National Newswatch

Trudeau is the pandemic polar opposite of Donald Trump

May 21 2020 — Don Martin — When it comes to pandoptics, in real words being displays of shared symbolic pain during this COVID-19 crisis, Justin Trudeau is without equal in Canadian and perhaps global politics. The prime minister has excelled at taking steps to showcase his life in a pandemic as being just like the rest of us mere voting mortals. […]

Sealing off provinces from each other borders on pandemic paranoia

May 13 2020 — Don Martin — There’s something rather big being overlooked in the move to reopen Canada. Specifically, four provinces. While the European Union is set to reopen most of its borders next month and Americans remain free to drive across state lines, Canadians will likely confront a “closed for the summer” sign on Atlantic Canada.

Conservatives down to Scheer follies and hopeless hopefuls

May 5 2020 — Don Martin — Consider the unfathomable: We’re now in a country where Conservatives like premiers Doug Ford, Scott Moe and Brian Pallister look statesman-like while the federal lame-duck leader and his wannabes appear increasingly pathetic. While those premiers work constructively and co-operatively to reopen their provinces, federal Conservative political priorities are a mixture of coronavirus China-bashing, lazy-worker-alleging and […]

Cheap fill-ups the sign of an ailing Alberta

Apr 23 2020 — Don Martin — The true test of my lingering Alberta DNA is fretting at the lowest gas pump prices in a generation. Those 70-cent litres are the hemorrhaging lifeblood of an Alberta tumbling into an economic abyss. This week, the unfathomable struck as world oil prices crashed below zero on May deliveries that nobody wants delivered because there’s […]

Go-slow Trudeau must win the battle over impatience to reopen

Apr 16 2020 — Don Martin — It took less than 24 hours for Ottawa public health officials to realize they’d gone too far. A senior officer took to the airwaves this week to denounce social-distancing “loopholes,” one being that residents should stop using their driveway to chat with neighbours despite sitting a legislated safe distance away. A day later, the city’s […]

Trudeau didn’t exaggerate. This was a helluva hard day.

Apr 9 2020 — Don Martin — In normal times, amid the usual ebb and flow of bad news, they call it ‘bundling’ or ‘taking out the trash’. When government seeks to blunt a large rollout of negative news, they crunch it all together and shove it out the door as one steaming, smelly pile of …. well … stuff. Communications theory […]

Trust now, but verify later, the claims for emergency government funding

Apr 2 2020 — Don Martin — Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s finest moment came when he publicly name-shamed an upscale grocery store charging $30 for Lysol wipes normally retailing for a fifth of that amount. That was a catalyst to impose hefty fines on pandemic price-gougers, a campaign which instantly boosted his popularity and cost the abruptly-apologetic grocer every last shred of […]

Pandemic divides, from grocery shopping to the border

Mar 26 2020 — Don Martin — Pandemic polarizations are breaking out around the world. We’ll get to the politics of division in a bit, but profound distancing in personal behaviours and attitudes are also taking hold. Consider my residential isolation tank, now shared with a working-from-home spouse holding a higher place in the household hierarchy as sole income-generator.

Justin Trudeau finally grows up

Mar 19 2020 — Don Martin — For years it’s taken considerable self-restraint not to throw my remote at the television screen whenever the prime minister was speaking. Justin Trudeau’s script-written sincerity, delivered in choppy, whispery soundbites with all the critical mass of candy floss, was infuriatingly hard to swallow because there was nothing to digest. Not any more. Justin Trudeau is […]

Canada rolls out the right prescription for fighting COVID-19

Mar 11 2020 — Don Martin — Maybe it’s because the Trump administration’s reaction is such a disturbing spew of crisis-denial, scientific ignorance and pre-election posturing that ANYTHING would look rational by comparison. But listening to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outline Canada’s billion-dollar coronavirus response Wednesday was to hear a welcome mix of economic cushioning and health care intervention delivered in measured […]

Better communication can take the panic out of pandemic

Mar 5 2020 — Don Martin — At the heart of supermarket lineups filled with anxious toilet paper and hand sanitizer hoarders lies a coronavirus communications failure. And to overcome that, the federal government needs to up its game to calm down eye-rolling Canadian over-reactions to COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, back sporting his I’m-really-busy loosened-tie and rolled-up-sleeves look, is dealing with […]

Trash-talking Trump a no-fly-zone for snowbirds in Florida

Feb 27 2020 — Don Martin — Here are the rules for happy Canadian snowbird-roosting in southwest Florida. Do not discuss Donald Trump in public. If you absolutely must vent negative commentary about the U.S. president, make sure you’re talking to fellow Canadians. In restaurants you get shushed by local guests if you raise Trump’s controversial behaviour within earshot of other diners. […]

No magic political wand to wish down the barricades

Feb 20 2020 — Don Martin — A retired General Motors worker from Michigan was doing his running-on-the-spot aquacise routine in a Florida pool the other day, trying to digest our conversation on Canada’s Indigenous rail blockades. But his confusion only grew as I tried to explain the issue of Wet’suwet’en elected chief support clashing with hereditary chief opposition to the Coastal […]