National Newswatch

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.

The debate’s over. MacKay’s moment to lead has arrived

Jun 19 2020 — Don Martin — OK, he’s ready. Finally. Peter MacKay has been itching to lead the Conservative party since he co-founded it with Stephen Harper 17 years ago. After last night’s one-and-only English leadership debate, it’s clear that, while MacKay might not ooze royal jelly, he’s the only decent shot the Conservatives have left to dethrone Justin Trudeau in […]

Trudeau is the pandemic polar opposite of Donald Trump

May 21 2020 — Don Martin — When it comes to pandoptics, in real words being displays of shared symbolic pain during this COVID-19 crisis, Justin Trudeau is without equal in Canadian and perhaps global politics. The prime minister has excelled at taking steps to showcase his life in a pandemic as being just like the rest of us mere voting mortals. […]

Sealing off provinces from each other borders on pandemic paranoia

May 13 2020 — Don Martin — There’s something rather big being overlooked in the move to reopen Canada. Specifically, four provinces. While the European Union is set to reopen most of its borders next month and Americans remain free to drive across state lines, Canadians will likely confront a “closed for the summer” sign on Atlantic Canada.

Conservatives down to Scheer follies and hopeless hopefuls

May 5 2020 — Don Martin — Consider the unfathomable: We’re now in a country where Conservatives like premiers Doug Ford, Scott Moe and Brian Pallister look statesman-like while the federal lame-duck leader and his wannabes appear increasingly pathetic. While those premiers work constructively and co-operatively to reopen their provinces, federal Conservative political priorities are a mixture of coronavirus China-bashing, lazy-worker-alleging and […]

Cheap fill-ups the sign of an ailing Alberta

Apr 23 2020 — Don Martin — The true test of my lingering Alberta DNA is fretting at the lowest gas pump prices in a generation. Those 70-cent litres are the hemorrhaging lifeblood of an Alberta tumbling into an economic abyss. This week, the unfathomable struck as world oil prices crashed below zero on May deliveries that nobody wants delivered because there’s […]

Go-slow Trudeau must win the battle over impatience to reopen

Apr 16 2020 — Don Martin — It took less than 24 hours for Ottawa public health officials to realize they’d gone too far. A senior officer took to the airwaves this week to denounce social-distancing “loopholes,” one being that residents should stop using their driveway to chat with neighbours despite sitting a legislated safe distance away. A day later, the city’s […]

Trudeau didn’t exaggerate. This was a helluva hard day.

Apr 9 2020 — Don Martin — In normal times, amid the usual ebb and flow of bad news, they call it ‘bundling’ or ‘taking out the trash’. When government seeks to blunt a large rollout of negative news, they crunch it all together and shove it out the door as one steaming, smelly pile of …. well … stuff. Communications theory […]