National Newswatch

Kevin O’Leary’s campaign got rolling over lunch

Jan 16 2017 — John Geddes — How the reality TV star shifted from flirting with a Tory leadership bid to organizing the real deal. When Kevin O’Leary popped up on Facebook late last week to nearly, almost, not quite declare his bid for the federal Conservative leadership, close watchers of Canadian politics must have been thinking, “Get on with it, Mr. […]

Was Maryam Monsef ‘demoted’ in Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle?

Jan 12 2017 — John Geddes — The debate over whether or not it’s fair to say Maryam Monsef was “demoted” when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made her minister of status of women earlier this week, removing her from the Democratic Institutions portfolio, is largely missing the point. The admittedly subjective business of assessing the relative importance of cabinet positions isn’t based […]

Charlie Angus comes in from the cold

Jan 9 2017 — John Geddes — In a TV interview from MuchMusic back in 1983, members of the punk band L’Etranger talk earnestly, on the front porch of a downtown Toronto house, about the left-wing causes they champion in their songs. “The question always comes up: ‘Why do you sing about apartheid? Why do you sing about this, why do you […]

Canadian politics 2016: The year in 12 chapters

Dec 29 2016 — John Geddes — How many overseas trips did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take in 2016 (leaving aside his five intracontinental jaunts to the United States)? How many MPs sat on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, whose work was slammed, in no uncertain terms, by Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef (though she later apologized, saying she hadn’t really […]

In year two of Trudeau, promises meet their proving ground

Dec 12 2016 — John Geddes — Few saw the one-two punch thrown by global politics in 2016 coming. Like a set-up jab to the body, Brits voted to exit the European Union. And then, like an even harder follow-up cross to the head, Americans voted Donald Trump into the presidency. The world was left seeing stars. But maybe, if this isn’t […]

Maryam Monsef’s change in parliamentary tone

Dec 2 2016 — John Geddes — Back in early September, I visited picturesque Peterborough, Ont., to interview Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef. It’s her home, and Monsef suggested we talk on the deck of her favourite coffee shop, overlooking the placid Otonabee River, not far from her constituency office in the city’s well-preserved downtown.

Tom Mulcair: The 2016 Parliamentarian of the Year

Nov 16 2016 — John Geddes — On Nov. 15, Maclean’s celebrated the best of Ottawa with the ninth edition of our Parliamentarians of the Year awards, which were handed out based on the results of a secret-ballot survey of their peers in the House of Commons. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair won the top honour for 2016. View the full list of […]

Canada’s immigration debate is more serious than America’s

Oct 20 2016 — John Geddes — As Canadians watching U.S. politics, there is always a temptation to look for competitive advantage. What good policy will our politics allow that U.S. politics seemingly never will? Historically, the examples have been definitive—and as diverse as universal health care and a national value-added tax. But watching this fall’s U.S. presidential election, including tonight’s debate […]

Chris Alexander on diplomacy, Trump, and leadership hopes

Oct 19 2016 — John Geddes — Chris Alexander was seen as a Conservative rising star when he won a suburban Toronto riding in the 2011 election. Before jumping into politics, he had cut a dashing figure as an improbably youthful Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan. By the time he lost his seat last fall, though, Alexander had turned into a polarizing figure […]

How the Liberals are taking on its toughest files

Oct 17 2016 — John Geddes — Anyone looking for members of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet who embody his vision of Canadian society has no shortage of likely candidates. Following him down that sunlit lane to Rideau Hall to be sworn in last fall, they were a political marketer’s dream: half of them younger than 50, precisely as many women as men, visible-minority […]

The Trudeau Report Card: A look at the bumpy road ahead

Oct 17 2016 — John Geddes — Looking hard at the workload of Justin Trudeau’s government can be like peering into a dense thicket of promises. He made about 200 of them in last fall’s Liberal election platform. Some he’s kept and a few he’s broken, but of course most of those policy pledges remain, after only about a year in power, […]

Compare and contrast: Trudeau and Harper at the UN

Sep 20 2016 — John Geddes — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly this afternoon, nearly 10 years to the day after his predecessor, Stephen Harper, made his inaugural address in the same New York temple to multilateralism. Both speeches ran about 1,500 words, and that’s about all they had in common. The contrast […]

Justin Trudeau’s fall agenda: Big files and economic worries

Sep 18 2016 — John Geddes — The fall return of Parliament always puts Ottawa in a back-to-school frame of mind. Like kids tidying the contents of their backpacks, we strive for orderly thinking and a clear setting out of goals. In the case of Justin Trudeau’s government, that’s not easy. This Prime Minister’s viral celebrity tugs us toward talking airily about […]

Michael Chong’s unusual path to Tory contender

Aug 13 2016 — John Geddes — Even when he was growing up in a southern Ontario farming community that was almost entirely white, Michael Chong, the son of a Chinese immigrant father and a Dutch immigrant mother, says he wasn’t often conscious of looking different. He endured some schoolyard taunts and bullying when he was little, but after that he felt […]

Already in the middle class? Trudeau’s reforms look great

Jul 12 2016 — John Geddes — But if you’re struggling to join it? Not nearly as appealing. Justin Trudeau isn’t shy about using the same word clusters over and over, and among his favourites is the one about offering “real help to Canada’s middle class and all those working hard to join it.” So far, it seems the first part carries […]