National Newswatch

All major national party leaders face decisions in cabinet shuffle, but Trudeau’s is the toughest

Jul 24 2023 — John Ibbitson — This week’s anticipated federal cabinet shuffle arrives at a time when all three major national party leaders need to consider their futures. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government is almost eight years in office with three elections under its belt, has the biggest decision to make. His Liberals have trailed the Conservatives in the polls […]

Pierre Poilievre may be on his way to becoming Prime Minister

May 12 2023 — John Ibbitson — Eight months after Pierre Poilievre won the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, the evidence suggests he is on his way to becoming prime minister. In politics, nothing is inevitable, and by the time of the next federal election, circumstances could have changed. But if an election were held today, Mr. Poilievre would probably […]

Pierre Poilievre needs a Common Sense Revolution of his own

Mar 21 2023 — John Ibbitson — There are all sorts of reasons to question Pierre Poilievre’s proposed Blue Seal program, which would federally certify doctors and nurses who did not study in Canada. Would we accept doctors who performed their residency in another country? How would Ottawa convince provincial licensing bodies to recognize their qualifications? But that’s not what matters. What […]

Opposition to David Johnston’s appointment shows how much politics has changed

Mar 20 2023 — John Ibbitson — The strong opposition to David Johnston’s appointment as special rapporteur investigating Chinese interference in elections reveals how our times, and our politics, have changed. In a previous column, I suggested that Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre should accept Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s choice of Mr. Johnston on the grounds that the former governor-general was appointed to […]

Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre need to stop insulting each other

Jan 27 2023 — John Ibbitson — We like to blame social media or pandemic stress or economic hardship for what feels like growing political polarization. But our leaders fan the flames. Which is why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre should stop insulting each other. Mr. Trudeau started the latest dust-up. When Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star […]

The U.S. midterms offer a stark warning to Pierre Poilievre

Nov 11 2022 — John Ibbitson — This week’s midterm elections in the United States offer a stark warning for Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. If an election turns into a contest between Team Normal and Team Crazy, the results for Team Crazy are bound to disappoint. Congressman Peter Meijer used those terms when analyzing Tuesday’s elections. Mr. Meijer is a Michigan Republican […]

Trudeau’s aggressive federalism may leave Ottawa weaker than before

Oct 11 2022 — John Ibbitson — Canada is dangerously divided. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s aggressive federalism is to blame. When Stephen Harper was prime minister, he practised passive federalism. Ottawa raised revenue and sent money to the provinces to help fund health care, education and other services. It did not try to impose programs or standards or taxes on provincial governments […]

The Conservative Party is about to become Pierre Poilievre’s personal property

Aug 4 2022 — John Ibbitson — Pierre Poilievre’s decision to boycott Wednesday night’s leadership debate confirms the schism between his faction of the Conservative Party and the more moderate faction led by former Quebec premier Jean Charest. This could be seen as bad news for the party. Traditionally, the conservative coalition has been strongest when Blue Tories and Red Tories work […]

Poilievre will need more than promises of freedom

Jul 28 2022 — John Ibbitson — Stephen Harper’s public endorsement of Pierre Poilievre as the next leader of the Conservative Party means very little, but also a lot. Very little, because Mr. Poilievre probably had the leadership sewn up even without the former prime minister’s imprimatur. A lot, because Mr. Harper is clearly hoping to preserve party unity and win over […]

Patrick Brown’s exit all but guarantees Pierre Poilievre’s victory as the next Conservative leader

Jul 6 2022 — John Ibbitson — Patrick Brown’s forced departure from the Conservative leadership race means an almost-certain first-ballot victory for Pierre Poilievre. Many traditional Conservatives are appalled by the thought. They fear the party could fracture under the Carleton MP’s leadership. They’re wrong. For better or worse, the Conservative Party is about to become Mr. Poilievre’s personal possession, just as […]

Doug Ford has been rewarded for his learning curve, but which lessons will he heed?

Jun 3 2022 — John Ibbitson — A complaisant Ontario electorate has rewarded Doug Ford with another majority government, even larger than his first. For a political leader, to win back-to-back elections is really good. To win back-to-back majority governments is really great. But back-to-back landslides, the second larger than the first? Wow. Mr. Ford came to the premier’s office with no […]

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