National Newswatch

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 […]

Future of work isn’t just elite chatter

Jun 13 2018 — Jennifer Ditchburn — In the political honeymoon days for the Liberals following the 2015 election, CBC’s The National did a pretty cool TV experiment where they let individual Canadians interview Justin Trudeau. One of those interviews was done by a struggling worker from the London, ON area named Neil Piercey. Piercey told Trudeau that he had lost his […]

Indigenous rights aren’t a subplot of pipeline debate

Apr 11 2018 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Imagine if decades from now a student of Canadian political history is digging into the Kinder Morgan pipeline saga. What kind of picture would she get from scanning the news databases from April 2018? A frustrated project proponent, Kinder Morgan, puts the development of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on hold, amid a pitched jurisdictional […]

The coolest government org you’ve never heard of

Dec 28 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Fart jokes are not quite the same when you hang out with the crowd at Policy Horizons, the federal government’s in-house strategic foresight think tank. It took me a while to figure out the lingo when I stopped by for a visit at its downtown Ottawa offices. (It turns out that “fart” — or rather […]

Go public and perish? Supporting the engaged scholar

Nov 27 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — As a front-line health care worker in Nova Scotia, Josephine Etowa noticed that what nursing schools were teaching students about evaluating a newborn’s health (did the baby have bluish skin? Or yellow skin, suggesting jaundice?) didn’t prepare them for the real world – which includes black mothers and their babies. Years later, the University of […]

Jagmeet Singh and the viral video Canada needed

Sep 11 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — In newsrooms, where I used to spend my time, there are some rare moments when you realize a particular story has penetrated the larger public awareness. Most of the time, things that reporters think everyone should care deeply about barely register in the real world. This becomes apparent at family gatherings or a kid’s sports […]

Canada’s postcentennial generation

Jun 29 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to feel an emotional connection to the number 150. There’s nothing particularly personal about it. Canada’s sesquicentennial marks the country’s age and accomplishments (and failings), but it doesn’t mark our own individual journeys as citizens. (Maybe that’s why I often notice the Terry Fox statue when I walk down Wellington […]

A fresh, or re-heated, Conservative menu?

May 29 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — That Andrew Scheer would like to emulate the success of his predecessor at the helm of the Conservative Party makes perfect sense. Whatever you thought of Stephen Harper, he was a shrewd politician. Back before the 2006 election, Harper and his team looked at the Canadian electorate and saw a path to victory that united […]

Budget 2017: Right road, low fuel

Mar 23 2017 — Jennifer Ditchburn — I’m going to borrow from some of the buzzwordy language in vogue with the government right now as a metaphor for Budget 2017 – it’s like an automated car that is probably going down the right road, but its electric battery is only partly charged. Finance Minister Bill Morneau concedes as much in his speech […]