National Newswatch

Vancouver’s perverse pipeline politics

Apr 20 2016 — John Robson — Canada’s debate over pipelines and energy policy has become uncomfortably reminiscent of the tale of the Little Red Hen. The hen, you may recall, planted some seeds, cut the wheat and made the bread all by herself when the other animals declined to help. Yet when the time came to eat the bread, there they […]

Where, oh where has the Liberal party gone?

Apr 5 2016 — John Robson — Does anybody remember the Liberal Party of Canada? It may seem an odd question to ask given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s current glamorous domination of Ottawa. But while his Liberals are once again triumphant, their party is undertaking a risky transformation from old-line political party into some new and trendy form of social media meme. […]

Trudeau’s productivity challenge

Feb 24 2016 — John Robson — The Liberal budget on March 22 is projected to include an $18.4-billion shortfall, which could surpass $25 billion when additional “stimulative” expenditures are included. Having taken office less than four months ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can justifiably argue his government is responding to conditions not of its making. To a considerable degree, the March […]

Sun News spirit lives on

Feb 16 2015 — John Robson — Sun News Network has set. It is a bittersweet feeling. It is sweet because we gave it our best shot. We dared launch something entrepreneurial and unlikely and for almost four years put forward unconventional, challenging views, gave people a voice who often go unheard in public discussion and had fun doing it. We didn’t […]

We knew it would be combat

Feb 2 2015 — John Robson — How can our politicians be stumped by simple questions like “Should we be fighting in Iraq?” or even “Are we fighting in Iraq?” Most successful politicians are actually quite clever. If they weren’t someone equally unscrupulous but smarter would have shoved them aside near the base of the greasy pole. Yet somehow their public pronouncements […]

Taking credit for spending our money

Jan 15 2015 — John Robson — he noisy quarrels in Canadian politics would be aggravating even if they were about something. But usually they’re not. Remember the long ugly juvenile spat between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne over whether to bicker in person or just keep at it from a distance? Personally I was voting for distance […]

What should Trudeau have done?

Dec 1 2014 — John Robson — Justin Trudeau is in an awkward spot for suspending two MPs accused of sexual misconduct. But before criticizing his reaction to the NDP’s claims, tell me what he was meant to do. Hush it up? Say boys will be boys and she probably asked for it? That’s neither smart politics, good feminism nor human decency. […]

Let’s take off those rose-coloured glasses

Nov 17 2014 — John Robson — Well, isn’t this peachy? The Harper Tories’ fiscal update says they’ve solved all our budgetary problems, personal and national, surpluses are rolling in and free money is rolling out… just in time for the next election. Sadly, politicians do not always tell the truth. For starters, they haven’t even shrunk government as a share of […]

MPs struggle to define terrorism

Nov 3 2014 — John Robson — It seems odd to be arguing whether Nathan Cirillo’s murder and the assault on Parliament was terrorism without any effort to discuss what terrorism is. Terrorism isn’t just a word for extreme badness. It’s a particular kind of evil, with particular methods and goals. It’s not clear whether Thomas Mulcair is refusing to call Zehaf-Bibeau’s […]

This is the role of the Speaker

Oct 6 2014 — John Robson — Who is the Speaker of the House of Commons anyway? Well duh. It’s Andrew Scheer. But what I mean is, what does the Speaker do? Don’t say “not much” or “watches monkeys throw bananas at each other.” With dissatisfaction mounting at parliamentary antics, in question period particularly, the position needs more scrutiny. And more sensible […]

Political nastiness is getting us nowhere

Aug 18 2014 — John Robson — It is vacation season in Canada. But political nastiness never takes a break. Maybe it should. Easy to say, you may cry. Politics has been nasty since long before Athens invented democracy, and bleating about it won’t help. But the tone seems especially bleak and savage these days, depressing voter turnout and dismaying even politicians, […]

Tragedy of Obama’s diplomacy

Jul 21 2014 — John Robson — Are you enjoying your newfound global tranquility? If so you can thank Barack Obama. At least, that’s what he says. Seriously. Asked about an eruption of global instability, especially in the Middle East, and the impression “that the president is a bystander to all these crises,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “I think […]

Legislatures don’t make the rules — and they should

Jul 14 2014 — John Robson — Thomas Mulcair wants judges to take over Parliament. It’s a terrible idea that could hardly come at a worse time. For more than 600 years the House of Commons has carefully guarded its independence, the right of the people’s representatives to meet, debate and vote freely. The Commons sat separately from the Lords by 1346, […]

Bruised Tories can only blame themselves

Jun 16 2014 — John Robson — OK all you Ontario Tories. Now will you listen up? First, Tim Hudak was a terrible leader. It was bad judgment to pick him at all, worse to stick with him after he handed Dalton McGuinty a thoroughly undeserved minority win in 2011, and appalling to defend him with fiery partisan passion while he handed […]

Vote for the guy who’ll never win

Jun 12 2014 — John Robson — Modern elections are like some algebra class nightmare. You’re meant to put an X on the ballot but X equals the unknown because you can’t figure out who to vote for. The clock is ticking and you need an answer and cold clammy sweat drips from your brow. Take Thursday’s Ontario election… please. Virtually everyone […]