National Newswatch

Trudeau is betting his entire government on the fight against climate change

Dec 6 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Talk is cheap and everything is easier said than done — but a throne speech, by its very nature, can only be measured by its words. And the two most prominent words in the official remarks that opened the 43rd Parliament were “climate” and “change.” “Canada’s children and grandchildren will judge this generation by its […]

Andrew Scheer blames the messenger. Will Conservatives be satisfied?

Nov 26 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party are proceeding through the stages of post-election grief. Scheer can only hope the process stops before it reaches him personally. The first scapegoat in any case of political failure is always “communications”. A breakdown in communication was the culprit Scheer trotted out three weeks ago when he emerged from […]

Why Chrystia Freeland is the indispensable Trudeau cabinet minister

Nov 21 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland have been very good for each other. Not for the first time, the future of the Liberal government — and a lot else — seem to be riding on the two of them finding success together. “She is someone with whom I worked very, very closely, and with great success, […]

For the opposition, a dilemma: work with Trudeau, or cut him down early?

Nov 14 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The unsatisfying federal election campaign of 2019 didn’t really end on October 21. Instead, it has splintered into a half-dozen smaller campaigns — a tangle of pursuits that, individually and collectively, will define Canadian politics for the next while. Andrew Scheer is campaigning for his own leadership as his party tries to figure out what […]

Andrew Scheer does not sound like a man who thinks he needs to change

Nov 7 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Emerging on Wednesday night after a long meeting of the Conservative caucus, Andrew Scheer did not sound like a changed man. He did not sound like a man who thought there was much of anything about himself that needed to change. He looked instead like a leader digging in, in hopes of fending off attacks […]

How Pierre Trudeau survived a minority government – and how Justin Trudeau can do the same

Oct 31 2019 — Aaron Wherry — In Northern Magus, his well-regarded account of Pierre Trudeau’s first decade in power, Richard Gwyn writes that the definitive account of the minority Parliament he navigated from 1972 to 1974 was authored by Vernon Harder, a graduate student at Queen’s University. Harder’s masters thesis in 1977 meticulously recounted the public and private machinations that produced […]

A somewhat humbled post-election Trudeau hints at a new approach

Oct 24 2019 — Aaron Wherry — If you were expecting a wholly different Justin Trudeau to appear on Wednesday, a day after Canadian voters returned 27 fewer Liberal MPs to the House of Commons than they elected in 2015, you were perhaps disappointed. He did not turn up to the National Press Theatre looking dishevelled and broken. He has not grown […]

The carbon tax is probably here to stay. Can Conservatives adapt?

Oct 23 2019 — Aaron Wherry — In October 2018, Stephen Harper published Right Here, Right Now, a treatise on the way forward for conservative leaders in uncertain times. The former prime minister’s commentary included a swipe at carbon taxes. “Carbon taxes are widely unpopular and become more so once people actually have to pay them,” Harper wrote. “Political parties, including mine, […]

No, the party with the most seats doesn’t always govern

Oct 18 2019 — Aaron Wherry — In an email to supporters on Wednesday, the Conservative Party warned of a plot to subvert democracy in Canada. The Liberals, a Conservative official wrote, were “already planning a way to take power without winning the election.” It’s the sort of language typically reserved for describing military coups and authoritarian movements. In this case, the […]