National Newswatch

Doug Ford is a populist, but it’s not yet clear what kind

May 19 2018 — Aaron Wherry — Doug Ford is not Donald Trump. Whatever the controversies and criticisms he now faces, Ford has not promised to build a wall along any of Ontario’s borders. He has not suggested that Muslims should be banned from immigrating to the province. He has not been caught on tape bragging about sexual assault. But “not being […]

On Trans Mountain, Trudeau prepares to put public money where his mouth is

May 17 2018 — Aaron Wherry — The Liberal government offered this week to indemnify Kinder Morgan for any losses related to political opposition to the Trans Mountain project — but Justin Trudeau effectively bought us a piece of the pipeline five years ago. “It is in keeping with what I believe is a fundamental role of the government of Canada,” Trudeau […]

Why we’re still talking about the phantom threat of voter fraud

May 12 2018 — Aaron Wherry — After the Liberal government tabled its proposed changes to federal elections law, the Conservatives started issuing new warnings about the spectre of voter fraud. The Liberals, said Conservative MP Blake Richards, “are trying to force through changes in Bill C-76 that would make up to one million votes susceptible to fraud in the election.” That […]

Liberals nominate Stephane Perreault as next chief electoral officer

May 8 2018 — Aaron Wherry — Stéphane Perrault has been nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as Canada’s next chief electoral officer. But New Democrats are demanding to know why the government put forward a different nominee just three weeks ago. Marc Mayrand, the previous chief electoral officer, announced in June 2016 that he intended to resign at the end of […]

When is a carbon tax not a carbon tax? When Jason Kenney’s pitching it

May 8 2018 — Aaron Wherry — Six people were called to testify Monday afternoon before the House of Commons finance committee on carbon pricing: an economist, a researcher, three individuals from prominent environmental organizations — and one politician. A few days after he and the other members of Alberta’s United Conservative Party boycotted a vote on creating ‘safe zones’ around abortion […]

The phoney war over carbon pricing might finally be coming to an end

May 2 2018 — Aaron Wherry — For all the talk over the years — both passionate and apocalyptic — about putting a price on carbon emissions, the national debate remains a phoney war. That could change soon. In the meantime, there will still be minor skirmishes of varying degrees of consequence. On Monday morning, the federal government released a new report […]

Trudeau government proposes major changes to elections law

Apr 30 2018 — Aaron Wherry — The Trudeau government is proposing to limit the length of federal election campaigns, restrict the amount of spending allowed in the period immediately preceding a campaign and introduce new rules to regulate third-party spending as part of a set of major reforms to Canada’s elections laws. Political parties also would face new privacy requirements regulating […]

The political debate over migrants hasn’t turned ugly yet – but it could

Apr 27 2018 — Aaron Wherry — The debate over what to do about the asylum seekers crossing our southern border — revived this week after the Quebec government worried aloud about its ability to deal with a possible surge of arrivals this summer — is serious, tawdry and dangerous. On Wednesday, for instance, Conservatives celebrated when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged […]

‘Fake Conservatives’, real blowback: Why Bernier backed down

Apr 18 2018 — Aaron Wherry — Timing is everything in politics. The same thing goes for writing books about one’s own politics. “This book and the ideas it contains are very important to me. But now is not the right time to publish it,” Maxime Bernier tweeted on Wednesday, five months after announcing his intention to write about himself and his […]

On Trans Mountain, Jagmeet Singh tries to make himself matter

Apr 11 2018 — Aaron Wherry — “He is irrelevant.” When Alberta Premier Rachel Notley used that word to describe Jagmeet Singh last November, she was making a specific point — that the federal NDP leader’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion wasn’t a factor because the federal government had already approved the project. But if Notley’s comment seemed to cut […]

Why you shouldn’t blame Facebook for what ails democracy

Apr 7 2018 — Aaron Wherry — Amid the onslaught of revelations about Facebook, Twitter and what’s been happening online during election campaigns around the world, there’s a glimmer of (potentially) good news: governments could take steps now to impose some order on the political activity taking place on social media platforms.