National Newswatch

Trump doesn’t hold all the cards in NAFTA talks

Jul 3 2017 — Tom Walkom — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ill-considered efforts to mollify Donald Trump continue apace. The decision to keep sending Canadian soldiers to the war in Iraq is just the latest version. The federal government’s entire defence posture and much of its foreign policy is focused on convincing the U.S. president that Canada is a loyal American ally.

Why I will celebrate Canada Day

Jun 30 2017 — Tom Walkom — I will celebrate Canada Day on Saturday. I will celebrate it although our history of nation-building includes the usual mixture of bad-faith dealing, intolerance and greed. I will celebrate it even if some of my compatriots among the country’s Indigenous peoples do not. On Wednesday, a group of Indigenous protestors began what they called a […]

A few clouds invade Justin Trudeau’s sunny skies

Jun 27 2017 — Tom Walkom — After 20 months as prime minister, Justin Trudeau isn’t quite as sunny as he used to be. He remains unfailingly polite. At an Ottawa press conference Tuesday to mark the end of Parliament’s spring sitting, he thanked reporters — as he often does — for what he called their contribution to democracy. At the end, […]

More questions cloud Ottawa’s plan to help media

Jun 19 2017 — Tom Walkom — A Commons committee charged with looking into Canada’s troubled media has suggested an implicit bargain. On one hand, through a series of tax changes and grants, the government would offer financial support to traditional and new media companies. On the other, the government would crack down hard on media mergers that far too often leave […]

Donald Trump, Paris and the melodrama of climate change

Jun 5 2017 — Tom Walkom — In practical terms, U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to formally withdraw from the Paris climate accord doesn’t much matter. Rather, it is a theatrical gesture that gives all actors in this drama a chance to strut their stuff. The accord itself is largely aspirational. According to the United Nations, even if all the pact’s signatories […]

Harjit Sajjan ‘architect’ fuss a scandal about nothing

May 3 2017 — Tom Walkom — In the end, Defence Minister Harjit’s Sajjan’s sin is grammatical. He has described himself as “the” architect of a 2006 Canadian-led mission against the Taliban during the Afghan War. He should have said “an” architect. For this, he is being pilloried in the Commons. Opposition MPs have called him a liar and demanded he resign. […]

What Donald Trump’s anti-Canada rant means

Apr 24 2017 — Tom Walkom — Donald Trump has discovered reasons not to like Canada. He is sure to find more. The U.S. president has realized belatedly that Canada, as part of its agricultural supply management program, discriminates against foreign dairy products — including U.S. milk. This miffs him no end. “We can’t let Canada or anyone else take advantage,” he […]

It’s time to end the Korean War

Apr 19 2017 — Tom Walkom — Here’s an idea for cooling nuclear tensions between North Korea and the United States. Why not start by negotiating an end to the Korean War? Technically, the war that began in 1950 when Pyongyang invaded South Korea is still ongoing. An armistice in 1953 halted the fighting, the idea being that the warring parties would […]

Bombardier and the perils of privatization

Apr 5 2017 — Tom Walkom — The trials and tribulations of transportation giant Bombardier should serve as a warning to governments. Privatization doesn’t get them off the hook. It is not a magic solution. Bombardier is in the news now for two reasons. First, the Quebec and federal governments gave the Montreal-based firm a total of almost $1.4 billion to help […]

Donald Trump plans more than a tweak for NAFTA

Apr 3 2017 — Tom Walkom — It’s clear now that, regardless of what he told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump wants to do more than tweak the North American Free Trade Agreement. But it’s not at all clear how far the U.S. president intends to go. A draft letter to Congress leaked to the media on Thursday lays out broad […]

Not all economic nationalists are Donald Trump

Mar 31 2017 — Tom Walkom — Nationalism is in bad odour. It need not be. True, an ardent form of nationalism has fuelled the rise of right-wing political leaders, such as Donald Trump in the U.S. and Marine Le Pen in France. Nationalism is driving Britain from the European Union, a move that — whether justified or not — threatens to […]

Among Conservatives the dark side of Stephen Harper lives on

Mar 29 2017 — Tom Walkom — When Stephen Harper went down to defeat in the last federal election, it seemed that his Conservative Party would, of necessity, pivot toward a kinder and gentler future. The party’s hard-edged appeal to identity politics had proven singularly unsuccessful. A law preventing Muslim women from wearing face coverings during their public citizenship ceremonies was thrown […]

Why Bill Morneau hasn’t ended tax breaks for the wealthy

Mar 27 2017 — Tom Walkom — It is sometimes held that Finance Minister Bill Morneau backed away from a promise to end lucrative tax breaks for the well-to-do in last week’s budget because of Donald Trump. With the mercurial Trump occupying the White House, the theory goes, Morneau figured it would be foolish to fiddle with the Canadian tax system. Better […]

Morneau’s faith in small reforms — and small headlines

Mar 22 2017 — Tom Walkom — Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget is big on talk and dodgy about timing. It’s not a useless document. Released Wednesday, the budget, signals (again) the federal Liberal government’s economic priorities of trade, training and innovation. It lays down markers in the area of health care and child care that, while not always new, are nonetheless […]