National Newswatch

The Liberals had the leverage this week — but it might not last

Oct 22 2020 — Aaron Wherry — This week’s excitement ended quietly on Wednesday afternoon, brought to a formal conclusion by a vote of 180 nays to 146 yeas. The defeat of the Conservative motion — with the New Democrats and Greens joining the Liberals in opposing the proposal for what was originally billed as an “anti-corruption committee” — forestalls the immediate […]

Why Parliament could be on the brink of a snap election — again

Oct 17 2020 — Aaron Wherry — Are the Liberals playing a game of chicken with the opposition? “This is pure partisan politics,” Liberal House leader Pablo Rodriguez said on Friday, referring to a Conservative motion that would have the House of Commons establish an “anti-corruption committee.” It shouldn’t surprise Rodriguez — an MP with more than a decade of experience in […]

For the Liberals, taxing the rich might be politically popular — and risky

Oct 8 2020 — Aaron Wherry — For all the alarm expressed in recent months by some pundits and politicians about government debt, surprisingly little has been said about one readily available option for managing higher public expenditures: asking at least some people to pay more in taxes. The idea of asking certain people — the richest members of society — to […]

Why nobody’s likely to win a federal-provincial turf war in a pandemic

Sep 27 2020 — Aaron Wherry — On Thursday — a day after a throne speech vowed to take action on pharmacare, long-term care and child care — Conservative House leader Gerard Deltell stood in the House of Commons and accused the Liberal government of “setting the stage for fights with the provinces.” “Before the throne speech was even finished,” Deltell reported, […]

A throne speech long on language and ambition, short on specifics

Sep 24 2020 — Aaron Wherry — However grandly it’s staged, a throne speech is a difficult thing to judge. Just ask the opposition parties. The first official review of Wednesday’s speech came from Candice Bergen, the deputy Conservative leader, who stepped to the podium and said that the 6,800-word address was “full of Liberal buzzwords and grand gestures with very little […]

The climate crisis is still a massive threat — even in the middle of a pandemic

Sep 17 2020 — Aaron Wherry — The profound and urgent threat of climate change still hangs over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government — quite literally this week, after smoke from the wildfires in California and Oregon spread across the continent, casting a dull haze across the skies. Questions are being asked now about how quickly or enthusiastically the Liberals should turn […]

The pandemic is changing how we talk about deficits — maybe for the better

Sep 9 2020 — Aaron Wherry — Various observers and unnamed officials spent last week worrying aloud about how large a deficit the Liberal government might be preparing to run — and then the new leader of the Conservative Party more or less disavowed any interest in balancing the budget. “Economic growth is as important as controlling spending,” Erin O’Toole told the […]

Once again, a weakened Liberal government offers the NDP an opening

Sep 1 2020 — Aaron Wherry — Defending his decision to have Parliament prorogued until Sept. 23, Justin Trudeau acknowledged the obvious on Monday — his Liberals do not occupy a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. “As we take a new direction, I think it is extremely important in a democracy that parliamentarians be able to pronounce on […]

Can Chrystia Freeland overcome the Liberals’ ‘elite’ problem?

Aug 29 2020 — Aaron Wherry — “We need a new New Deal,” Chrystia Freeland said back in June 2013, invoking the reforms and support programs President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented in the United States in the face of the Great Depression. This was before Freeland was elected as the Liberal MP for Toronto Centre, before the Liberals formed government in 2015 […]