National Newswatch

The balanced budget era is over. Now what?

Jul 26 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Between the tabling of the federal budget in April and the end of the parliamentary sitting in June, Conservative Erin O’Toole asked dozens of questions in the House of Commons and spoke thousands of words. Not one of those words was “deficit.” Granted, what happens in question period doesn’t always reflect what actually matters most […]

How ‘choice’ in child care might play out in the coming federal election

Jul 13 2021 — Aaron Wherry — In one respect, the summer of 2021 is a lot like the fall of 2005: with the possibility of an election looming, a minority Liberal government is pursuing agreements with provinces to expand access to child care — an initiative the opposition Conservatives apparently disagree with. The Conservatives effectively won that debate when they won […]

A hotter future is already here — and Canada is not ready

Jul 3 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Two weeks ago, the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices released a report on the public health impacts of climate change and the need for action to adapt to a new reality of extreme threats. “Climate change,” Ian Culbert, executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association, wrote in the report’s introduction, “is an escalating public […]

Is Canada Day set for another brawl over ‘cancel culture’?

Jun 30 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Given the atrocities this country has been forced to confront over the past month, Canada Day — normally a moment for celebration — was always going to be difficult to frame this year. But in recent comments, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole seems to be angling for a political fight over the national holiday. “As someone […]

Canada’s post-pandemic direction may ride on an election

Jun 27 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Midway through the last session of question period before the House of Commons adjourned for the summer on Wednesday, Conservative MP Raquel Dancho called on the prime minister to present a plan for the country. “Where is the plan to secure the future for Canadians?” she asked. “The plan,” Justin Trudeau replied, “is in budget […]

The news from Kamloops shook this country. Will it change anything?

Jun 23 2021 — Aaron Wherry — “Canadians are waking up,” Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde told Rosemary Barton Live this weekend. “Governments are waking up.” That awakening is overdue. By no means should it have taken the reported discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia to […]

As summer approaches, Parliament is still at a crossroads

Jun 20 2021 — Aaron Wherry — When the second session of the 43rd Parliament began last September, Canada was said to be at a crossroads. Nine months later, it’s fair to say the country is still facing a fork in the road. That’s not because nothing has happened since then, but rather because so much remains unsettled. With a possible (and […]

The Liberals’ net-zero ‘accountability’ legislation is on thin ice

Jun 9 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Bill C-12, the Liberal government’s net-zero emissions accountability act, could be a landmark law in the history of Canada’s efforts to combat climate change. But first it has to actually become a law — and it’s suddenly not obvious that the bill will get through both the House of Commons and Senate before both chambers […]

Without meaning to, Mike Duffy may have changed the Senate forever

May 27 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Stephen Harper once signed a photograph for Mike Duffy with a caption telling the senator for Prince Edward Island that he was one of his “best, hardest-working appointments ever.” Harper himself probably would dispute that description now. But it’s possible that Duffy, who retired from the Senate this week, will go down as Harper’s most […]

Canada is winning the vaccine lottery. Other countries aren’t so lucky.

May 22 2021 — Aaron Wherry — Canadians are very lucky. Just a few months after the vaccination campaign was assailed by politicians and pundits as a disaster, this country of 38 million people had received 23 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday morning. Millions more doses are expected in the coming weeks. Canada caught up to the United […]

Steven Guilbeault is trying to take on Big Tech. It’s not going well.

May 15 2021 — Aaron Wherry — In an interview last fall, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault compared the Internet giants of today — platforms such as Facebook and Google — to the big polluters he fought for many years as an environmental activist. The comparison is intriguing, perhaps even apt — and it might explain how Guilbeault is going about the task […]