National Newswatch

The Liberals and NDP have embraced contempt for Parliament

May 30 2020 — Andrew Potter — One thing we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the depths of the contempt that Canada’s professional class has for the practice of politics, our political parties and even Parliament itself. In the early days of the pandemic, this contempt largely emanated from journalists, but it appears to have now spread to members of the […]

It’s not a crime to disagree with health officials

Apr 15 2020 — Andrew Potter — One of the more disturbing features of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the absence of contrarian strategic thinking combined with outright hostility towards anyone who questions how public health officials are handling the situation. When it comes to the coronavirus, contrarianism comes in two forms. One group simply denies the virus is that […]

Andrew Scheer’s resistance to the inevitable

Oct 25 2019 — Andrew Potter — Which side of history does Andrew Scheer want to be on? The answer depends on what sort of conservative he wants to be. There’s an old quote from William F Buckley that’s enjoying new life these days, to the effect that: “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when […]

Could populism take root in Canada? Too late – it already has

Jul 18 2019 — Andrew Potter — Ever since Donald Trump won the American presidency in 2016 with a toxic combination of sexism, vulgarity and the brazen courting of white nationalists, Canadian academics, pundits and pollsters have been obsessed with the question: “Could it happen here?” By “it,” they mean the rumblings of discontent that have propelled right-wing populists to power across […]

The government just made its toxic media bailout plan even worse

May 24 2019 — Andrew Potter — The news release put out Wednesday by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez begins well: “The Government of Canada understands that for a democracy to function properly, it needs to have solid, independent news media.” If only he had stopped there. But instead, the release goes on for another 700 words to outline a plan whose principal […]

Chrétien was right: The Ethics Commissioner job is a mistake

Nov 3 2017 — Andrew Potter — It’s not spelled out in her office’s mandate, but federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson knows that a big part of her job is to serve as Parliament’s ethical laundromat. The government drops its dirty clothes off at her door, and when the opposition complains about how filthy the Cabinet looks, everyone […]

De-institutionalization, fake news and the crisis of journalism

Feb 6 2017 — Andrew Potter — In order to restore credibility and integrity to online news, we need a mechanism for attaching value to quality journalism. As far as mainstream media is concerned, 2016 will be remembered as the year that print media ran out of runway, as the transition-to-digital bluff was called. It’s clear there is no reliable digital business […]

Our democratic reform minister doesn’t understand our democracy

May 13 2016 — Andrew Potter — In his classic book The Parliament of Canada, C.E.S. Franks suggests that the crisis facing Canada’s democracy is not that its institutions need to be reformed, but rather that they need to be understood. Perhaps no one is more in need of taking this advice to heart than Canada’s Minister for Democratic Reform, Maryam Monsef. […]

The real problem with the Senate

May 20 2013 — Andrew Potter — Milton Friedman liked to say that the problem with socialism is socialism, while the problem with capitalism is capitalists. What he meant, more or less, was that while the free market was a fundamentally sound system that got a bad name from the crooked…