National Newswatch

For the opposition, a dilemma: work with Trudeau, or cut him down early?

Nov 14 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The unsatisfying federal election campaign of 2019 didn’t really end on October 21. Instead, it has splintered into a half-dozen smaller campaigns — a tangle of pursuits that, individually and collectively, will define Canadian politics for the next while. Andrew Scheer is campaigning for his own leadership as his party tries to figure out what […]

Andrew Scheer does not sound like a man who thinks he needs to change

Nov 7 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Emerging on Wednesday night after a long meeting of the Conservative caucus, Andrew Scheer did not sound like a changed man. He did not sound like a man who thought there was much of anything about himself that needed to change. He looked instead like a leader digging in, in hopes of fending off attacks […]

How Pierre Trudeau survived a minority government – and how Justin Trudeau can do the same

Oct 31 2019 — Aaron Wherry — In Northern Magus, his well-regarded account of Pierre Trudeau’s first decade in power, Richard Gwyn writes that the definitive account of the minority Parliament he navigated from 1972 to 1974 was authored by Vernon Harder, a graduate student at Queen’s University. Harder’s masters thesis in 1977 meticulously recounted the public and private machinations that produced […]

A somewhat humbled post-election Trudeau hints at a new approach

Oct 24 2019 — Aaron Wherry — If you were expecting a wholly different Justin Trudeau to appear on Wednesday, a day after Canadian voters returned 27 fewer Liberal MPs to the House of Commons than they elected in 2015, you were perhaps disappointed. He did not turn up to the National Press Theatre looking dishevelled and broken. He has not grown […]

The carbon tax is probably here to stay. Can Conservatives adapt?

Oct 23 2019 — Aaron Wherry — In October 2018, Stephen Harper published Right Here, Right Now, a treatise on the way forward for conservative leaders in uncertain times. The former prime minister’s commentary included a swipe at carbon taxes. “Carbon taxes are widely unpopular and become more so once people actually have to pay them,” Harper wrote. “Political parties, including mine, […]

No, the party with the most seats doesn’t always govern

Oct 18 2019 — Aaron Wherry — In an email to supporters on Wednesday, the Conservative Party warned of a plot to subvert democracy in Canada. The Liberals, a Conservative official wrote, were “already planning a way to take power without winning the election.” It’s the sort of language typically reserved for describing military coups and authoritarian movements. In this case, the […]

Why Obama might look north and feel empathy for Trudeau

Oct 17 2019 — Aaron Wherry — It is not wholly surprising to learn that Barack Obama hopes Justin Trudeau does well in next week’s federal election. Most of us hope to see our friends succeed in their chosen endeavours. But the former leader of the free world went beyond wishing a friend well on Wednesday when he decided to endorse the […]

How minority governments work — and what happens when they don’t

Oct 16 2019 — Aaron Wherry — The results of the federal election of 2019 should become more or less clear sometime after 10 p.m. ET Monday night, give or take a few recounts in particularly close races. Typically, election nights end with a declaration that the party that won the most seats is the “winner.” But winning the most seats isn’t […]

People are anxious — and this election campaign isn’t helping

Oct 13 2019 — Aaron Wherry — What is this election about? Perhaps, as some say, every election is about anxiety. The body politic has concerns and fears and it seeks out reassurance, security, stability or hope. But the 2019 federal election comes at a time when there is much to be anxious about — an unusual and profound array of things […]

Singh doesn’t rule out supporting a pipeline-owning Liberal minority government

Oct 11 2019 — Aaron Wherry — NDP leader Jagmeet Singh declined on Thursday night to categorically state that the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would be part of any post-election negotiations between NDP MPs and a potential Liberal minority government. Earlier on Thursday, the NDP announced its “priorities” for the next Parliament, pointing to six areas in which it […]

Fear and the border: why Andrew Scheer is talking about gangs and migrants now

Oct 10 2019 — Aaron Wherry — On Wednesday morning, with less than two weeks remaining in the federal campaign, Andrew Scheer worried aloud about MS-13, the notorious Salvadoran-American criminal gang. The Conservative leader stood near Roxham Road in southern Quebec, where asylum seekers crossing from the United States have forced the federal government to establish an unofficial border crossing. As Scheer […]

Trudeau’s challenge to Singh on Quebec’s Bill 21 has risks

Oct 9 2019 — Aaron Wherry — Going into Monday night’s debate, there was a small, but potentially significant, difference between Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on the question of what, if anything, the federal government should do about Quebec’s Bill 21, legislation that bans the wearing of religious clothing by members of the province’s public service. But […]