National Newswatch

Contrition? Justin Trudeau didn’t come to say he’s sorry

Mar 7 2019 — John Geddes — The word hanging in the air as Justin Trudeau entered the National Press Theatre this morning, just off Parliament Hill, was “contrition.” Sources who remained unnamed, naturally, had assured reporters that Trudeau would use this news conference to express regrets, more or less, about the SNC-Lavalin affair that led to first Jody Wilson-Raybould and then […]

How a core member of Team Trudeau became the PM’s greatest threat

Mar 3 2019 — John Geddes — Jody Wilson-Raybould has a way of making an impression. Oddly enough, for a politician, she often makes it in private. There was the day in 2011, back when Wilson-Raybould was heading the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, that she ran into former prime minister Paul Martin. He later said she treated him to a “brilliant […]

Justin Trudeau, Jody Wilson-Raybould and cabinet secrecy

Feb 15 2019 — John Geddes — Around federal political and bureaucratic circles, the words “cabinet secrecy” and “cabinet confidentiality” are often wielded like magic spells. They evoke a mysterious power that echos in the corridors of Parliament Hill, as if just speaking them aloud means certain matters must never, ever be spoken of in public. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau uttered the […]

This is what’s wrong with Canada’s Left

Jan 11 2019 — John Geddes — If you had to single out just one Liberal MP for being tuned in to the dangers of his party coming off as too big-city, sometimes a little elitist, Marc Serré would be a likely pick. Not only does Serré chair the party’s rural caucus—yes, the Liberals have a rural caucus—he boasts a family political […]

Canada’s most polarized voters really, really hate Trudeau

Jan 11 2019 — John Geddes — Maybe it’s the meanness of social media or the low bar set by Donald Trump, but politics—as Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer have both warned—is feeling nasty in the run-up to next fall’s election. Figuring out how many voters really fall into camps of mutual loathing, though, is tricky. After all, even loyal partisans are […]

How NAFTA was saved: The bitter fight and the final breakthrough

Oct 1 2018 — John Geddes — The trade agreement finalized in the late hours of Sept. 30 between Canada and the U.S. amounts to a triumph of the desire to do a deal over what often seemed to be irreconcilable differences. From the outset of these renegotiations, the dissonance between the tough-talking American rhetoric and the soft-pedaling Canadian tone made it […]

Why a federal #MeToo law won’t be enforced any time soon

Jul 31 2018 — John Geddes — With a series of loud detonations over the past few months, the #MeToo era arrived in Canadian politics. Allegations, investigations and insinuations of sexual harassment swirled. It all made the Liberal government’s push to pass new legislation covering harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces—including Parliament Hill—feel perfectly timed. Yet key details on how and […]

The Trudeau Liberals are failing to turn economic success into votes

Apr 8 2018 — John Geddes — Figuring out what was the most important part of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s third federal budget, delivered at the end of February, started out as a multiple-choice test without an obvious right answer. Was it the new parental benefit, designed to nudge dads to become more involved in taking care of babies, and thus encourage […]

How the Trudeau Liberals stumbled into a fight with religious groups

Feb 2 2018 — John Geddes — This can’t be the fight the Liberal government thought it was picking. Late last year, Employment and Social Development Canada posted an updated application form for the annual Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program on its website. It contained a new wrinkle: groups applying for funding would have to “attest” that their “core mandate” respects certain […]