National Newswatch

The Liberals face a summer of discontent

Jun 19 2022 — Aaron Wherry — Two summers ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals started allowing themselves to talk ambitiously about a post-pandemic future — about learning the lessons of COVID-19 and seizing the moment to push the country forward. Two years later, nearly all pandemic-era precautions have been set aside and most Canadians seem ready to stop worrying about the […]

Erin O’Toole wants his party to find a ‘balance’ between conservatism and populism. What if it doesn’t?

Jun 18 2022 — Aaron Wherry — Erin O’Toole, who was dumped as Conservative leader in February, sounds a little worried these days. “Whoever the next leader is … they will have to get the balance right between conservative, traditional policies and populism,” O’Toole told CBC Radio’s The House in an interview airing this weekend. “And I believe as leaders we have […]

The case for making the notwithstanding clause politically awkward again

Jun 1 2022 — Aaron Wherry — In an essay published several months after he played a central role in the negotiations that led to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution Act of 1982, Roy McMurtry wrote that he was “saddened” by “irrational allegations that the ‘notwithstanding clause’ was prompted by provincial politicians determined to retain the option of […]

That Liberal-NDP deal made Parliament more predictable — but not more boring

May 29 2022 — Aaron Wherry — The confidence-and-supply agreement between the Liberals and NDP — now two months old — has brought a certain amount of predictability to Parliament. The institution is no longer dominated by questions about whether an election might be triggered by whichever bill happens to be in front of MPs at the moment. But that predictability shouldn’t […]

Televised election debates are important — but they could be better

May 15 2022 — Aaron Wherry — Providing space for good, healthy political debate on a national stage seems particularly important right now. But we’ve seen how easily attempts to do so can go astray, as evidenced this week by a gimmicky Conservative leadership debate and as explained at length in a new report by the federal Leaders’ Debate Commission. The Debate […]

Conservatives have big things to fight about — whether they want to or not

May 12 2022 — Aaron Wherry — Much about Wednesday night’s Conservative leadership debate — which included sound effects, props and questions about the candidates’ reading and streaming habits — seemed designed to limit the space available for actual debate. Maybe that was a reaction by the Conservative party to last week’s debate, which became a story about how readily the candidates […]

Conservatives are in a mood to fight — with each other

May 6 2022 — Aaron Wherry — Twenty minutes into Thursday’s debate between five of the six candidates for the Conservative party leadership, Scott Aitchison appealed for calm and seriousness. “If we can’t go out and speak to Canadians in all parts of the country and make sure that we are trustworthy, that we don’t scare them … every time I hear […]

The fate of Roe v. Wade puts both Liberals and Conservatives on the spot

May 5 2022 — Aaron Wherry — In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen said the “only ones reopening” the abortion debate “are the Liberals.” Unfortunately for Bergen, Arnold Viersen, a Conservative MP who describes himself as “pro-life,” had stopped to speak to reporters outside West Block two hours earlier. He was asked whether this was a debate […]