National Newswatch

Boris Johnson, Cautionary Tale for Faustian Bargainers

Jul 7 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — For those of us who’ve lived with Boris Johnson not as a political actor impacting our daily quality of life but as one providing a perpetual stream of spit-take fodder and armchair editing fuel, Thursday’s developments were bittersweet. “In the last few days, I’ve tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to […]

SCOTUS v. America and the Lure of the Counterfactual

Jun 25 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — Within the dystopian melodrama of the Supreme Court of the United States v. America, in the specific case of Friday’s previously telegraphed ruling on abortion rights, there has a been a secondary narrative emerging. The hashtag for that knock-on narrative is #Elections Matter, meaning that, if American voters had elected Hillary Clinton in 2016, this […]

Not Your Mother’s Midterms

Jun 21 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — First, the conventional wisdom on midterm elections. Traditionally, midterm or off-year elections in the United States — in which the 435 seats in the House of Representatives contested every two years and a portion of the 100 Senate seats contested every six years are up for grabs — almost always register a loss for the […]

Less a Leadership Race Than an Identity Crisis in Progress

May 26 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — The Conservative Party of Canada leadership race is adhering to the Newtonian laws of political physics in ways the last federal election campaign did not. The 2021 election campaign can be recalled as the trajectory of Justin Trudeau as he justified the campaign while attempting to remain in motion while fending off the chaos of […]

Chaos Fatigue and the End of the Taliban Honeymoon: Policy Q&A with Former Afghan Ambassador to Canada Omar Samad

May 13 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — Nine months into the Taliban re-taking of Afghanistan and US withdrawal 20 years after 9/11, the country is internally riven, regressing on human rights and shifting to China’s authoritarian sphere of influence. Omar Samad was a senior advisor to former Afghan presidents Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah and served as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada from […]

Bigger than Our Bodies: America’s New Abortion Fight Isn’t Only About Abortion Rights

May 3 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — The bad news for Americans and citizens everywhere who believe in reproductive and privacy rights is that anyone who presumed Donald Trump’s Supreme Court-packing mission as an anti-democracy president included the nomination of justices essentially acting as sleeper agents who would lie about their positions on Roe vs. Wade during their Senate confirmation hearings and […]

The China-Russia Tag Team of Turmoil

Apr 5 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — When Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin declared their mutual admiration in a bilateral rendezvous hours before the Beijing Olympics opened February 4th, you might have been forgiven for processing the symbolism of that photo-op as that of equal partners conflating their dystopian brands for exponential impact. In fact, the relationship between the Chinese president and […]

The Power of Convening, the Future of GAC and ‘Anyone for an Oligarch’s Yacht?’: A Policy Q&A with Sen. Peter Boehm

Mar 31 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — Amid the urgent foreign policy challenges of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, Policy Associate Editor Lisa Van Dusen checked in with Senator Peter Boehm, chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (AEFA), on Canada’s role in resolving the crisis, the AEFA’s upcoming business — including the repurposing of seized Russian […]

Vladimir Putin’s Tactical Slaughter

Mar 18 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the annals of actors-turned-politicians, no transfer of skills from one stage to the other has ever been more compelling than that of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The former comedian and star of the predictive comedy series Servant of the People (now back on Netflix in both Canada and the US) — in which Zelenskiy […]

Le Revenant: The Conservative Reincarnation of Jean Charest

Mar 11 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — The first time I met Jean Charest was one of those fleeting encounters that happen all day, every day in politics. I was a 22-year-old kid, escorting a Quebec cabinet minister on a visit to Charest’s riding, and as the local MP, Charest met the minister’s Challenger at Sherbrooke airport. In an indelible snapshot of […]

From Russia with Terror: Vladimir Putin, Dystopian Honeytrap

Mar 6 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the culture of intelligence operations, a honeytrap is a stratagem designed to lure a target into a compromising or incriminating narrative that appears self-sabotaging but is in fact unscrupulously engineered from beginning to end to secure a preordained outcome. Our popular notion of a honeytrap comes from the old-school, fictionalized version that James Bond […]

As Putin Punches Down, Ukrainians Punch Above Their Weight

Mar 3 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — In his speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, 2017, three days before Donald Trump’s inauguration as America’s first authoritarian president, Xi Jinping presented himself as a calm, free-trading, globalization-friendly alternative to the chaos actor about to fill the other half of the superpower split-screen. The democracy degrading one-two punch of Trump […]

Beyond Ukraine: A League of Lunacy Checklist

Feb 22 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — In the evolving spectacle of Vladimir Putin’s creeping assault on Ukraine, there are a number takeaways at stake for the aspiring new world order — or, to update the “Axis of Evil” tagline that seemed hyperbolic in 2002 but now evokes a “those were the days” wistfulness — the League of Lunacy on whose behalf […]

Character as Leadership: 70 Years of Elizabeth II

Feb 6 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — We live in a moment defined by “moments”. This moment in time, this hinge of history as the crisis stage of the post-connectivity revolution is so made up of instantly shared, viral moments that the overinflated value of “moments” as narrative catalysts has created a parallel reality populated by propaganda actors seemingly bent on revenge […]

A Mulroney Lesson for Post-O’Toole Tories: Amazing what Electability Can do for Party Unity

Feb 2 2022 — Lisa Van Dusen — Among the most pertinent lessons today’s federal Conservative Party can absorb from the tenure of Brian Mulroney as Progressive Conservative leader and prime minister is this: You’d be amazed at what electability can do for party unity. This lesson is far simpler in theory than it is in practice, especially for the Conservatives. Electability for […]