National Newswatch

Trump’s trade policies could survive Democratic victory

Nov 7 2018 — Chris Hall — Donald Trump kept telling Americans to pretend he was on the ballot Tuesday and it appears they did. Whether that mobilized more Republicans or Democrats to vote is tough to tell. The Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives, but oh so narrowly. The “blue wave” predicted by some polls was more of […]

How the Liberals hope to escape the ‘Green Shift’ curse in 2019

Oct 23 2018 — Chris Hall — The Trudeau government is moving ahead with its plan to put a price on carbon emissions. In the process, it’s directly taking on federal Conservatives and the four premiers who oppose carbon pricing by promising to give the money back to taxpayers in those provinces. “Starting next year, it will no longer be free to […]

MPs committee calling on Morneau to boost deduction for capital investments

Oct 19 2018 — Chris Hall — Wayne Easter answered the phone in the middle of a quick lunch. The chair of the Commons finance committee was in Winnipeg yesterday with other committee members, listening to submissions on what should be in the next federal budget. Wherever they stop, Easter said, the message heard by committee members is pretty much the same: […]

The U.S. congressional race that could signal a national shift

Oct 12 2018 — Chris Hall — Congressional hopeful Amy McGrath has no time to talk to a reporter from Canada when she arrives for a potluck campaign rally in a small park just outside Frankfort, the capital of Kentucky. The Democratic candidate in the state’s sixth congressional district is wearing blue jeans and sandals as she works through the partisan crowd. […]

Quebec’s election result was bad for Trudeau, good for almost everyone else

Oct 3 2018 — Chris Hall — François ​Legault hadn’t even delivered his victory speech after Monday’s Quebec election when he received a congratulatory phone call from Ottawa. It was federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on the line — and he wanted to be the first. ​Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec party doesn’t have formal ties to Scheer’s party. Conservatives still might have […]

Trudeau’s got a NAFTA 2.0. Now he has to sell it to Canadians

Oct 1 2018 — Chris Hall — It’s almost certain that the highs and lows of Justin Trudeau’s first three years in office will be defined by the nearly 14 months his government has spent negotiating a new trade deal with the U.S. and Mexico. He’s probably fine with that. The prime minister didn’t need to be friends with President Donald Trump. […]

How Ottawa is reading New Brunswick’s wild election result

Sep 26 2018 — Chris Hall — The election results out of New Brunswick don’t offer much in the way of clarity. The party that got the most votes failed to win the most seats. No party won a majority. And the leaders of both the provincial Liberal and Conservative parties — separated by a single seat — are claiming the right […]

Why aren’t Canada’s ethics rules keeping politicians out of trouble?

Sep 15 2018 — Chris Hall — Three senior members of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet have been found in violation of ethics rules in the past year — a list that includes the prime minister himself. And that’s raising questions about whether the conflict rules are tough enough, or effective enough, in elevating the public’s trust in politicians. Conflict of Interest Commissioner Mario […]

Why Trudeau’s willing to let Ford deploy the notwithstanding clause

Sep 11 2018 — Chris Hall — Doug Ford is nothing if not blunt. He also might be pretty adept at sparking a constitutional conflict. That the Ontario premier plans to use the notwithstanding clause for the first time ever in Ontario — to ignore a court ruling that blocked his plan to chop Toronto City Council in half — is proof […]

Bill Blair has a big new job. Does anyone know what it is?

Aug 9 2018 — Chris Hall — Bill Blair has been the cabinet minister in charge of border security for three weeks now — but it’s still not clear what he’s being asked to do. Questions about the extent of his powers, and who ultimately will be responsible for directing Canada’s response to a wave of asylum-seekers coming from the United States, […]

Make no mistake — Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle is his re-election kickoff

Jul 18 2018 — Chris Hall — Justin Trudeau kicked off his 2019 re-election campaign Wednesday with a cabinet shuffle that puts management of three of the most vexing challenges his government faces into new hands. Dominic LeBlanc becomes the prime minister’s point man with the provinces. It will be his job to deal with a more strident set of premiers than […]