National Newswatch
sears

Dutch voters deliver a treat

Mar 19 2017 — Robin V. Sears — The headline across the continent this week was, “Europe Breathes a Sigh of Relief.” Common sense and the ‘centrist’ Dutch prime minister had survived. But drill down just a little and a different picture emerges. Yes, conservative Mark Rute did survive, but he lost 25 per cent of his caucus. The biggest loser was the […]

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Cutting the fiscal fat, finance ministers find lot of baloney

Mar 12 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Chinese history records the anger of early emperors over ministers who wasted the nation’s treasure and failed to collect the taxes imperial ambitions required. In most countries, managing the king’s treasury could be a fatally risky career for finance ministers until only a few centuries ago. It’s not much more fun for most finance chiefs […]

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No job in Canada like leading the NDP

Mar 5 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Successfully leading the NDP is a unique role in Canadian politics. It is an entirely different job than that which Liberal and Tory aspirants face. The only close cousins might be leading the first generations of the Parti Quebecois, Social Credit or the Reform Party. Your status is closer to sainthood than employment. Successful NDP […]

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The secret to maintaining political secrets

Feb 26 2017 — Robin V. Sears — The hapless MP rescued in his shoes and nothing more, on a frigid Ottawa night, by bemused Commons security guards, having drunkenly locked himself out of his own office while engaged in unparliamentary affairs with a staff member, could be confident of two things: frostbite in new places and secrecy. It was in no one’s […]

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Trump discovering the insurgent’s eternal challenge

Feb 19 2017 — Robin V. Sears — It’s fun running an insurgent campaign. Running an insurgent government less so. On the campaign trail, you can say the most outrageous things — as Donald Trump established, you can even tell daily lies — and get lots of attention, and never be pushed too hard on “Just how would you go about doing that […]

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Donald Trump’s digital dilemma; Sears

Feb 12 2017 — Robin V. Sears — The somewhat sketchy parallels between Richard Nixon’s failed presidency and that, prospectively, of Donald Trump are already being widely drawn — erratic, deeply unpopular, wilfully tone-deaf. There is at least one domain in which they have nothing in common at all. Richard Nixon could not have conceived of the digital exoskeleton that now wraps and […]

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Why do parties choose the wrong leader?

Feb 5 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Party leadership selection, like choosing one’s mate, is rarely perfect, never precise and always highly personal. But there are some flashing yellow lights at the boundaries of what is always certain to be a disaster that really should not be ignored. And yet, surprisingly frequently, parties ignore the signals obvious to outsiders and make very […]

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Journalists are the last guardians of our democracy

Jan 29 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Tyrants always respect and fear an independent media, often more than journalism’s ordinary readers. They understand its power to reveal their agendas, to mock their follies, and to delegitimize them. That’s why they do their best to demonize and marginalize journalists. From Mussolini to Chavez to Putin and Erdogan, it is a tactic proven successful […]

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Justin Trudeau well positioned to deal with Donald Trump

Jan 20 2017 — Robin V. Sears — Brian Mulroney likes to remind aspirant prime ministers they would have one job as important as leading Canada successfully: Building a strong personal relationship with the President of the United States, and nurturing it carefully, throughout your time in office. Sadly, is not a view that many Canadian prime ministers have shared, often to their […]

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How to reform political party funding

Jan 15 2017 — Robin V. Sears — As all the changes over the past generation in party funding and spending rules in Canada amply demonstrate, it’s a little bit like “whack-a-mole.” Push too hard on limitations, and the temptation to cheat grows fast. Offer too much guaranteed funding and the parties get lazy about fundraising. In 1972, the first Trudeau government was […]

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Don’t make promises you can’t keep

Dec 11 2016 — Robin V. Sears — Another Trump lesson: there’s a direct line between the false promises of politicians in the post-Cold War era and the recent election of so many false prophets. Donald Trump is only a more vulgar false promiser than those earlier disrespectful leaders who have helped elevate him. The Liberals’ electoral reform fiasco is a sad Canadian […]

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Politics’ most precious — and dangerous — commodity

Dec 4 2016 — Robin V. Sears — So there you are, crushed in a hot, crowded room, cursing your friend who tempted you there. Suddenly you emerge from a trance-like state 10 minutes later. The crowd begins to applaud hysterically. You realize you have been captured by the most precious commodity in political life, a charismatic leader.

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Why P3s are best for infrastructure projects

Nov 27 2016 — Robin V. Sears — From the days of the pyramids to pipelines today, big infrastructure projects have one thing in common: they are hardly ever on time or on budget. It doesn’t matter whether they are publicly owned or private, extensive delays and massive cost overruns are the norm. Why? You might well ask, as have many an enraged […]

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Are we on the verge of another revolution?

Nov 20 2016 — Robin V. Sears — We all saw it ad nauseam over the past year. Crowds leaping up, red-faced in angry excitement, pumped fists in the air at the exhortations of their bombastic leader; contemptuous, especially, of the media and their defence of the corporate elites. Sure there was prosperity for some, but deep and persistent pockets of poverty only […]

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We are really going to miss him

Nov 13 2016 — Robin V. Sears — Like many progressive observers, my view of Barack Obama has been a bit of a roller-coaster. Stunned when I stood on the floor of the Democratic Convention in 2004 and witnessed this unknown state senator deliver his spellbinder keynote speech. Hugely excited and impressed by the campaign nine years ago, frustrated and depressed by the […]