National Newswatch

Hillier’s can’t-fail vaccine mission finally armed for battle

Jan 13 2021 — Don Martin — The retired top general of Canada’s military, who guided the combat mission in Afghanistan and ran disaster deployments against floods and fires, now faces the most important mission of his career: getting almost 15 million Ontarians vaccinated against COVID-19 in 250 days or less. His first shots in confronting an enemy that never appeared in […]

Elections, vaccinations and other happier political predictions for 2021

Dec 30 2020 — Don Martin — It’s that time of the year when crystal balls are dusted off to try to decipher what future shocks will rattle the political landscape. Given that nobody in 2019 predicted the Canadian arrival of COVID-19 and the pandemic’s catastrophic damage to the economy, our health-care system or general socialization habits, it’s safe to classify these […]

The faces of the future in Canadian politics

Dec 24 2020 — Don Martin — Let’s call them the Super Six, a half dozen names who, based on solid, stable and surprising performances this year, will likely become or remain powerhouses of the realm in the years ahead. In a year spent fighting an invisible enemy with plenty of sudden change in political fortunes, they all seem well-positioned to be […]

Why Justin Trudeau is my (reluctant) pick for politician of the year

Dec 17 2020 — Don Martin — If you rule out a microscopic organism, specifically that spiked ball of viral misery called COVID-19, picking the top Canadian newsmaker in 2020 is a helluva tough call. The logical nominees include any ICU doctor or nurse, the underpaid workers helping long-term care residents deal with the agony of isolation or one of those superior […]

Like the lockdown? Sleep better on a ventilator? Then refuse the vaccine.

Dec 10 2020 — Don Martin — Having botched any pretense of containing the second COVID-19 wave with an effective blitz of testing, tracing and infection isolation, Canadian politicians are being given a shot at redemption. The smiling-face story of this terribly-sad year is the arrival of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which should be rolling out toward rolled-up sleeves across Canada in limited […]

Fiscal update shows the Great Reset, like spring and an election, is coming

Nov 30 2020 — Don Martin — It was never mentioned by name, but there was a blurry paint-by-numbers portrait of Justin Trudeau’s so-called Great Reset in Monday’s fiscal update. Amid the dizzying lineup of 12-digit figures financing the government’s pandemic response were the monetary makings for whatever the prime minister has in mind to revamp Canadian society once the pandemic passes.

It’s Ford versus Kenney in a race for the best pandemic playbook

Nov 25 2020 — Don Martin — During a pandemic, all politics is optics. That’s why Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is being slammed as late to the lockdown game, even though his COVID-19 restrictions make sense as tough measures targeted on infection causes. That’s why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is polling in the stratosphere for delivering a daily dose of sincere communications, […]

The second lockdown cometh, but Canadians may resist house arrest

Nov 19 2020 — Don Martin — Here we go again as a lockdown and tight restrictions aimed at fighting COVID-19 roll out across a besieged country. Ontario is set to fire the lockdown gun in and around Toronto on Friday. That plus a “hard stop” to social events in Alberta, tough stay-at-home orders in Manitoba, new restrictions on Saskatchewan households, a […]

For the Canadian mouse, relief in having a next-door American elephant who won’t rampage without a reason

Nov 7 2020 — Don Martin — P.R.E.S.I.D.E.N.T. B.I.D.E.N: That’s how you spell relief to most Canadians as adult supervision seems set to return to the White House. This will end four years of tiptoeing through a diplomatic minefield, where every utterance by our political leaders risked unleashing volcanic fury on U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed and retaliation within his administration. […]

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 […]