National Newswatch

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 […]

Liberals smart to push ahead with closing the tax loopholes

Sep 14 2017 — Don Martin — It’s time for the T4 taxpayers of the nation to rise up. With professionals rolling out sob stories of proposed changes cramping their ability to hide taxes through incorporation, the most influential group remains silent on the sidelines. I’m referring to the vast majority of us: Millions of Canadians trapped by a single T4 remuneration […]

Canada’s 150th birthday is a weekend for celebration

Jul 1 2017 — Don Martin — If there’s a signature Canadian character trait, it’s saying sorry all the time. We are a nation of apologists, be it just bumping into a stranger on the elevator to groveling forgiveness for scandals dating back generations. Even on the eve of our 150th birthday, some feel guilty at marking Canada’s official birth when our […]

Appointments paralysis shows internal dysfunction

Jun 15 2017 — Don Martin — A former prime minister’s wife once told me that the most irritating part of her unofficial role was to fend off government job-seekers. Everywhere she went, people lobbied her for appointments to the Senate, powerful public service positions or lucrative agency gigs, as if prime ministerial pillow talk gave them preferential access to platinum-level employment. […]