National Newswatch

Craig Oliver turns 80 — credibility spanning decades

Nov 8 2018 — Don Martin — Craig Oliver is usually among the first to show up in the Ottawa bureau in the morning. Legally blind for decades, CTV’s political commentator straps on headphones to get an audio rundown of the day’s top stories while peering into his heavily magnified computer screen to scan the news feed. An hour later, Craig will […]

Trust me, there’s no pardon on pot in American eyes

Oct 18 2018 — Don Martin — Amid euphoric media coverage of the first Canadian to buy legal pot, the more interesting and ignored angle would be the last person charged with possession of cannabis in this country. It was probably some lippy kid living on a city street who was busted in tandem with another minor offence. But the record for […]

Michaelle Jean has lost the aura of someone worth defending

Oct 11 2018 — Don Martin — She was a breath of fresh air into a stale job. Incredibly bright and charismatic with an instant connection to average Canadians, Michaelle Jean checked every box on a list to shake up the staid image of a Canadian Governor General. Her vice-regal performance, despite a few hiccups, lived up to the hype – particularly […]

Canada at risk of becoming garbage pickers of defence procurement

Sep 27 2018 — Don Martin — You see them driving up and down streets in beat-up pickups on garbage day, rummaging along the curb for items with flea market sales potential. With reports of Canada negotiating for a used surveillance drone, one stripped of its hi-tech navigating equipment and considered scrap-worthy by German defense officials, we are at risk of becoming […]

Jagmeet Singh’s Burnaby byelection run takes more guts than brains

Sep 14 2018 — Don Martin — Even among the truest believers in the NDP, doubts are growing about their rookie leader. They say Jagmeet Singh lacks communications skills beyond photo-ops, stands for everything left and nothing definitive at the same time and rarely projects the aura of being in command of his caucus. Meanwhile, the NDP is polling near electoral road-kill […]

Real or hypothetical, Alberta separation angst bound to grow

Sep 6 2018 — Don Martin — Alberta separation talk is not intended as a threat. Yet. It’s the sort of grumble which rumbles when Albertans feel they’re undervalued as a mere gas tank for Canada’s economic engine. But the man who wants to be Alberta premier if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion stays above ground told Power Play that the volume […]

Mad Max’s backstabbing exit could unify Tories

Aug 23 2018 — Don Martin — Far from handing the Liberals the next election, Mad Max could trigger the Belinda Effect. Maxime Bernier’s backstabbing exit has the potential to unify the Conservatives in the same way that party’s runner-up leadership candidate Belinda Stronach’s defection to the Liberals in 2005, after insisting Stephen Harper was too extreme, energized a demoralized caucus. The […]

Why bigger isn’t always better in building a new cabinet

Jul 18 2018 — Don Martin — It’s bigger, but that’s not to say it is any better. Boosted by five new ministers—who in turn will be bolstered by plenty of support staff and the costly perks of executive office—the Trudeau election-ready cabinet is bordering on bloated with overlaps and carved-out creations aimed at tackling nagging problems. Yet there’s never been proof […]

MPs mulling their political best-before dates

Jul 12 2018 — Don Martin — It’s that time of the pre-election cycle when MPs ponder their private lives and then take the pulse of their ridings to gauge the odds of being rewarded with re-election or facing the risk of a voter pink slip. A dozen MPs are on the way out so far, but more are expected to engage […]

As a boycott, U.S. ambassador’s July 4th party was a bust

Jul 5 2018 — Don Martin — As a boycott, it was a bust. While the U.S. ambassador’s July 4th bash – usually a social highlight of the summer in Ottawa – was undeniably smaller than the 4,000 overcapacity crowd of recent years, so was the invitation list of roughly 1,000 names, embassy officials say. And if there’s flared-up tension with the […]