National Newswatch

Last words from Parliament’s nearly departed

Jun 6 2019 — Don Martin — Amid the frantic push to complete the government agenda, forcing increasingly-cranky MPs to sit past midnight many nights, some of the better speeches are being delivered in the House of Commons. They’re coming from the MPs saying farewell to politics, either because they’re sick of the place, fed up with the toxicity of the job […]

Gen. Vance’s leadership is no longer worth saluting

May 23 2019 — Don Martin — It’s easy to kneejerk a demand for the prime minister to resign, as the Conservatives do on the flimsiest of pretexts. It requires a lot more evidence to hoist a question mark over the leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces. But beyond Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance’s rushed judge and jury execution of Vice-Admiral […]

It’s a charade, but question period is the only answer

May 16 2019 — Don Martin — Today was the 13th question period in the House of Commons this month. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has attended just three of them, only one being on a Wednesday when he dances around every opposition query. Mind you, Official Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer hasn’t exactly earned a gold star for House attendance. He’s only made […]

The fall guy could be the general who suspended Mark Norman

May 9 2019 — Don Martin — The vindication of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman comes with a potential casualty. Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance comes out of this mess set up to be a fall guy. It was Vance, acting on the faintest shadow of suspicion, who quickly threw Norman under the proverbial LAV. It was Vance who publicly declared that he […]

Big stink forces Trudeau to take out the trash

Apr 25 2019 — Don Martin — It’s been a dozen years since I was assigned to follow garbage trucks down the 401 and across the U.S. border to watch them dump Toronto waste into Michigan landfills. To furious residents posting protest signs along the quiet streets rattled by thousands of our trucks every year, we were reprehensible Canadian trash. Their understandable […]

Loblaws refrigerators the wrong place to shop for votes

Apr 11 2019 — Don Martin — Overlooking a Loblaws Superstore in Ottawa this week, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna seemed blissfully unaware she was hosting a communications disaster. She was in happy handout mode, shelling out a $12-million subsidy to induce the extremely profitable supermarket giant to spend $36 million of its own money on carbon-cutting refrigeration upgrades. An equally oblivious pair […]

Without a rebrand, the SNC smell will stick to the Liberals

Apr 4 2019 — Don Martin — And so, undoubtedly to the relief of a scandal-fatigued public outside of the parliamentary bubble, the SNC-Lavalin saga approaches the end of its two-month, non-stop news cycle. With the leaks, hearings, firings, aftershock scrums, more leaks and the reflective thoughts of the ousted now complete, the revelations and reverberations are largely a spent force. Unless […]

The Liberal caucus isn’t worthy of Jane Philpott

Mar 21 2019 — Don Martin — To know Jane Philpott is to understand the devastating impact her condemnation of the government’s SNC-Lavalin behavior registers on the prime minister and his foot soldiers. This medical doctor turned Liberal rookie MP is not a coattail-clinging, talking-point-reciting lightweight in the caucus. She was extremely popular and has consistently displayed lofty principle and public service […]

It’s about time, not truth, in justice committee showdown

Mar 14 2019 — Don Martin — It’s no longer about the truth, if it ever was. It’s about ameliorating or amplifying the consequences of a political poop that defies polishing. The crystallization of that reality came Wednesday at an emergency justice committee meeting. MPs were supposed to deal with former attorney general Jody Wilson Raybould’s willingness to re-appear and continue tormenting […]

SNC-Lavalin proves it’s still who you know in the PMO

Mar 7 2019 — Don Martin — The entire SNC-Lavalin mess, according to former Trudeau top aide Gerry Butts, was just the normal operations of government. If so, one image sticks in the mind from this week’s testimony to the justice committee. While attending a gala last October, Justin Trudeau’s powerful deputy minister took a phone call to his unlisted number.

Here’s an inconvenient truth, Trudeau’s brand is broken

Feb 28 2019 — Don Martin — So we now have two different truths on the SNC-Lavalin scandal — one altruistic, one inconvenient. The heroic version, rolled out by the prime minister and parroted by his ministers, is that political interference was all about saving jobs at the Montreal engineering giant. If spared a criminal conviction through a deferred prosecution deal, SNC-Lavalin […]