National Newswatch

Who’s got the election message Canadians want to hear?

Jun 30 2019 — Chris Hall — As party leaders hone their platforms and messaging ahead of this fall’s election, the easy part is identifying the issues voters care about. The challenge is convincing voters they are the best choice for prime minister to deal with those same priorities. Case in point: while Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are talking about the issues Canadians […]

Why Trudeau’s Trans Mountain do-over might need Indigenous investment

Jun 19 2019 — Chris Hall — That the federal cabinet would (again) approve the proposed expansion of the Trans-Mountain pipeline was never really in any doubt. After spending $4.5 billion to buy the line last year, and with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s repeated assurances that the project would go ahead, the real question was how far the government would go to […]

Impeccable timing turns the fall election into a referendum on pharmacare

Jun 13 2019 — Chris Hall — Eric Hoskins says the time is right for Canada to create a universal pharmacare system. The timing of his report calling on the federal government to finally do that might not be so bad, either. “We know (pharmacare) is going to be part of the fall election campaign,” the former Ontario health minister said in […]

Justin Trudeau and Mike Pence: unlikely partners in an alliance of necessity

Jun 1 2019 — Chris Hall — The meetings in Ottawa this week between U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau produced a lot of warm words about friendship, shared history, leadership and the importance of the Canada-U.S. trading relationship. It also injected a note of cold reality: this Liberal prime minister is prepared to go a long way to […]

Why are politicians still terrified of taxing Netflix?

May 16 2019 — Chris Hall — Stephen Harper made it next to impossible heading into the 2015 election for any political party to propose a tax on Netflix, Google and other foreign online services. But two provinces are now charging sales tax on those foreign media companies, suggesting that at least some politicians now see the economic benefits outweighing the political […]

In Alberta’s election, everybody’s ‘standing up’ to Trudeau

Apr 13 2019 — Chris Hall — Andrew Scheer made a brief stop in Calgary late this week to campaign for former colleague and fellow Conservative leader Jason Kenney. Alberta is friendly turf for the federal party leader — even when the weather isn’t. The two stood on the back of a pickup truck in the middle of a baseball field Thursday, […]

An unusually eventful budget day sets the stage for the coming election

Mar 20 2019 — Chris Hall — Bill Morneau’s fourth budget is in the books, and that’s a good thing since he didn’t get a chance to deliver his speech in the Commons on Tuesday because of the din made by Conservative MPs determined to keep the public’s attention on the SNC-Lavalin affair. The Conservatives jeered. They pounded their desks and they […]

In the SNC-Lavalin affair, everyone seems to be entitled to their own opinions – and facts

Mar 6 2019 — Chris Hall — Gerald Butts intended his appearance Wednesday before the Commons justice committee to put an end to the SNC-Lavalin controversy that’s engulfed the federal Liberals for the past month. Whether he succeeded is far from clear. The former top adviser to Prime Minister Trudeau gave a measured and thorough presentation to committee members. His performance rivaled […]

The SNC-Lavalin scandal so far: plenty of drama, few facts

Feb 20 2019 — Chris Hall — In official Ottawa, some weeks feel longer than others. This one scarcely got started before the SNC-Lavalin affair exploded — again — leaving more questions than answers. And it’s only Wednesday. First, Gerry Butts stunned everyone Monday by abruptly resigning as the prime minister’s top adviser — even as he insisted that neither he nor […]

Canada’s in a corner over the Meng Wanzhou case, with no good options

Jan 30 2019 — Chris Hall — Scarcely 24 hours after U.S. prosecutors sent on the evidence they’d gathered in support of extraditing Meng Wanzhou from Canada to the United States, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland wasn’t even trying to put a gloss on the parlous state of Canada-China relations. “It is absolutely the case that we face a challenging situation with […]

John McCallum’s political skills failed both him and Trudeau

Jan 27 2019 — Chris Hall — John McCallum got the job as Canada’s ambassador to China because of his political background. The clear signal to the Chinese was that the former cabinet minister could pick up the phone and speak directly to the prime minister. In the end McCallum’s political skills failed both him and the man who sent him to […]