National Newswatch

The fragile façade of Confederation

Apr 21 2019 — Jaime Watt — Just as it is for most people who do what I do for a living, our office is littered with television monitors tuned to a variety of news channels from around the world. And like it is for most of us, we become inured to the onslaught of images that come our way. Some real. […]

Will Trump ever face a tipping point?

Apr 14 2019 — Jaime Watt — Among watchers of the Trump White House, it has become this season’s party game to speculate whether the latest reason for outrage will be the final straw in this quixotic presidency — something akin in significance to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, or the Supreme Court decision compelling Nixon to turn over Oval Office tapes. History […]

The true cost of SNC-Lavalin: 53 lost days

Mar 31 2019 — Jaime Watt — Although it may feel like ancient history, and remembered about as clearly, it was just last week that Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced the Liberal’s final, pre-election budget, a 460-page basket of goodies titled “Investing in the Middle Class.” A government’s last budget before an election is usually its most strategic, and effective, opportunity to […]

A theory on Justin Trudeau’s lack of contrition

Mar 10 2019 — Jaime Watt — How different this week could have been if Gerald Butts’ testimony was a springboard and not a trial balloon. On Wednesday morning, the prime minister’s former principal secretary, who is among his closest friends and confidants, did exactly what was required to change the arc of the story. He established himself as a credible and […]

Wilson-Raybould testimony nothing if not a Roman spectacle

Mar 3 2019 — Jaime Watt — On Wednesday afternoon, in an event that exceeded its considerable billing, Canada’s former attorney general and minister of justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, filled in many of the contours of Bob Fife’s early-February reporting that thrust the prime minister, his closest advisers, and the Liberal Party of Canada into a political firestorm. Her testimony was as astonishing […]

Facebook users not yet ready to walk away despite troubles

Feb 24 2019 — Jaime Watt — Not all that long ago, certainly in my lifetime, Ma Bell, as she was affectionately known, was a communications powerhouse; ever-present with an absolute monopoly over our American neighbours’ telephone service. By the 1980s the American Bell System — which spawned our very own Bell Canada — generated over $70 billion US in annual revenues […]

Why SNC-Lavalin deserves to avoid prosecution

Feb 17 2019 — Jaime Watt — This week has shown the Canadian public is resolved in its belief that politicians and public servants must, at first instance, be up to no good. Take the so-called scandal around the SNC-Lavalin matter, and the emerging consensus that the government has misbehaved from the get-go.

Don’t forget MP Paul Dewar’s message of inclusiveness

Feb 10 2019 — Jaime Watt — With Paul Dewar’s way-too-soon death, on Wednesday evening, Canadians lost a giant. A gentle, principled, passionate giant. A giant who dedicated his very life to the service of others. There will be no shortage of epithets for Paul, but he would likely choose to be remembered for his honest and authentic engagement with his constituents, […]

Parties have work to do as election hits home stretch

Feb 3 2019 — Jaime Watt — Earlier this week, members of Parliament must have felt somewhat disoriented as they returned for a final session in their familiar, yet entirely new, surroundings. The House of Commons chamber has been relocated, albeit temporarily, to a spectacular new space in the West Block Courtyard. But more than just adjusting to a different home, each […]

Rebuilding a middle ground is the only way to fix a broken America

Jan 27 2019 — Jaime Watt — So long shining city upon the hill. There are, of course, those who scoff that the idealistic notion of American exceptionalism never existed at all. Others might reasonably suggest that, in fact, it vanished years ago — not in one fell swoop, but incrementally with each passing hour of cable news, gerrymandered district, and bruising […]

Canada has limited foreign policy options

Jan 20 2019 — Jaime Watt — When the Liberal government came to power, it did away with the approach to foreign policy practiced by its Conservative predecessors and replaced it with something a bit more “idealistic.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embarked on an international media tour during which he repeatedly declared himself a feminist. The foreign service, all the way up […]

The increasing power of stirring imagery and moral virtuosity

Jan 13 2019 — Jaime Watt — Only days into 2019 and we have already been sharply reminded of just how much the optics and messages of politics have changed in the last 10 years. These developments, of course, don’t represent a total change from the past. Image and narrative have long been central to politics. Pictures have built or destroyed the […]

Presidential successors put Bush Sr. in a new light

Dec 9 2018 — Jaime Watt — Many believe that, in politics, your successor is your legacy. Consider the straight-as-an-arrow Sunday school teacher Jimmy Carter after the Machiavellian Nixon years. Or the steady, competent, experienced John Tory after the roller coaster term of Rob Ford. Or more recently, Doug Ford’s approach to smaller government focused resolutely on every day family affordability after […]