National Newswatch

A vitriolic campaign has torn the Conservatives apart. Insiders worry next leader will have a hard time putting the party back together

Jun 30 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Whoever becomes Conservative leader in August will face a tough job holding the party together after what has been an extraordinarily vitriolic and fractious campaign, Conservative MPs and party insiders tell the Star. The party’s 2020 leadership race has included disqualifications and legal challenges, a failed attempt to kick one candidate out of caucus, public […]

Conservative leadership candidate Derek Sloan pushes ‘Canada first’ immigration message

Jun 18 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Long-shot Conservative leadership candidate Derek Sloan is doubling down on anti-immigrant rhetoric in advance of the party’s English-language debate in Toronto this evening. The rookie Ontario MP has been trying to consolidate the party’s hardline social conservatives behind his campaign, releasing a detailed “pro life” plan and arguing against “political correctness.”

Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole accentuate the negative in French-language Conservative leadership debate

Jun 18 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Erin O’Toole began with an apology over any mistakes. Peter MacKay with a request to excuse his accent. And Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis read their opening statements, eyes down on their notes. So began the Conservative leadership contest’s first and only French-language debate Wednesday night, where the four candidates attempted — with varying degrees […]

Erin O’Toole drops pledge to end fossil-fuel subsidies

Jun 12 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole called subsidies for fossil fuel a “form of corporate welfare” and vowed to end them on Wednesday. But by Thursday, O’Toole said he had received “a lot of questions” about his commitments to combat climate change, and had removed that promise from his platform. Instead of ending the subsidies, the […]

Ottawa says it has no ‘obligation’ to help Canadian children trapped in Syrian detention camp

Jun 6 2020 — Alex Boutilier — The federal government says it has no “positive obligation” to help at least 25 Canadian children stranded in a Syrian detention camp amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria houses thousands of suspected ISIS fighters and their families, including an estimated 40,000 children. There is growing concern about safety in the camp […]

MacKay, O’Toole lay out their post-pandemic economic plans. And neither is rushing to balance the books

May 28 2020 — Alex Boutilier — If you’re a Conservative voter who believes in balancing the budget above all else, you might want to avert your eyes for the next few years. Leadership front-runners Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole both released their ideas for Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery this week. And while both candidates stressed the need to stabilize federal finances, […]

Ottawa’s gun legislation will effectively allow cities to ban handguns

May 25 2020 — Alex Boutilier — The Liberals upcoming gun control legislation will allow municipalities to effectively ban handguns within their boundaries while setting national standards on how the weapons can be stored and used. While stopping short of a national handgun ban, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told the Star that new rules will allow municipalities to rule that handguns […]

Why CSIS is changing the way it talks about extremist threats, including ‘incel’ violence

May 20 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Canada’s domestic intelligence agency is changing how it talks about extremist threats, adopting a broader vocabulary to include violence inspired by “incels,” ethno-nationalists and other fringe groups. The move comes just a day after authorities laid Canada’s first incel-related terrorism charge against a 17-year old accused of fatally stabbing a woman at a North York […]

MacKay campaign boasts big membership sales as Conservative race enters next phase

May 16 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Peter MacKay’s campaign claims to have signed up the most new members eligible to vote in the Conservatives’ upcoming leadership contest in the party’s history. But strategists and party insiders say it’s not how many members a campaign signs up, it’s where those members live in the Conservatives’ riding-weighted leadership contest. If MacKay’s boast is […]

Canada’s COVID-19 research ‘a valuable target’ to foreign spies, intelligence agencies warn

May 14 2020 — Alex Boutilier — Canadian health researchers and organizations working on the national response to COVID-19 are facing a heightened risk of state-sponsored hacking and espionage, the country’s intelligence agencies tell the Star. In a rare joint statement, Canada’s two main intelligence agencies — the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment — said state-sponsored actors have […]

Canada stays quiet as China’s handling of COVID-19 comes under scrutiny

May 7 2020 — Alex Boutilier — As Canada’s closest allies call for a probe into China’s early handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Ottawa is steering clear of the issue — and for good reasons, experts say. The federal government is calling for a comprehensive “postcrisis review” into the COVID-19 pandemic, including the virus’s origins and how countries and the World Health […]

Federal Conservatives look at August 21 for leadership vote

Apr 29 2020 — Alex Boutilier — The Conservative Party is eyeing Aug. 21 as a possible date to select their next leader, the Star has learned. The party’s Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) suspended the race to replace Andrew Scheer indefinitely on March 26. At the time, the committee said the vote, originally scheduled for June 27, was made impossible by […]