National Newswatch

How effective are federal minority governments?

Oct 8 2019 — Geoff Norquay — A look at Canada’s seven minority governments over six decades shows a broad range of results that were not always so obvious at the time. With the two leading contenders locked in a virtual tie and “fighting to the death within the margin of error,” as one observer recently put it, a minority government after […]

Why tax reform is nearly always dangerous

Nov 17 2017 — Geoff Norquay — Tax reform is risky for any Canadian government.  When it targets personal or business income tax deductions, it can become downright dangerous. The reason tax reform is so hard is pretty simple. Successive governments tinker with the tax system. Bit by bit, they add specific deductions, write-offs, credits and deferrals, mostly for justifiable public policy […]

Why Harper could have won — and how he blew it

Oct 30 2015 — Geoff Norquay — Creating the ballot question is the most important task a party leader has in a national election. The ballot question is each party leader’s key differentiator from the competition — the strategic phrase that summarizes the “big issue” of the election and frames the choice to be made by voters.

Building a nation on permafrost

Jun 30 2014 — Geoff Norquay — John Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper are united by more than party and political dominance in their respective eras. For all three, northern Canada held a special place in the national policy agenda; each prime minister had his personal vision of the North, and each took significant steps to advance the economic and constitutional […]

Snake-checks and sexy acronyms: How to write a throne speech

Oct 1 2013 — Geoff Norquay — The Government of Canada Challenger jet soared over northwestern Ontario. There were only two passengers — Brian Mulroney and me. It was the fall of 1986 and the prime minister was on his way to Saskatchewan to meet with Premier Grant Devine to discuss some difficult agricultural issues. I was on the flight as one […]