National Newswatch

Andrew Scheer’s curse was Justin Trudeau’s weakness

Nov 7 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — In politics, second place sometimes feels like a win. Just ask the NDP, who stormed to a surprise second place finish in the 2011 election as Stephen Harper went on to claim his coveted majority. Despite falling (way) short of the ultimate prize, Jack Layton’s famous “orange crush” relegated Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals to third place […]

The seeds of Scheer’s defeat were planted in 2017

Oct 24 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — If everything old is new again, Andrew Scheer is guilty only of impatience in resuscitating Stephen Harper’s policy agenda. Four years after voters said “no” to the raft of tightly targeted micro-tax credits (and sharp politics) that typified the last Conservative government, they said “no” to a quick return under Scheer’s banner. It turns out […]

This election, Andrew Scheer is betting that bland works

Oct 4 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — “He’s … beige.” That’s how someone here in London described Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to me after watching his announcement on reprioritizing Canada’s foreign aid away from wealthier nations. Beige. As in bland. The comment was meant as a slight, but dollars to doughnuts it’s the Conservative strategy. After years of Justin Trudeau’s celebrity flash, […]

If I’m listening to Justin Trudeau it means others are too

Aug 27 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — The Liberal Party is speaking to me. Or rather, they’re trying to speak to me. About abortion. About gay marriage. About the fact that Andrew Scheer might not be someone a socially liberal, fiscally conservative, foreign policy hawk like me might want to vote for come the October election. And I’m listening. Not because I’ll […]

The pre-election script Trudeau could be reading, but isn’t

Aug 15 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — Rejoice, Canada! Say so long, first-past-the-post, and hello to the brave new world of proportional representation. Final campaign preparations under the new voting regime are now being made by all parties. Entire armies of political strategists weaned on the vicious norms of two-party battles are taking one final look at their draft battle plans under […]

The Prince of Lightness returns

Jul 22 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — Well, well. It turns out you can come home again. And so welcome back Gerry Butts, Canada’s top Trudeau whisperer, who this weekend returned to the Liberal fold following his spell in the doghouse of political radioactivity. Twitter climaxed with the news, with experience varying depending on side of the political divide. For Conservatives it […]

Trudeau should try killing the Conservatives with kindness

Jul 18 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — Going negative works. The Conservative Party proved it for years with successive attacks on Liberal leaders Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. Both men had much to offer, but the respective Tory counters of “not a leader” and “didn’t come back for you” had too much truth to be ignored by voters. Indeed, Ignatieff was so […]

Steel was a start. But Trudeau needs to rack up more wins

May 23 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — Thank you, Donald Trump. It’s not a phrase one usually associates with Justin Trudeau, but it’s hard to believe the words weren’t spoken by the prime minister when news broke that Canada and the United States had finally resolved their manufactured dispute over steel and aluminium tariffs. Not in the specific sense, of course; the […]

That old Liberal story: the ‘hidden agenda’

May 17 2019 — Andrew MacDougall — Why are Liberals tweeting and petitioning and fundraising about access to abortion, which is not under threat in Canada? They’re in panic mode. You know things are going particularly well for the Liberals when abortion becomes the topic du jour. Stuck in the high 20s/low 30s after months of SNC-Lavalin and a side of Mark […]