National Newswatch

National compromise on carbon pricing is within reach

Nov 14 2019 — David McLaughlin — A national accommodation on climate change and carbon pricing is staring us in the face. Irony of ironies, it is three western, conservative premiers who are pointing the way forward. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney surprised some by just announcing a policy of regulating industrial carbon emissions, including from the oil and gas sector, that is […]

Conservatives need a new value proposition to present voters

Nov 7 2019 — David McLaughlin — Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has a rough few months ahead of him. Despite an increase in votes and seats, his election performance is being panned by many. He gained votes and seats while losing personal appeal and popularity – a difficult result upon which to base a “trust me” appeal to party members. Whether Scheer […]

Andrew Scheer’s climate opportunity

Apr 1 2019 — David McLaughlin — If the Conservatives want to win the next election, they will need to sway more voters. Presenting a smart climate policy could be the key to victory. The Chinese written character for “crisis” perfectly frames the art of politics. It consists of two characters: danger and opportunity. In politics, danger to your opponent is opportunity […]

How the carbon tax tore a rift in Canadian conservatism

Dec 18 2014 — David McLaughlin — Conservatives in Canada have been much maligned over their environmental policies and positions. Climate change, in particular, has acquired Velcro-like characteristics in fastening itself to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. He cannot detach himself from the charge his government cares little about the issue and does even less.

Do falling oil prices pose a political risk?

Dec 4 2014 — David McLaughlin — The sudden slide in world oil prices may mean economic trouble for Canada. But if you think it guarantees political trouble for the governing federal Conservatives, think again. It has been axiomatic in Canadian politics that economic risk mirrors political risk. Put simply, if the economy’s tanking so too are your political prospects. Prime Minister […]

Politics is the only free market that matters to Harper

Oct 14 2014 — David McLaughlin — There is a scene in a West Wing episode where the campaign manager to fictional president Josiah Bartlett refers to gaining political advantage as akin to removing kelp from a racing sloop. Governments, like boats, accumulate kelp on their hull over time that acts as a drag on its fortunes. Removing one more piece of […]

Harper’s three political options to manage the Duffy affair

Jul 18 2014 — David McLaughlin — The RCMP’s decision to lay 31 criminal charges against Conservative Senator Mike Duffy is an unwelcome intrusion into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s election-year planning. As the clock runs down to the fixed election date of Oct. 19, 2015, the impending trial and testimony threatens to upend the Conservative government’s pre-campaign narrative.

MPs need authority, yes. And clear responsibilities

Dec 9 2013 — David McLaughlin — There is good in Michael Chong’s proposed Reform Act. The very step of introducing it enlivens and enlightens our parliamentary democracy. That it focuses on giving more authority to individual members of Parliament away from party leaders on leadership selection and local nomination contests shows how far Parliament has strayed from its original principles. Unfortunately, […]

Leaden, lofty, larded: a Throne Speech guide

Oct 15 2013 — David McLaughlin — This week, Canada’s most singularly predictable hour of political theatre will arrive: the Harper government’s Speech from the Throne. Predictable because it will be presented by the government as a new chapter, attacked by the opposition as insufficient and old news, and forgotten by the public almost as soon as it is delivered. Leaden in […]

Harper will weigh his cabinet timber carefully

Jul 8 2013 — David McLaughlin — As Prime Minister Stephen Harper contemplates a major cabinet shuffle, he is no doubt reminding himself of what our first prime minister is said to have declaimed: “Give me better timber and I will make you a better cabinet.”