National Newswatch

2015 redux: Scheer’s Conservatives are sticking with the Harper policy book

Jun 26 2019 — Aaron Wherry — “Stephen Harper with a smile” was the shorthand description embraced by both Andrew Scheer (while he was running for the Conservative leadership) and the Liberal Party, after Scheer became the second leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Two years and five “vision” speeches later, that description seems only more apt. That Scheer has so […]

Steven Guilbeault opposes pipelines. So why is he running for the Liberals?

Jun 22 2019 — Aaron Wherry — This was a particularly interesting week for Steven Guilbeault — one of Canada’s most prominent environmentalists — to announce that he hopes to be a candidate for the Liberal Party in this fall’s general election. It would be a notable development regardless of its timing: the recruitment of a star candidate by a government seeking […]

Andrew Scheer’s climate plan leaves a lot to voters’ imaginations

Jun 20 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Presenting the Conservative Party’s climate platform on Wednesday, Andrew Scheer exulted over the document’s length and weight. “Sixty pages,” he said, holding the document aloft. “Eleven thousand words.” It is, without question, a handsome document — in full colour and featuring many large photos. There are many words in it. Some of them are in […]

Like it or not, Trans Mountain is what a pipeline ‘compromise’ looks like

Jun 19 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Justin Trudeau has his pipeline, again — a pipeline he owns both politically and literally. Legal challenges will again be filed against the Trans Mountain expansion. The government of British Columbia will remain opposed to the project and committed to appealing its case to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, construction will resume. The proverbial […]

This isn’t Thomas Mulcair’s NDP anymore

Jun 18 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The socialist wing of the NDP should probably send Justin Trudeau a note of thanks. If Trudeau and the Liberals hadn’t trounced the NDP in 2015, and if they hadn’t done so while running on an aggressively progressive platform, the New Democrats would surely not have released the sort of platform they did on Sunday […]

Here’s what everyone seems to be missing in the PBO’s climate policy math

Jun 15 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The simple math of climate policy rarely makes for straightforward politics. Consider this week’s analysis by the parliamentary budget officer, and the respective responses of the Liberals and Conservatives. Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are projected to decline to 592 megatonnes by 2030 — a significant reduction, but still 79 megatonnes above the target to which […]

Why is Pierre Poilievre going after Elections Canada?

Jun 12 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The Conservative MP’s reference to ‘paid influencers’ raises spectre of election-rigging. If Pierre Poilievre was a basketball coach, he might be accused right now of “working the ref” — a tactic that has come to be an accepted part of professional sports. But because he’s an elected member of Parliament, and because he’s casting aspersions […]

Is Trudeau a ‘tax-and-spend’ Liberal? The numbers say no

Jun 8 2019 — Aaron Wherry — With less than five months to go before a federal election, Conservatives are making a special effort to establish just how dimly they view Justin Trudeau’s time as prime minister. This week, their lament was about taxes and the apparent plight of ordinary Canadians under the Trudeau government’s allegedly high-tax agenda. “When will the government […]

On immigration, Scheer is trying to please two different audiences at once

May 30 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Andrew Scheer’s immigration speech on Tuesday night rested its arguments on a debatable premise. “With each passing day,” he said, “Justin Trudeau and the Liberals undermine” Canada’s “proud legacy” of immigration. “They have managed,” Scheer said, “to undermine the long-standing consensus that immigration is indeed a positive thing for this country.” Public polling on this […]

Scheer steps back from his deficit promise — and denies Trudeau a weapon

May 25 2019 — Aaron Wherry — It’s far too soon to measure the full extent of Justin Trudeau’s political legacy, but he has now managed at least one truly remarkable achievement: he has persuaded the Conservative Party to admit that balancing the federal budget, even outside of a recession, is not absolutely necessary. Trudeau might wish he hadn’t been so successful. […]

The carbon tax survived Saskatchewan. That was the easy part.

May 4 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The Trudeau government’s federal carbon-pricing backstop has survived to fight another day. And there are many, many more days left in this battle. “The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is not unconstitutional either in whole or in part,” a majority of justices on the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled Friday, responding to a hostile reference […]

Why Jason Kenney needs Justin Trudeau … as a punching bag

May 3 2019 — Aaron Wherry — If on Tuesday afternoon you were thinking that Jason Kenney might turn out to be a more relaxed member of the federation than he seemed while campaigning in Alberta’s recent election, you might have been taken aback by what he had to say Thursday morning. “This bill, if passed in anything like its current form, […]