National Newswatch

Erin O’Toole campaigned well — but it wasn’t nearly enough

Sep 21 2021 — Chris Selley — Erin O’Toole’s energy never flagged in the final days of the 2021 election campaign, which finished up at an enthusiastic Sunday-night in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West. But the campaign around him sure seemed to be losing steam. And on Monday afternoon, as reporters filed into Tribute Communities Centre — home of the […]

O’Toole is widening his base but risks alienating party members

Sep 13 2021 — Chris Selley — Conservatives may caricature Justin Trudeau as a vain narcissist who’s far too enamoured of his own voice. No one would deny that he likes the microphone. But Trudeau’s daily press conferences are far more a group effort than Erin O’Toole’s. Local candidates usually introduce Trudeau: Caroline Desrochers in La Prairie on Sunday, Sven Spengemann in […]

Masked O’Toole drives home message on Liberal recklessness

Aug 22 2021 — Chris Selley — The Conservative campaign clearly wants everyone to know it takes the fourth wave of COVID-19 very, very seriously. It bolsters leader Erin O’Toole’s position that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s election call was “reckless.” Except during photo ops with his wife Rebecca, daughter Mollie and son Jack, and when speaking into a microphone, O’Toole is always […]

O’Toole swings for the fences in Quebec

Aug 19 2021 — Chris Selley — If the Conservatives’ pitch to Quebecers under Erin O’Toole doesn’t catch the province’s fancy, the party’s next leader might just want to ignore the place entirely and see if that works any better. (La stratégie Costanza?) If politics were logical, which it is not, O’Toole’s platform, cheerful personality and strong French ought to form the […]

Liberals’ fourth-wave election push looks crazier by the day

Aug 4 2021 — Chris Selley — On Thanksgiving Monday 2019, I and other journalists tagging along with the federal Conservatives’ campaign arrived at a downtown Winnipeg hotel to find scores of hacked-off evacuees from the Lake Manitoba First Nation awaiting transportation to shelters — the result of a huge snowstorm that left tens of thousands of Manitobans without power for many […]

Politicians won’t even discuss mandatory vaccinations, for all the wrong reasons

Jul 27 2021 — Chris Selley — The debate in Canada over mandatory vaccinations for health-care and education workers, and over requiring “vaccine passports” for currently restricted activities like sporting events, concerts and cinemas, has by and large been remarkably civilized. That’s a healthy sign: Pro or anti, most of us seem to understand that forcing people to choose between their job […]

Bilingualism is the enemy of Ottawa’s inclusivity agenda

Jul 22 2021 — Chris Selley — Official Languages Commissioner Raymond Théberge insists he has nothing against soon-to-be Governor General Mary Simon, despite her inability to speak one of Canada’s official languages: The Queen’s first Indigenous representative in Ottawa speaks English and Inuktitut, but less French than Her Majesty herself. “We all know what a great candidate she is, what a great […]

If politicians can’t condemn Indigenous church burnings, ‘reconciliation’ is a pipe dream

Jun 30 2021 — Chris Selley — At time of writing, exactly one federal party leader has publicly condemned what is now a quite astonishing church-burning epidemic in Indigenous communities in four provinces. In a tweet on Monday, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole called it “appalling,” which it surely is at a bare minimum. Such acts may or may not “undermine the important […]

Are the media turning on Dr. Tam?

Jun 24 2021 — Chris Selley — Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has never exactly been popular among the mainstream journalists, commentators and public intellectuals I follow on social media. But nor has she come in for a huge amount of criticism — certainly nothing like her retiring-on-Friday colleague at Queen’s Park, Dr. David Williams, who quite rightly became […]

Canada’s lockdowns-forever doomsayers are actively working against the vaccine miracle

May 13 2021 — Chris Selley — As countries and jurisdictions around the world reopen, Canadian vaccination rates continue to increase, and case numbers in those provinces that tend to drive national narratives — Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and more recently even Alberta — are on moderate to steep declines, a certain desperation seems to be taking hold among lockdown advocates. It […]

Grumbling over O’Toole’s leadership might be overblown — but it’s not unjustified

Mar 6 2021 — Chris Selley — Multiple reports suggest there is widespread disgruntlement in federal Conservative ranks. Among social conservatives, there is a sense of betrayal at Derek Sloan’s abrupt dismissal from the party, by a vote of conservative caucus no less, for his alleged “pattern of destructive behaviour.” Apparently this wasn’t what so-cons had in mind when they parked their […]