National Newswatch
Feb 22 2019 — Mark Gollom

Key aides to a prime minister generally prefer to stay in the shadows, perhaps providing background information to Parliament Hill journalists, but rarely giving interviews or generating much of a public persona. In some ways, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary Gerald Butts carried on that tradition, rarely quoted, speaking to journalists only on […]

Feb 22 2019 —

Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen remains uncertain as to whether he’ll seek his party’s nomination to be its candidate in the riding for this fall’s election. Speaking today, Cullen said he’ll be making his mind up in early March which is eight months before the election and the usual time he’d begin […]

Feb 22 2019 —

The latest chapter in the Trans Mountain pipeline saga will be written Friday as the National Energy Board releases the conditions for proceeding with the contentious project should the federal government choose to do so. It comes nearly six months after a Federal Court of Appeal effectively halted construction of the $7.4-billion pipeline expansion, sending […]

Has Jagmeet Singh As NDP Leader Been A Total Flop?

Feb 22 2019 —

When Jagmeet Singh won the federal party’s leadership back in 2017, there was a wave of optimism when people thought of the possibility that Canada could elect its first non-white, Sikh-Canadian prime minister. The then-Brampton MPP defeated more established, experienced NDP veterans to win the leadership decisively with 54 per cent of the vote. For […]

Union official tells employment minister she doesn’t look fat in her pants during press conference exchange

Feb 21 2019 —

A senior Canadian union official joked about the appearance of federal cabinet minister Patty Hajdu’s buttocks during a Thursday announcement in Winnipeg about federal assistance for women who want to work in building trades. Hajdu, Canada’s minister of employment, workforce development and labour, was in Winnipeg Thursday morning to announce $3.1 million worth of funding […]

Feb 21 2019 —

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party has asked registered lobbyists to help sell tickets to Premier Doug Ford’s upcoming fundraising dinner, an event that companies and industry groups say they feel pressure to attend to maintain high-level access to the government. The $1,250-per-person dinner is being billed as the largest fundraiser in party history and marks the […]

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Feb 21 2019 —

A tour the suspended B.C. legislature clerk organized to learn about “earthquake preparedness” was actually a whale watching trip, and a seminar about emergency evacuations was actually a Seattle Mariners baseball game, according to a scathing new report by Speaker Darryl Plecas. Taxpayers paid thousands for “official-sounding” meetings around the world that were actually opportunities […]

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Feb 21 2019 —

Canada’s top civil servant has refuted a bombshell media report that alleged political interference in the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, claiming it included “errors” and “unfounded speculation” and was “defamatory.” Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick, testifying at the justice committee today, was referring to a Feb. 7 Globe and Mail report that touched […]

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Feb 21 2019 —

One week after losing his right-hand man Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top political aide — chief of staff Katie Telford — faces allegations she intentionally inflicted mental suffering on an ex-ambassador. The allegation is contained in a lawsuit filed by Vivian Bercovici, a former Canadian ambassador to Israel, who was appointed by the […]

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Featured Ink

The pressure is now on Wilson-Raybould in the SNC-Lavalin scandal

Feb 21 2019 — Susan Delacourt

If Jody Wilson-Raybould felt she was suffering “undue pressure” before in her spat with the Prime Minister’s Office, it is looking like a walk in the park compared to what the former minister in Justin Trudeau’s government must be feeling now. Thanks to an extraordinary intervention on Thursday by Michael Wernick, Canada’s top civil servant, […]

In appreciation of the magnificent Michael Wernick

Feb 21 2019 — Christie Blatchford

Into what sometimes seems the lair of the mealy-mouthed, there came Michael Wernick, the plain-talking Clerk of the Privy Council and the top civil servant in the country. The 37-year career public servant was the third witness to testify Thursday at the justice committee allegedly examining the SNC-Lavalin affair and whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, […]

Tough talk from a man with nothing to lose

Feb 21 2019 — John Ivison

Michael Wernick wandered into the justice committee like a sun-struck madman and gave real answers to the questions he was asked by MPs not used to such transparency. After two weeks of politicians citing “solicitor-client privilege” in the SNC Lavalin case, we finally got somewhere. The public service generally operates on the principle that if […]

For Trudeau, the SNC-Lavalin scandal solution could rest with Jody Wilson-Raybould

Feb 20 2019 — Chantal Hébert

Ever since allegations of high-level political interference in the federal prosecution of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin surfaced, it has been assumed that from the government’s perspective former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s silence was a better alternative than having her speak out about her exchanges with the prime minister and his staff. Given her refusal to sanction […]

Jody Wilson-Raybould can talk, lawyers say

Feb 21 2019 — Lorrie Goldstein

Many smart lawyers say former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould isn’t bound by solicitor-client privilege regarding her discussions with the Prime Minister’s Office in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. Brian R.D. Smith of Gowlings, former attorney general of British Columbia, told thelawyersdaily.ca last week: “I think she can tell the world. I hope she does. First of all, […]

The SNC-Lavalin scandal and the politics of prosecution

Feb 21 2019 — Victoria Colvin

The ongoing controversy regarding the prosecution of Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin raises fundamental questions about how decisions to prosecute are made and what role elected politicians should have in that process. The scandal has resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, amid allegations the Prime Minister’s Office pressured its […]

Gerald Butts is clearly blind to his own hypocrisy

Feb 20 2019 — Marni Soupcoff

Gerald Butts, in the statement he issued upon resigning as principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, spoke in righteous terms. He said that in his experience, Canadian politicians and government employees put service of country beyond self … not just sometimes, but every single day. “The Prime Minister of Canada’s Office is much larger […]

Feb 20 2019 — John Milloy

Gerald Butts has resigned and Ottawa is awash with speculation about the next chapter in the SNC-Lavalin affair. My take on it is simple — I have absolutely no idea. And in the interests of full disclosure, I worked with Gerald at Queen’s Park and found him to be a capable and honourable fellow. What I do know, however, is that as the dust settles on this […]

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Feb 20 2019 — John Ivison

The self-preservation instinct has kicked in for members of the governing Liberal party. Prior to the regular caucus meeting Wednesday, MPs warned darkly of a potential riot by unhappy backbenchers. But after former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould addressed the weekly gathering, MPs emerged to proclaim themselves satisfied with the situation. “It was immensely respectful,” said […]

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Feb 19 2019 — Andrew Mayeda

Pity Justin Trudeau. Resigning your best friend to the political scrap heap can’t have been an easy day at the office. Especially when that best friend has been the best brain at your disposal during your meteoric rise to the leadership of the Liberal Party, and then Canada. Losing Gerry Butts, as Trudeau did yesterday, […]

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Feb 18 2019 — Stephen Maher

The second act of l’affaire SNC-Lavalin could be devastating for Trudeau, and it’s not clear he’ll be better off without his trusted advisor. Last week, I wrote here that Justin Trudeau needed a fall guy to take the blame in l’affaire SNC-Lavalin. Today, we learned who that fall guy is: principal secretary Gerald Butts, a […]

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Feb 18 2019 — Paul Wells

At any other time it’d be interesting to entertain a few notions of comparative PMO staffing. Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper shook up their senior staff regularly: Mulroney’s principal secretaries included Peter White, Tom Trbovich, Michel Roy and Hugh Segal; Harper made more frequent changes to his chiefs of staff but when Ray Novak moved […]

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