National Newswatch

Room at the top: Is Harper’s legacy a Conservative leadership vacuum?

Jan 24 2020 — Aaron Wherry — Stephen Harper left behind a relatively sturdy foundation for his successor to build on. Even in defeat, Harper’s Conservative party won 99 seats and 32 per cent of the popular vote in 2015. The Conservatives raised $29 million that year, $7 million more than the Liberals. What he didn’t leave behind was an heir (or […]

In the Middle East, assigning blame is a political act — often a futile one

Jan 15 2020 — Aaron Wherry — “It is at times of tension like these,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday, after Iran admitted that one of its missiles had shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, “that tragedies like this crash can happen.” Before concluding his prepared remarks, Trudeau also said that Iran must take “full responsibility” for the tragedy. It’s […]

Trudeau outlines ‘first steps’ on long road to justice for victims of PS752

Jan 11 2020 — Aaron Wherry — The Iranian government’s admission that its own military forces shot down flight PS752 was “an important step,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday, but it was also a “first step.” There are still, the prime minister explained, “many more steps” to be taken — that “must” be taken. This is the prudent response. Though […]

Canadians need answers about Flight PS752 — and Iran ought to understand why

Jan 10 2020 — Aaron Wherry — At a moment of awful revelation Thursday, the prime minister emphasized the need for clarity. “The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers. I want answers,” Justin Trudeau said during his second press conference in as many days. “That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice. And this government will not rest until we […]

Trudeau is just the latest PM to keep his distance from an American act of war

Jan 9 2020 — Aaron Wherry — Justin Trudeau emerged on Thursday afternoon to deal publicly with the world as it is, in all its complexity and danger. Not for the first time, a Canadian prime minister was asked about an American military adventure. Not for the first time, the response required a combination of diplomacy and differentiation. The unanswerable question is […]

Some reasons for (cautious) optimism on the climate change front in 2020

Dec 28 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The second decade of the 21st century was not comforting. The celebration of the so-called “end of history” turned out to be premature. Liberal democracy proved to be less than inevitable and progress could no longer by taken for granted. Populism, nationalism and authoritarianism reared their heads. New media fed our worst impulses. The scales […]

What went wrong in Afghanistan? Our MPs don’t seem to be in a hurry to find out

Dec 11 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The House of Commons spent Tuesday debating a Conservative proposal to establish a special committee of MPs to study Canada’s ongoing “diplomatic crisis” with China. Whatever the actual merits of that proposal, the timing of it at least underlines another significant matter in Canadian foreign policy that could use some accountability. On Monday, the Washington […]

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, […]