National Newswatch

Scrambling for the Quebec sweet spot in the first campaign debate

Sep 3 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — The recalibrating of expectations around campaign debates born of the Mulroney-versus-Turner bout in 1984 — that a political debate could include an Ali-versus-Liston knockout punch — has its own mythology in Quebec. It was the next day, when then-opposition leader Brian Mulroney arrived in Quebec City to crowds that had suddenly exploded in both volume […]

Policy Q&A: Former Afghan Ambassador to Canada Omar Samad

Aug 17 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — Less than a month before the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 that led to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban have retaken the country amid the stunning collapse of both the Afghan Army and the country’s government. Omar Samad was a senior advisor to former Afghan presidents Hamid Karzai and […]

Campaign 2021: The Political Narrative vs. the Pandemic Narrative

Aug 12 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — It’s always nice to start your election coverage with a cliché; it reassures readers that you’re not some parvenue amateur unfamiliar with all the hoary political truisms that are readily available to them by clicking on other election punditry URLs. It’s like saying hello to an old friend before embarking on an adventure that could […]

Erin O’Toole’s unfathomability problem

Aug 6 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — Of all the ingredients that define electability, competence may be the most obvious and the most fungible. In uncorrupted democracies, voters invest or withhold their confidence based not just on what politicians do but how well they do it. The Political Incompetence Hall of Fame illustration of this truth dates to Sept. 2, 2005, when […]

Jagmeet Singh and the importance of being authentic

Jul 23 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — One factor that must be keeping Justin Trudeau up — on the nights when Erin O’Toole isn’t helping him sleep — is the appeal of the NDP leader. When last we left our federal election-speculation Google alert menu, the original round of soothsaying and odds-making that provided such a dreamy, early-summer beach-blanket bingo diversion from […]

The New Measure of Inequality: Life in a Protection Bubble

Jul 5 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — There have long been different ways of measuring economic inequality, including by income, by consumption and by wealth. The commonly used tool for quantifying national inequality is the Gini coefficient, a statistical measure representing wealth distribution. A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, i.e. everyone in a country has the same income. A Gini […]

Nice Pitch, Putin: If a Guy Tells You Happiness is Just a Mirage, Believe Him the First Time

Jun 20 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — Among the stock headlines that get dusted off for summits, labour negotiations and criminal investigations is the “no breakthrough” headline. In labour negotiations and criminal investigations, the “no breakthrough” headline generally reflects the lack of a breakthrough. In diplomacy, the “no breakthrough” headline drives diplomats to distraction because so much of diplomacy happens between breakthroughs. […]

Netanyahu’s No-State Solution and the Provocations of Peace

May 18 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — In August of 2009, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad began to implement a radical vision for Palestine. It was based on the principle that if Palestinians took ownership of their future, stopped waiting for the next convergence of Knesset kismet and peace-process reanimation, and began behaving as if Palestine were already a de facto state, […]

Netanyahu, Abbas, Abbas and the ‘TikTok Intifada’

May 11 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — As the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history and the man whose siege of the country’s democracy has compelled four elections in two years that have kept him in power and out of jail, Benjamin Netanyahu is an easy culprit to peg for the current escalation of Middle East violence. As it happens, Netanyahu’s role […]

The Appreciated Decency of Jimmy Carter

May 5 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — The irony of this week’s viral meme — part optical illusion, part age-related shrinkage — of a tiny Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter being visited by two jumbo Bidens is that lately, Carter’s figurative post-presidential stature has grown considerably. The classic one-term rub that Carter’s was a “failed presidency” has recently been — like the legacy […]

Joe Biden Reclaims America’s Democracy Narrative

Apr 29 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — After 36 years as a US Senator from Delaware, eight years as vice president, four years as yet another aghast private citizen and 99 days as president of the United States, Joe Biden attended his first presidential address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night as the guy making the speech. Not in the […]

Prince Philip’s Farewell

Apr 17 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — It was one of those sun-blasted British days that invariably remind you of how one day like this in England can make up for 100 rain-soaked ones. The funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday at Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel, carried both emotional poignancy and disproportionate symbolism as a nexus of some […]

‘One Phone Call’? Who’ll Stop Myanmar’s Democide?

Apr 8 2021 — Lisa Van Dusen — In an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson on Wednesday, Salai Maung Taing San (known as Dr. Sasa), the United Nations special envoy of the democratically elected, violently deposed government of Myanmar, responded to the crucial question of what neighbouring China and its anti-democracy sidekick, Russia, could do to stop the rampage of post-coup terrorism being […]