National Newswatch

Airlines can’t defy the gravity of this pandemic without a government lift

Oct 23 2020 — Don Martin — Long before takeoff you see and feel the airline-jolting turbulence kicked up by COVID-19. Flying into the second wave is an eerie and unsustainable combination of dreamy passenger conditions inside a daily nightmare for airlines now turning to the federal government for financial lift. Take my flight to Nanaimo this week, a trip greeted with […]

Surprise! Trudeau, even more than Harper, is the master of parliamentary manipulation

Oct 21 2020 — Don Martin — There was always a faint ray of hope that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would actually live up to his promise to do politics differently after the soul-wearying years under control freak Stephen Harper. Cross-party co-operation, transparency, respect for Parliament, MP empowerment and merit-based, non-partisan appointments all headlined the Trudeau kumbaya playbook. But it’s been five […]

Resistance grows against lockdowns driven without data

Oct 15 2020 — Don Martin — The mild-mannered city council in Ottawa is not the sort of confrontational group to lead the resistance against heavy-handed provincial authority. But after Premier Doug Ford shut down indoor restaurants, gyms, sports and theatre venues as coronavirus feeding centres in the red-zoned national capital region, Ottawa councillors retorted with a unanimous challenge on Wednesday: Prove […]

Response to second COVID-19 wave puts the ‘mess’ into messaging

Oct 6 2020 — Don Martin — It’s scary enough out there without misinformation, conflicting advice, changing directions and policy disagreements muddying the waters in the returning wave of COVID-19. And we’re not even talking about U.S. President Donald Trump’s don’t-fear-the-COVID misinformation assault on America. Canada has become a land of considerable coronavirus confusion as overlapping political and public health jurisdictions speak […]

Building back better on the snoozy side of the border

Sep 30 2020 — Don Martin — There’s a cure for Americans reeling from that brass-knuckled presidential slugfest, despairing over U.S. politics as a giant black hole from which intellectual light cannot escape. For comic relief, look north. To switch channels from the presidential debate on Tuesday night to the House of Commons feed was to flip between Game of Thrones and […]

The prime minister talks turkey in a political address to the nation

Sep 23 2020 — Don Martin — What. Was. THAT?? A prime minister calling for time across Canadian airwaves is a BIG DEAL and thus very rarely done. It’s not allowed to be political posturing. It’s supposed to be a five-alarm siren on a matter of national significance from a prime minister who believes urgent information must be fed directly into Canadian […]

Is Justin Trudeau already checking out?

Sep 17 2020 — Don Martin — Watching the deputy prime minister bask in the glow of this week’s American surrender on aluminum tariffs, presumably retreating under threat of Canadian retaliation, raises an interesting question: Has Justin Trudeau already checked out? Why the prime minister would not personally seize the spotlight to claim this rarest of political victories makes you wonder if […]

Bubbles collide in the classroom as the most daring educational experiment of our time begins

Sep 9 2020 — Don Martin — No four-year-old should start kindergarten like this: Her beaming smile masked and surrounded by edgy parents in marked off sections of the school yard before entering a staggered-start classroom of just six students to better test physical distancing procedures. I joined my granddaughter Ali’s walk to school with her parents and older brothers today to […]

Decapitating Macdonald’s statue a wrong-headed take on history

Sep 2 2020 — Don Martin — It takes determination to find Sir John A. Macdonald’s final resting place in Kingston, Ontario. There’s a small sign just off Highway 401, but there are no pointers to the gravesite once you enter the sprawling Cataraqui Cemetery. It’s suddenly just there off to the side of a dirt roadway; the unassuming grave of Canada’s […]

With so much Liberal help, the Conservative leadership suddenly matters

Aug 6 2020 — Don Martin — There’s a very faint pulse to the Conservative leadership race, which will be decided in just over two weeks. And yet, these are heady days for an Official Opposition watching a Liberal government trying its best to hand them the next election. By any realistic political calculation, the Conservatives should be sleepwalking with terminal dread […]

In a strange twist, Trudeau ignores his own red flags on the WE scandal

Jul 30 2020 — Don Martin — Clearly, we’ve had this WE scandal all wrong. Justin Trudeau, we were told Thursday by the prime minister himself, was a skeptic, not a conflicted advocate, for WE Charity being the key delivery vehicle for a $912-million student volunteer program. News the Kielburger brothers were the only organization capable of launching the handout program was […]

A report card on leadership in a time when leadership is needed the most

Jun 29 2020 — Don Martin — In normal times, a summer-starting report card on federal and select provincial leaders would grade their fiscal, environmental, economic and political performances. But with this 2020 hindsight, the first half of this year from hell’s assessment is severely abnormal, warped by pandemic aftershocks, anti-racism protests, Indigenous blockades and the deadliest mass murder in Canadian history. […]

After Trudeau’s toughest talk, the Canada-China meltdown goes radioactive

Jun 25 2020 — Don Martin — He’s rarely, if ever, been this forceful on a foreign file. Somehow overnight Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to give up on China, endure the diplomatic deep freeze and face the inevitable economic backlash by soundly rejecting the Meng-for-Michaels proposal. Gone were the usual ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ he mutters while trying to remember talking points.