National Newswatch

COVID-19 pandemic forces Liberals to postpone national convention

Sep 25 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — The federal Liberal party is postponing its national convention due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The convention was to be held in Ottawa on Nov. 12-15. But in an email to registered Liberals, party president Suzanne Cowan says the national board of directors has decided the convention will now be postponed until April […]

Aline Chretien shunned limelight but played influential role in private

Sep 14 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Aline Chretien may have been the most influential political figure Canadians never knew. She was often seen at political events — a petite, elegant figure standing demurely at the side of her gregarious husband, former prime minister Jean Chretien — but was seldom heard. At least not publicly. Behind the scenes though, she was Chretien's confidante and […]

Cabinet retreat to confront challenge of limiting damage from ongoing pandemic

Sep 13 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Bold plans to rebuild Canada's shattered economy will take a back seat during a two-day cabinet retreat as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers confront the more immediate challenge of how to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from doing even more damage to Canadians' lives and incomes. The retreat, starting Monday, is being held […]

Canadians don’t know much about Erin O’Toole but poll finds openness to him

Sep 1 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Most Canadians know very little about new Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole but a new poll suggests his personal qualities and policy positions could eventually give his party a boost. Fifty-two per cent of respondents said they didn't know enough about O'Toole to say whether they have a positive or negative impression of the new leader, who […]

Explosion in mail-in voting expected if election held amid pandemic

Aug 27 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Elections Canada is bracing for an explosive increase in the number of Canadians who vote by mail should the country be plunged into an election during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public opinion research commissioned by the agency suggests 21.8 per cent of voters would prefer to cast their ballots by mail during the pandemic, while 58 per cent […]

Bills anathema to social conservatives will test O’Toole’s leadership

Aug 26 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Newly minted Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole's ability to manage social conservatives in his caucus and party will be put to an early test this fall when the Liberal government reintroduces legislation on medical assistance in dying. And it will be tested again when the government reintroduces a bill to ban conversion therapy, a discredited and […]

Trudeau considered best to manage pandemic, revive economy, poll suggests

Aug 25 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — A new poll suggests Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be well placed to fight an election this fall, seen as the leader best able to care for Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic and to get the economy back on its feet. Respondents to the poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, were split […]

Freeland’s ‘Plutocrats’ book showcases her views on taxes, deficits, joblessness

Aug 23 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau first met Chrystia Freeland at a 2012 Toronto signing for her award-winning book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. The tome chronicled how globalization and the technology revolution has created a new class of uber-wealthy people, "a nation unto themselves" who wield outsized political clout that has produced economic policies […]

Parties urged to agree on safe way to hold possible election in pandemic

Aug 18 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — What happens if Canada's minority Liberal government is defeated this fall and Elections Canada concludes it can't safely conduct an election because a second wave of the deadly coronavirus is sweeping the country? That worst-case scenario was on the minds of some federal politicians as they watched New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs pull […]

Singh calls on federal government to provide $12 billion for child care

Aug 14 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on Ottawa to provide the provinces with billions in funding for child care — a demand that could help determine whether the minority Liberal government survives. With the support of the Liberals, the NDP passed a motion this week calling on the federal government to immediately transfer $2 billion […]

Trudeau shuts down speculation Bill Morneau to be fired as finance minister

Aug 11 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried Tuesday to shut down speculation that he's about to fire his finance minister, saying he has full confidence in Bill Morneau and that any reports to the contrary are false. Trudeau's office took the unusual step of issuing a statement in support of Morneau as rumours about the minister's […]

Trudeau faces contradictory calls to punish China, give in to ‘hostage diplomacy’

Jun 24 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is facing contradictory calls to either stand up to China or give in to so-called "hostage diplomacy" — with particular pressure coming from stalwarts of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien's administration. Allan Rock is the latest former Chretien-era minister to advocate that the government end extradition proceedings against Meng Wanzhou, in hopes that China will release two Canadians […]

Two-thirds favour keeping two-metres physical distance: Leger poll

Jun 23 2020 — Joan Bryden — OTTAWA — Two-thirds of Canadians don't want to relax physical distancing rules imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, a new poll suggests. And even if they were relaxed, a strong majority wouldn't be comfortable taking part in activities that would bring them closer to other people, like going to a movie theatre. Sixty-six per cent of respondents […]