National Newswatch

Stephen Harper’s own words: ‘I was never in the job to be liked’

Jul 12 2018 — Jason Markusoff — In mid-June, former prime minister Stephen Harper gave speeches to small chambers of commerce in Lloydminster, Sask., and Leduc, Alta. In keeping with his desire not to comment on what his successors are doing, his speech largely stuck to global political trends, trade and business opportunities. But the audiences wanted to know about his views […]

What on earth is Stephen Harper up to?

Jul 12 2018 — Jason Markusoff — The former prime minister is back—with a new book, a consultancy and a flurry of lucrative speaking engagements. He also took his one-man show to Trump’s doorstep. At the Lloydminster Exhibition’s Stockade Convention Centre, the stage’s black drapes are accented with a sash-like green curtain and a banner of logos for Reid Signs, Atlas Appraisal […]

The Tory MP who made his peace with Pride Week

Jul 27 2017 — Jason Markusoff — Jim Eglinski shrugs off his participation in the flag-raising to kick off Pride Week in Jasper, Alta., as no different from a French school’s Franco-Albertan flag ceremony in Hinton, an hour’s drive east. “They invite me just like hundreds of other organizations around the riding, and I treat them the same as others. If I […]

Michelle Rempel demands more from politics—on the left and right

Feb 10 2017 — Jason Markusoff — For a prolific policy tweeter, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel sure seems to bemoan the reduction of debates into 140-character beefs. For an often relentless partisan who was a campaign regular defending her party on TV talk shows, she sure has regrets about how Conservatives have handled themselves on immigration issues, then and now. But she […]

Ezra Levant: The Rebel’s unrepentant commander

Jan 24 2017 — Jason Markusoff — Minus-18 in the middle of a Calgary cold snap be damned, about 1,000 Albertans trundled into a downtown hotel ballroom to grow somehow more outraged over Rachel Notley’s carbon tax. Many were already feeling the bite of economic downturn, starved for contracts or unemployed. They brandished signs, mostly against the NDP, but many questioning the […]

The Alberta PCs are burning. That’s fine by Jason Kenney.

Jan 18 2017 — Jason Markusoff — Two months from now, Jason Kenney will win control of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, a party that nobody can really claim they control at present—except perhaps this insurgent leadership candidate and would-be party dissolver. One of his supporters on Monday night e-mailed me a short video file (a gif, for you hip kids out there) […]

Justin Trudeau’s false Davos dichotomy

Jan 9 2017 — Jason Markusoff — Rather than rub elbows and clink cognac glasses with celebrities and the global elite next week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will spend days touring the coffee shops and winter fairs across his country. Sounds a bit clichéd, doesn’t it? Let’s try that a different way. Rather than an extraordinary once-a-year opportunity to help nurture major […]

Jason Kenney divides Alberta politics with his hard-right line

Nov 23 2016 — Jason Markusoff — It was lousy timing, primarily, that the Alberta Tory leadership contest suffered two high-profile departures on the same day Americans elected Donald Trump. One of those has gotten most of the oxygen and stoked Trumpism-in-Alberta chatter: Sandra Jansen, a former broadcaster and unabashedly progressive Tory MLA, had felt bullied and harassed out of the race. […]

That time the RCMP dropped a mid-election bombshell

Oct 29 2016 — Jason Markusoff — The renewed FBI scrutiny of Clinton’s private emails may seem like deja vu to Liberals who lost the 2006 election. Law enforcement agencies don’t operate on political timetables. Mention this axiom to a Paul Martin-era Liberal, and they’re liable to shoot you some real stink-eye. On Friday, the Hillary Clinton campaign’s election endgame was upended […]

Jim Prentice, the politician who wasn’t there for politics

Oct 14 2016 — Jason Markusoff — On the left side of Stephen Harper’s first government front benches in 2006 sat some master-class partisan hecklers: Peter Mackay, Stockwell Day and John Baird, along with a soon-to-be-prominent pair whose voices could carry well enough from far back, Pierre Poilievre and Jason Kenney. But the man who sat closest to the Prime Minister’s left […]

Can Jason Kenney be Mr. Right in Alberta?

Jul 15 2016 — Jason Markusoff — Jason Kenney couldn’t help kicking off a Calgary radio interview with a quibble about phrasing. “Great to be here. Just one correction,” he said after the CBC host’s introduction. “I haven’t used the phrase ‘unite the right’ but ‘unite Albertans,’ because it’s bigger than one ideological faction.” Her voice like an arched eyebrow, host Meg […]

The Alberta NDP’s convenient peek into the shadows

Jun 15 2016 — Jason Markusoff — In early May, Rachel Notley’s NDP marked one year since their wow-that-just-happened election victory, but there was little time to celebrate thanks to a colossal natural disaster. No matter; there would be a whole weekend set aside in June to bask in anniversary glory—the party’s annual convention in Calgary. Some 800 New Democrats gathered to […]