National Newswatch

Secular dress code looms for Quebec

Mar 27 2019 — Chantal Hébert — The political stars are just about perfectly aligned for Quebec Premier François Legault as he opens the latest chapter in the province’s controversial securalism debate. The introduction on Thursday of the Coalition Avenir Québec’s most contentious piece of legislation to date comes at a time when the rookie government is riding high in voting intentions.

Liberal path to re-election runs through NDP territory

Mar 25 2019 — Chantal Hébert — It is no accident that the start of a weeklong parliamentary break finds Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail in British Columbia. Nor was it that, prior to flying west, the prime minister spent part of the weekend in Montreal, his home base but also the place where the NDP is determined to make its […]

Former cabinet ministers have Justin Trudeau in their sights

Mar 22 2019 — Chantal Hébert — Had former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott sought to sabotage her government by breathing new life in the SNC-Lavalin saga this week, she would not have acted otherwise. Her first post-resignation interview — given to Maclean’s on the day after the federal budget was presented — raised more questions than it provided factual answers.

The Boeing 737 Max reversal shows team Trudeau is flying blind

Mar 13 2019 — Chantal Hébert — No one will accuse Transport Minister Marc Garneau of having rushed to judgment on whether to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 planes from Canadian air space until more is known about the causes of last Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. By the time Garneau appeared on Wednesday to announce he was reversing his earlier stance that […]

It’s crunch time for the lead players in the SNC-Lavalin affair

Mar 11 2019 — Chantal Hébert — As the SNC-Lavalin affair enters its second month, its protagonists are at the crossroads. From the main opposition parties to the prime minister and including the ex-attorney general at the centre of the ongoing crisis, all have strategic decisions to make on the way forward. Start with Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives. Polls show that even as […]

Philpott resigns and things get a whole lot worse for Trudeau

Mar 4 2019 — Chantal Hébert — Justin Trudeau was damaged goods before treasury board president Jane Philpott followed her friend and former colleague Judy Wilson-Raybould out of his cabinet. It is far from certain that he can recover from this latest blow to his moral authority and repair his reputation as a competent prime minister in time for the election.

Does Jody Wilson-Raybould have a future in Trudeau’s party?

Mar 4 2019 — Chantal Hébert — Jody Wilson-Raybould is not ready to say whether she still trusts the prime minister, but she is nevertheless adamant she will be running under the Liberal banner next fall. Despite the grim picture of the behind-the-scenes government operations she painted and in spite of the fact that she holds Justin Trudeau responsible for the political […]

Four important questions in the SNC-Lavalin scandal

Mar 1 2019 — Chantal Hébert — Another week of political drama on Parliament Hill finds the SNC-Lavalin affair no closer to closure. In the aftermath of Jody Wilson-Raybould’s appearance at the Commons justice committee, even the future of the prime minister as Liberal leader has become fair game for speculation. If anything, the former attorney general’s testimony has left many Canadians […]

Little to celebrate for any party in Monday’s byelections

Feb 26 2019 — Chantal Hébert — Hold the champagne! If Monday’s much-anticipated byelection results suggest anything, it is that none of the main federal parties is where it should want to be a little more than six months from the official start of a national election campaign. Here is a look at some of bright and dark spots brought to light […]

Has Trudeau begun to put the SNC-Lavalin scandal behind him?

Feb 22 2019 — Chantal Hébert — After a week of stunning developments on the front of the SNC-Lavalin affair, is Justin Trudeau’s government any closer to a resolution of the most corrosive crisis of its tenure? Are the Liberals worse or better off for the blunt unapologetic testimony of Canada’s top civil servant Michael Wernick in front of a parliamentary committee […]

For Trudeau, the SNC-Lavalin scandal solution could rest with Jody Wilson-Raybould

Feb 20 2019 — Chantal Hébert — Ever since allegations of high-level political interference in the federal prosecution of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin surfaced, it has been assumed that from the government’s perspective former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould’s silence was a better alternative than having her speak out about her exchanges with the prime minister and his staff. Given her refusal to sanction […]