National Newswatch

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 […]

Why Pierre Poilievre should reconsider his rhetoric about firing the Bank of Canada Governor

May 16 2022 — John Ibbitson — Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre has vowed that, if he becomes prime minister, he will fire Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, whom he blames for inflation. For his own sake, Mr. Poilievre should reconsider. The last time a prime minister tried to fire the central bank’s governor, it ruined him. In 1960, Canada’s economy […]

Doug Ford has learned co-operation with Justin Trudeau has benefits as Ontario election campaign begins

May 4 2022 — John Ibbitson — On Monday, one day before the formal launch of the Ontario election campaign, Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford stood together to announce federal and provincial support for a $3.6-billion investment in auto plants in Windsor and Brampton to produce electric vehicles. “What is Trudeau doing?” fumed Liberal strategist David Herle. Why, he wondered, would the […]

Will the standard Liberal tactics of accusing Conservatives of being pro-gun and anti-abortion work on Pierre Poilievre?

Apr 30 2022 — John Ibbitson — Earlier this week, Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre held a press conference and, once again, rubbished the Bank of Canada. The message was confusing – something about prohibiting the bank from establishing a digital currency and bringing in the auditor general. Informed heads shook disapprovingly. But Gerald Butts, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin […]

For Donald Trump, Putin warrants praise and Trudeau’s a tyrant. This puts Canada’s Conservatives, and Pierre Poilievre, in a difficult spot

Mar 1 2022 — John Ibbitson — The performance art that passes for conservative political discourse in the United States these days has reached new heights, or depths. Donald Trump has long been an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin. When that suddenly became awkward, a few days ago, the former president and presumptive Republican nominee in 2024 crafted a new mantra: […]

Pierre Poilievre riding the populist wave that began as a protest against vaccine mandates

Feb 7 2022 — John Ibbitson — The thousands of protesters who gathered in downtown Ottawa for a second weekend were not part of a “nationwide insurrection,” as Diane Deans, chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, alleged Saturday during an emergency meeting. But a new force has arrived in Canadian politics, the culmination of growing populist resentments over the inequality of […]