National Newswatch

Short, 3-way race is far from bad news for Ontario PCs

Feb 7 2018 — L. Ian MacDonald — There’s never been a shorter race than the six-week campaign for the Progressive Conservative leadership of Ontario. It means three things are incredibly important in setting up competitive advantage —name recognition, an “air game” in mainstream and social media, and enough money to get into and stay in the race. All of which lead to […]

A choice of poison pills: NAFTA in 2018

Jan 2 2018 — L. Ian MacDonald — In an impromptu half-hour interview with the New York Times at his West Palm Beach golf club last Thursday, Donald Trump was not asked about the NAFTA renegotiation. So he brought it up himself. “I’m the big trade guy. I got elected to a certain extent on trade,” he said. “You see, I’m renegotiating NAFTA, […]

Trump just narrowed Trudeau’s fiscal options

Dec 26 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — The Liberals have begun a new holiday tradition. For the last two years, just days before Christmas, the Finance Department has put out a long-term fiscal forecast at the precise moment when no one is paying the slightest bit of attention. “The only reason they would release it on the Friday afternoon before Christmas is […]

Could a cornered Trump kill NAFTA on his own?

Aug 23 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — The best thing you can say about the first round of NAFTA talks is also the least thing you can say about them: Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted about them. Yet. He was too busy on other fronts — for instance, abdicating the moral authority of the American presidency in the aftermath of white supremacist rioting […]

The Liberals are spinning their wheels

Jun 21 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — As the House lurches towards the end of the spring sitting, there’s a sense that while there’s a lot going on in Ottawa, not much is getting done. It’s the mid-term muddle which hits most majority governments halfway through their first mandates, where the Trudeau Liberals are now. From parliamentary reform to climate change, from […]

What does Scheer need most to succeed as CPC leader? Patience.

May 30 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — It would be highly unusual for Canadians to kick out a majority government after only one term in office. The one exception in the 20th century was the Conservative government of R.B. Bennett in 1935 — and Bennett had the singular misfortune of governing during the Great Depression. More frequently, voters have put first-term majorities […]

The quickest way to Trump’s brain? Through his family.

May 9 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — It was during the transition between the U.S. election and Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration that Justin Trudeau’s two top advisers — chief of staff Katie Telford and principal secretary Gerry Butts — struck up a relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner during several meetings in Washington and New York. By the time they were preparing […]

The trouble with Maxime Bernier

May 2 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — With just over three weeks remaining in the Conservative leadership race, it essentially has become a two-way race between Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer. The search for a viable third candidate has pretty much come down to Erin O’Toole — but there’s no sign the rest of the 13-candidate field is prepared to unite behind […]

Trudeau’s marijuana plans may be deep in the weeds

Apr 18 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — All things considered, it would have been much easier for the Trudeau government to simply decriminalize marijuana. Easier, at least, than legalizing the stuff, as proposed in the legislation presented to the House last week. The very timing of the legislation — surfacing on the last day of a sitting before a two-week spring break […]

Trudeau and Freeland are sending Russia the right signals

Apr 11 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — Bashar al-Assad finally overplayed his hand with the international community last week in unleashing an unspeakable chemical attack that killed 87 Syrian civilians, including many children and infants. The horrific images of this event have sparked a consensus among western leaders that Assad must finally “be held to account” — in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s […]

The CPC race is slapstick. The NDP race is politics for adults.

Mar 31 2017 — L. Ian MacDonald — The NDP leadership race has two big things going for it — compared to the Conservative race, and compared to recent decisions by the Liberals alienating voters on the progressive left. The contrasts can help the New Democrats rebuild their brand to the 20 per cent polling threshold they need to consider themselves back in […]