National Newswatch

Political correctness behind Sir John A. pub name change

Jan 11 2018 — Don Martin — The Maple Leaf flapped over Highclere Castle today, home of the famous Downton Abbey television series. It was to celebrate Sir John A. Macdonald’s 203rd birthday and to acknowledge he worked there while drafting the British North America Act. But there’s another flap very close to home for Canada’s first prime minister, which foreshadows his […]

Trudeau showed questionable judgement in meeting with Boyle

Jan 4 2018 — Don Martin — Every day like clockwork, even when he’s on vacation, the Prime Minister’s Office kicks out Justin Trudeau’s itinerary. But back on December 18, the itinerary listed Trudeau’s attendance at the new chief justice’s swearing-in ceremony and a chat with Quebec civic politicians, but nothing about meeting with freed hostage Joshua Boyle and his family, whose […]

Don Martin’s political predictions for 2018

Dec 22 2017 — Don Martin — Predicting the future of Canadian politics is a dark and murky art. But after consulting insiders and veteran observers, I’m going to try a glimpse the year ahead and hope my mostly-wrong 2017 predictions were a particularly miserable anomaly. For starters, it’s pretty clear NAFTA will be axed in late spring with President Donald Trump […]

Surely Kent Hehr has talked himself out of cabinet

Dec 7 2017 — Don Martin — So three days after and Kent Hehr is still in cabinet. That would be three days after the disabled minister of disabilities shrugged off victims with disabilities using some the coldest, crassest and frankly craziest language I’ve ever heard a politician utter. To the survivors of Thalidomide, who looked to him for compassionate understanding, Hehr […]

Bill Morneau’s political fate in Mary Dawson’s hands

Nov 30 2017 — Don Martin — If you passed her on the street, you’d be reminded of a Mrs. Doubtfire or a friendly visitor to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. But if those gentle bespectacled eyes narrow and that unassuming tone turns inquisitional, the most powerful politicians in the land ought to be wary of Mary Dawson. As of now, the seemingly irreplaceable […]

Trudeau government needs to start sweating the small stuff

Nov 2 2017 — Don Martin — This government is too young to act so old. It usually takes a full term or two for a government to achieve a level of sufficiently arrogant entitlement to boldly spew patronage, wildly squander money or rule by secretive decree – and it usually hits just before voters throw the bums out. But there are […]

Fixing Phoenix may be all but impossible

Oct 26 2017 — Don Martin — It always seemed so inside baseball, a big problem for the public service but not a pressing concern in the real world. Tens of thousands of federal employees, many of them young people living hand to mouth, weren’t being paid the right amount at the right time. For the majority of Canadians slogging along in […]

Despite damage control, Morneau’s reputation has taken a hit

Oct 19 2017 — Don Martin — When crisis communicators of the future need an example of a reputation-shredding failure to enact timely damage control, they will point to the Bill Morneau debacle. It took four days for the finance minister to act on the obvious – he was, at very least, distracted by a perceived conflict of interest by controlling a […]

Time for Trudeau to quit the Harper blame game

Oct 5 2017 — Don Martin — There’s a statute of limitations on political blame – and the time’s up for this Liberal government. Two years ago this month, Justin Trudeau won a majority government. This anniversary is a line of demarcation between blaming the previous government for all its current problems and shouldering responsibility for those it has failed to fix.

Morneau might be a one-term political wonder

Sep 28 2017 — Don Martin — Staff confide Bill Morneau avoids the obligatory MP glad-handing in his Toronto riding. Maybe it’s understandable. This extremely wealthy businessman didn’t enter politics to deliver small talk in church basement dinners. But the Finance Minister’s apathetic attention to his Toronto Centre turf is noticeable enough for inside whispers to suggest he might not seek re-election […]

Stephen Harper’s political children poised for provincial takeovers

Sep 22 2017 — Don Martin — Here’s some interesting political trivia: No provincial premier has ever become prime minister of Canada. That’s what makes the phenomenon of Stephen Harper’s political children so bizarre. While even the best premiers have declined or failed in a bid move up the political pyramid to 24 Sussex Drive, federal Conservative backbenchers are lining up to […]