National Newswatch

The Senate of Canada is up on its hind legs. Will it bite?

Nov 28 2018 — David Moscrop — Independent senators now make up the majority in a newly relevant upper chamber—and, yes, they have the power to kill bills. Talk about reforming the Senate, the den of what our first Prime Minister called “sober second thought,” even if that wasn’t a capacity he himself had, is as old as the body itself. Throughout […]

Canada’s Conservatives are having a mini-meltdown

Aug 18 2018 — David Moscrop — Tracking the recent antics of members of the Conservative Party of Canada, you’d be forgiven for thinking that someone had spiked the water in their caucus. And not with the sort of substance that changes who you are but the sort that amplifies who you are — the sort that makes you more of yourself. […]

Fighting populism by understanding perceptions

Jan 11 2017 — David Moscrop — A surge of populism has swept up global politics, but populism isn’t a new phenomenon. Not even close. During antiquity, the Greeks worried about it, and the Romans had to deal with populist revolts more than once. So, while the political parties and movements that characterize themselves as “for the people” and “against the elites” […]

The report is in, let’s have the electoral reform referendum

Dec 1 2016 — David Moscrop — The federal government’s Special Committee on Electoral Reform has recommended a referendum on changing Canada’s voting system. The ballot, they suggest, should ask voters to choose between a government-designed proportional representation option and our current system — first-past-the-post. The Liberal members of the committee have dissented — saying that the recommendations from the majority report […]

When “following the rules” is not enough

Sep 22 2016 — David Moscrop — The spending controversy in Ottawa demonstrates that rules are less important than the public’s perception of what is right, reasonable, and fair. When news broke that two senior PMO staffers billed the government for more than $200,000 in moving expenses, the immediate reaction was rage and indignation. It mattered little that it appears that the […]

Long tenures for prime ministers are nothing to cheer

Dec 22 2014 — David Moscrop — Nobody likes a guest who overstays his or her welcome. And shame on the ones who do. But what about those we keep inviting back? Well, then it’s shame on us. In November, Stephen Harper became the sixth longest serving head of government in Canadian history, edging out Brian Mulroney. If Harper wins the next […]

Rethinking Canadian history

Jan 27 2014 — David Moscrop — In the winter dark of Christmas night, 1776, patriot general George Washington slipped across the Delaware River with 5,400 troops in a surprise attack on Hessian soldiers in Trenton, N.J. Some 88 years later, Sir John A. Macdonald floated down the St. Lawrence on a 190-tonne steamship loaded with enough champagne to drown Charlottetown. Each […]

Accountability, wisdom lost in cabinet shuffle

Jul 10 2013 — David Moscrop — It shouldn’t surprise anyone that federal cabinet shuffles generate a lot of attention. The speculation over who’s in and who’s out, the mysterious workings of backroom politics, the superb onomatopoeia of the word shuffle: all grist for a very distracted and bored mill.