the start of a new fight. “There is renewed hope for Canada, starting today,” Andrew Scheer told thousands of Conservatives on Saturday at a rental hall near Toronto’s Pearson Airport. “I’m here to tell you that the pain and hardship the Trudeau Liberals are […]

Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party’s future

May 27 2017 — Paul Wells — These things used to happen on the floor of delegated conventions: a party’s accredited delegates would seem to be heading in one direction, only to stop, stare one another in the eye, and pivot. The Progressive Conservatives in 1976, putting the old-school populist Claude Wagner on top of three ballots only to crown an unsteady […]

What happens next in B.C.

May 25 2017 — Paul Wells — So the recounts are over in the super-tight British Columbia provincial election, with no changes to the seat count: 43 Liberals, 41 NDP, 3 Green. It’s obvious that (Greens + anybody else) = viable majority in the 87-seat legislature. So now what? Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, no fool, is speaking to both parties, trying […]

Stephen Greene and the case of the strange new Senate

May 17 2017 — Paul Wells — The long process of Stephen Greene’s ejection from the Senate Conservative caucus began last Nov. 15, when he rose in the Red Chamber as sponsor of a government bill. This was odd. Greene was not affiliated with the government. “I stand before you as a senator who is not part of the government,” he said. […]

The carnage in Mali while Trudeau delays

May 12 2017 — Paul Wells — Here’s how 2017 is going in Mali. In January a vehicle packed with explosives drove into a military camp in Gao; 80 people were killed. (This early story puts the number at 50, but it grew.) In mid-April an armed attack on a camp east of Timbuktu killed four. At the end of the month, […]

Why the Conservative Party should remain optimistic

May 8 2017 — Paul Wells — In the last week of April, 13 people took turns on a stage in the Bluma Appel Theatre, in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, to talk about the future of the country. The participants were candidates to lead the Conservative Party of Canada. This would be the last time they would meet for […]

Why military funding in Canada is in such a lousy state

May 4 2017 — Paul Wells — “Read @HarjitSajjan speech about the lack of proper funding 4 the Canadian Forces by the previous Government,” Mike Maka, a staffer at the Prime Minister’s Office, tweeted Thursday morning. Kate Purchase, the PM’s communications director, retweeted the message. This might be a good week to pay attention to the defence minister’s precise words, and that’s […]

Clown down: The post-O’Leary Conservatives

Apr 26 2017 — Paul Wells — Perhaps now (he said with no real hope), we will stop pretending success in other fields transfers effortlessly to politics. Ken Dryden was a great goalie. He got nowhere as a leadership candidate—and that was in 2006, when, as it turned out, the Liberals could have used a good leader. Marc Garneau was an astronaut. […]

Softwood lumber: Well, that escalated quickly

Apr 25 2017 — Paul Wells — Wells: On Monday, Fox News carried an interview with a Wisconsin dairy farmer who has hit hard times and blames Canada. The President was watching. “It has been a bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations [US trade secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement this evening]. Last Monday, it became apparent that Canada intends to […]

The Liberals’ infrastructure bank takes shape

Apr 21 2017 — Paul Wells — The bill to enable the Trudeau government’s proposed infrastructure bank has been introduced in the House of Commons. It must be one of the Liberals’ biggest and most poorly understood projects: $35 billion from Ottawa as seed money, to attract potentially hundreds of billions from large investors for major new infrastructure projects.

Good luck with Days 93-100, Mr. President

Apr 21 2017 — Paul Wells — Trump has so far proven that he can’t accomplish much and isn’t particularly worth worrying about—good news for Canada. Donald Trump is tweeting about “the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days,” so let’s apply it. Our standard, of course, should be Donald Trump’s. Before the election, he was super-interested in being held to account […]