National Newswatch

When emotion is king, do think tanks still matter?

Apr 11 2022 — Jennifer Ditchburn — “Could you hear the noise from where you live?” is the most common question I got during the Freedom Convoy protests from friends who do not live in Ottawa. The short answer is no. The more complicated answer is that the “noise”—or rather, the explosion of emotion—did keep me up at night. It was troubling […]

Whose Parliament Hill is it anyway?

Feb 18 2022 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Watching the images from the truck-clogged, diesel-fogged, anarchic streets of downtown Ottawa, it’s easy to forget what looms in the background. The Parliament Buildings, the seat of the federal government and where the prime minister spends a great deal of his time, are what lured the so-called “Freedom Convoy.” Never mind that Centre Block is […]

The national stress test that was 2020

Dec 30 2020 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Here’s a brain challenge – can you remember when the last federal election took place? Do you remember the weighty issues that were discussed? Setting aside the fact that most of us can’t quite figure out what day it is during the pandemic, you can be forgiven for having a fuzzy memory of that last […]

Why the world conference on women matters

Mar 10 2020 — Jennifer Ditchburn — If not for the coronavirus, there would be a women’s metropolis within the metropolis of New York this week, its hotels and restaurants filled with the 12,000 civil society participants of the UN Commission on the Status of Women conference. The commission, however, has indefinitely postponed the event, which was also meant to mark the […]

The breathtaking hypocrisy of the howls for “rule of law”

Feb 17 2020 — Jennifer Ditchburn — For most of Canada’s history, the rule of law has been openly flouted when it comes to Indigenous land and rights. Last October, an international celebration occurred in the verdant coastal community of Bella Bella, BC. Members of the Heiltsuk Nation finally opened their Gvakva’aus Hailzaqv, their Big House, a red and yellow cedar structure […]

Do you need to punch to be prime minister?

Feb 3 2020 — Jennifer Ditchburn — One of the most poignant moments in political leadership occurred nearly a year ago, in the aftermath of the devastating hate murders of 50 people. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern publicly exhorted citizens to “speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them,” referring to […]

Can Canadian politics ever achieve a climate consensus?

Oct 7 2019 — Jennifer Ditchburn — We should demand that our political leaders stop trying to win partisan points on climate change, and reach a consensus on action as other nations have. In Germany in September, the coalition cabinet led by Angela Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union announced a sweeping $74-billion climate policy package. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is working through […]

What do the media know about the ballot box question?

Sep 17 2019 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Every election, sans faute, much ink is spilled trying to declare the “ballot box question.” What is the burning issue that will decide how all Canadian voters make their choice? I was part of this quest to pursue and identify the ballot box question in elections I covered from 1997 to 2015. During the last […]

Does Canada’s Gen X election matter?

Sep 13 2019 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Canada is about to have its Gen X election – the three leaders of the largest parties were all born in the ’70s. Some Canadians in this cohort might feel a pang of triumph that smells like teen spirit. This narrow little generation is no longer languishing in the shadow of the Baby Boom. Our […]

Shouldn’t we want MPs who don’t conform?

Apr 5 2019 — Jennifer Ditchburn — With the expulsion of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus, I began to think back on the other so-called “maverick” MPs I’ve come across over the past two decades. Who were the folks who dared to challenge the party line, or speak out of turn, or were just a little oddball? The […]

This year, resolve to be a more intelligent reader online

Dec 31 2018 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Canada is not immune from the disinformation and misinformation campaigns that seek to polarize the public. Let’s be more careful about what we share. In 2019, an election year federally and in Alberta, what if we could we all resolve to be better consumers of online content? Could we train to become sommeliers of social […]

Better late than never for Parliament Hill consultation?

Dec 12 2018 — Jennifer Ditchburn — MPs were told that parliamentarians and the public will finally be consulted on the Centre Block rehabilitation. The details of the process are still hazy. There are lot of 11th-hour trips up the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill this month, a lot of group photos being taken in the halls and one-last-meals among colleagues in […]