National Newswatch

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 […]

Five ways the political landscape shifted this season

Jun 29 2018 — Don Martin — After 195 shows covering 118 sitting days in the House of Commons, raging trade wars, travel controversies, ethical investigations and a lot of Donald Trump huffing and puffing, Power Play rests until September starting today. It’s been a season of seismic shifts on multiple political landscapes the summer starts with Justin Trudeau’s honeymoon ending in […]

Time for Trudeau to take aim at Trump’s base

Jun 14 2018 — Don Martin — The kneejerk Canadian reaction to this week’s presidential provocations is to hate America. Boycott everything made-in-the-USA. Vacation north of the border this summer. Or, if you’re the spouse of a senior Liberal cabinet minister, jokingly advocate we invade. No. Stop. Please.

Trudeau gambles against his partisan self-interest

May 31 2018 — Don Martin — I knew Peter Lougheed, having covered him as a much younger journalist. Justin Trudeau is no Peter Lougheed. Yet the prime minister invoked the iconic Alberta premier’s memory four times in one Question Period this week to justify his $4.5 billion Trans Mountain pipeline nationalization.

Slow and steady Scheer starting to win the race

May 24 2018 — Don Martin — It didn’t seem a fair fight at first, a boy-faced Saskatchewan career politician who is the son of a librarian up against the rainbow knight astride his silver unicorn and shielded by a prime ministerial family pedigree. But after a year of Andrew Scheer, the rookie Conservative leader has not been jousted into the realm […]

On Kenney’s Trudeau attack, stupid is as stupid does

May 17 2018 — Don Martin — Seemingly without provocation this week, the Official Opposition Leader in Alberta decided to blast the prime minister as stupid. Jason Kenney seems to be very proud of his hyper derision in the Calgary Sun, refusing to recant after belittling Justin Trudeau as “empty” and having “the political depth of a finger bowl” incapable of digesting […]

Trudeau apology tour dilutes the value of saying sorry

May 10 2018 — Don Martin — Saying sorry is the hardest word for politicians. It’s either viewed an admission of wrongdoing or a show of weakness. But Justin Trudeau has taken aim at becoming the greatest apologist in our history. In fact, the prime minister is apologizing for most of our history as regrets roll out, some for actions predating the […]