National Newswatch

Bill Morneau’s keeping his pandemic focus firmly on the near-term

Apr 18 2020 — Chris Hall — Canada’s finance minister says there was a point early in the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic when he realized this crisis was going to be different — and far more trying than most people were expecting. At that point, said Bill Morneau, Italy had just imposed a national quarantine. The stock market had tumbled. It […]

The economy’s on life support and Canadians need help now. What’s the holdup?

Apr 3 2020 — Chris Hall — As the COVID-19 caseload shows every sign of surging in Canada, the delivery of promised financial relief for people who’ve lost their jobs or closed their businesses remains maddeningly slow. The federal government’s emergency wage subsidy is at least three weeks away from being available. It could take even longer. The emergency response benefit for […]

Like everything else in the pandemic plan, Morneau’s economic package is chasing a moving target

Apr 1 2020 — Chris Hall — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic “unprecedented” and “the largest economic program in Canada’s history.” But he was far less conclusive Wednesday when asked just how long his government expects this package of wage subsidies and income support will be needed. Trudeau told reporters attending his daily […]

Bellegarde says Indigenous people need ‘allies’ – and blockades don’t help

Mar 7 2020 — Chris Hall — For weeks, supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs blocked rail lines and demonstrated on the steps of the B.C. legislature, many of them holding signs declaring that “reconciliation is dead.” Their anger, directed at a natural gas line through unceded territory in northern B.C., turned into a rallying cry for Indigenous title and governance — […]

Can net-zero and the energy sector co-exist?

Feb 29 2020 — Chris Hall — Chrystia Freeland says there’s nothing inconsistent about the federal government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while promoting a thriving oil and gas sector on the Prairies. The deputy prime minister admits there is no national concord yet on how to reconcile the two.

Decision on Teck oilsands mine coming next week: Jim Carr

Feb 21 2020 — Chris Hall — The prime minister’s point man for the Prairies said today the fate of the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine will be decided next week, setting the table for another potential showdown over an oil and gas project in this country. Liberal MP Jim Carr said the nearly $21-billion project represents a complex challenge for the […]

The march to reconciliation trips over a pipeline

Feb 13 2020 — Chris Hall — The dispute over the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline in the B.C. interior is fuelling protests right across the country now — protests that governments seem reluctant to confront even as they spread. Earlier this month, RCMP officers in the B.C. interior wrapped up their enforcement of a court injunction in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory against the […]

Was Ottawa right to quarantine Canadians evacuated from Wuhan?

Feb 8 2020 — Chris Hall — As the people Canada flew out of Wuhan, China settle into their second day of a two-week quarantine at a Canadian military base, the debate over whether they pose a real risk of spreading the novel coronavirus here is heating up. The nearly 200 evacuees are staying at CFB Trenton, where they are being monitored […]

It’s a new year, Mr. Trudeau. What do you want to do with it?

Jan 29 2020 — Chris Hall — If there’s anything to be said about the Liberal minority government so far, it’s this: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his inner circle don’t seem to be in a hurry to do much of anything. That might sound harsh, given that Parliament just resumed for the first time since before the Christmas break. But beyond […]

Trudeau’s cabinet picks seem designed to project stability, seriousness

Nov 20 2019 — Chris Hall — Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were shut out in Alberta and Saskatchewan last month, but the provinces got a shout-out in the cabinet choices the prime minister announced today. Lacking an MP from the region, Trudeau tried for the next best thing. He named two key ministers with ties to the two provinces, and positioned a former […]