National Newswatch

Wilbur Ross, butcher or Baker?

Apr 28 2017 — — In his 2007 book Think Big, Donald Trump argued that in tough negotiations the United States government should rely on professionals from the private sector. Noting great deal makers are rare, “like gifted doctors and scientists,” he suggested America could solve a lot of its problems if it used its best negotiators.

Beesan Sarrouh

Religious accommodation and school boards

Apr 27 2017 — Beesan Sarrouh — When implementing religious accommodation procedures, school administrators need to involve the whole school community, including students. The Peel District School Board (PDSB) serves one of the largest multi-faith student populations in Ontario. Recently the board has been facing intense scrutiny regarding its accommodation of Muslim students who want to pray during school hours.


Testing agriculture’s intergov love

Apr 26 2017 — Deb Stark — Since the time of Confederation, agriculture has been a shared federal-provincial jurisdiction. In the world of food production, the two levels of government (together with municipalities in certain areas) have made Canada a global powerhouse with a good reputation for safety and quality, access to natural resources, a strong research and development system, and skills […]


Taking Canada’s agricultural trade to the next level

Apr 24 2017 — — udget 2017 was widely portrayed as a measured, stay-the-course affair. With few large-scale spending commitments compared with the previous year, and with geopolitical uncertainties ahead, the government opted to set the tone for future investments and keep a close hold on the public purse strings for now.


Ontario still needs an electricity policy plan

Apr 20 2017 — — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted late last year that the provincial government had “made a mistake” and mismanaged electricity prices in Ontario. In doing so, the Premier was acknowledging what many experts had been saying for some time. As Ontario’s Auditor General wrote about Ontario’s electricity system in 2015, “the planning process had … broken […]


In search of a true blue Conservative Party

Apr 20 2017 — — What are the options for conservatives who oppose the leadership candidates of the Conservative Party of Canada? If your party abandons conservative principles and swerves off the right-hand side of the political spectrum, where can you turn? This is a discussion that needs to happen in Canadian conservative politics. Journalist Scott Gilmore, a “self-loathing Tory,” […]

The projected BC Hydro Site C Dam is pictured in an artist's rendering. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Hydro.

Site C: It’s not too late to hit pause

Apr 19 2017 — — Site C is an $8.3-billion hydroelectric project in the early stages of construction by BC Hydro, the provincial power utility, on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia. It is designed to produce 1,100 megawatts of capacity and 5,100 gigawatt-hours per year of energy, starting in 2024. Supporters of the project have promoted it as […]


The “Mike Pence rule” and women political staff

Apr 19 2017 — Rachel Curran — Let me start by giving kudos to Mike Pence for honouring his marriage and prioritizing his family. That’s rare enough in political life to be worthy of admiration and particular note. But a recent Washington Post profile of the Vice-President’s wife, Karen, highlighted a less admirable side of his family values: “he never eats alone […]


Theresa May’s shrewd election bid

Apr 18 2017 — — After repeatedly ruling out a snap election, this morning British Prime Minister Theresa May announced she will ask Parliament to trigger an election, to be held on June 8. (Under the Fixed Term Elections Act, the House of Commons now holds the prerogative to call elections, requiring a two-thirds majority of MPs to dissolve the […]


Government communications under Trudeau

Apr 18 2017 — — Those who follow Canadian politics are well aware that a stubborn problem with government is the concentration of power in the “centre.” In Ottawa, everything turns on the whim of the prime minister and central agencies, in particular the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Privy Council Office (PCO). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged […]


Populism and the NDP leadership contest

Apr 17 2017 — — As the race to replace Thomas Mulcair as leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) begins to heat up, it is clear that the international points of reference used to think about the candidates have shifted since the last leadership contest in 2012. One such point of reference is the increased talk of populism. On […]


Trump strikes Syria, nothing changes

Apr 11 2017 — — On the evening of April 6, Trump took a break from hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago residence to launch air strikes in Syria, targeting the Shayrat airbase. The strikes were punitive, ordered after US intelligence indicated that Bashar al-Assad had once again gassed his own people, killing more than 80 men, women […]


Preparing adult workers for the artificial intelligence revolution

Apr 7 2017 — — The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution has begun, and it’s going to take all of us — government, businesses and employees — to steer through the resulting workforce disruption. More than just helping our kids avoid jobs that machines will take over in the future — from driving trucks and reading X-rays to picking stocks and […]


The NDP and the future of social democracy in Canada

Apr 6 2017 — — Now that the NDP leadership contest has come alive, with four candidates running (and perhaps more to come), it may be a good time to ask about the future of social democracy in Canada. Former leader Ed Broadbent has recently urged the party to “be bold” as it strives to influence public policy debates in […]


When delay is not sober second thought

Apr 5 2017 — Peter Harder — For decades, the Senate went about its work in reviewing and improving government legislation. It initiated landmark studies on health care, aging, marijuana, poverty, social cohesion and mental health. The Senate was not idle. At times, the work of senators yielded exceptional and influential contributions to public policy. However, a damaging period of corrosive partisanship, […]