National Newswatch

COVID is surging — and populist premiers won’t save us

Apr 22 2021 — Max Fawcett — Of all the controversial covers Maclean’s magazine has run over the years, few attracted a bigger backlash than its December 2018 edition. It featured Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer flanked by Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, Brian Pallister and Scott Moe, all wearing their best blue suits and sporting their best tough-guy demeanours. The […]

Budget 2021 steps up Canada’s assault on climate change

Apr 21 2021 — Max Fawcett — In politics, as in life, you should be careful what you wish for. In a Monday morning tweet, Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole complained the governing Liberals “offer no solutions.” This was not a particularly wise thing to say in advance of a budget that everyone expected would be one of the most […]

O’Toole’s climate plan the worst of both worlds

Apr 15 2021 — Max Fawcett — At long last, after years of fudging and filibustering, the Conservative Party of Canada has a climate plan. And if the early returns are any indication, it might be the worst of both worlds — a policy that will simultaneously infuriate many of the party’s most fervent supporters and underwhelm Canadian voters who care about […]

Jason Kenney’s Fantasy Island

Apr 15 2021 — Max Fawcett — In December 1974, a soldier named Teruo Nakamura stationed on Morotai Island in Indonesia became the last so-called “holdout” from the Japanese Imperial Army to surrender, nearly 30 years after his own country agreed to terms that ended the Second World War. We’re not there yet when it comes to the fight over pipelines in […]

Oh, Canada, you failed the marshmallow test

Apr 13 2021 — Max Fawcett — In 1972, a team of psychologists led by Stanford University’s Walter Mischel turned a bag of marshmallows into one of the most influential pieces of social science research in American history. The experiment was simple: they put a single marshmallow in front of a child, told them they could have a second one if they […]

Revolt! Alberta’s Christian right takes on Jason Kenney

Apr 9 2021 — Max Fawcett — In his two-plus years as premier, Jason Kenney has been called plenty of mean things by people who oppose his policies and politics. But even he is probably caught off guard by the new nickname that some people have for him: traitor. After all, it’s coming from the same conservative Christian community he’s courted assiduously […]

Doug Ford’s Highway to Climate Hell

Apr 5 2021 — Max Fawcett — When Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives formed government in 2018, one of their first acts was to install new signs along the province’s border proclaiming that it was “open for business”. But based on reporting from the National Observer and Torstar into the connections between high-profile developers and a proposed new highway in the Greater Toronto […]

Jason Kenney government teaches all the wrong lessons

Apr 1 2021 — Max Fawcett — Whether it’s embracing open-pit coal mining or doubling down on the oil and gas industry, Jason Kenney’s UCP government has made a habit of looking to the past for guidance and inspiration. But rarely has it been more explicit in its back-to-the-future approach to governing than with its new proposed K-6 curriculum, which takes the […]

Meet Big Oil’s next enemy: Big Money

Mar 29 2021 — Max Fawcett — Last Thursday wasn’t a good day in the towers of downtown Calgary after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the federal carbon tax was, in fact, constitutional. Lost in the noise around that was an announcement by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that it was embracing carbon pricing, one that could be even more consequential […]

Jason Kenney, the carbon tax, and the art of losing a war

Mar 25 2021 — Max Fawcett — It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Jason Kenney announced he was running for Rachel Notley’s job, he promised Albertans his government would fight back against the oil and gas industry’s foes — and that this fight would be a winning one. But following two years of defeat after defeat, from the Biden administration’s […]

Jason Kenney’s Mickey Mouse war against a Netflix cartoon

Mar 22 2021 — Max Fawcett, — There aren’t many things more embarrassing than a government picking a fight with a children’s cartoon, but Jason Kenney’s UCP found a way to outdo themselves on that front. Their government’s hapless “war room,” which seems to specialize in self-inflicted gunshot wounds, decided to take aim at a mediocre Netflix animated movie called Bigfoot Family, […]

Canada’s housing market is on fire — and headed for disaster

Mar 15 2021 — Max Fawcett — COVID-19 has produced any number of weird outcomes, from conservatives advocating for a basic income to a failing video game retailer briefly becoming the most talked-about company in the world. But maybe the weirdest of all has been the U-turn in Canada’s housing market, which recovered from some weakness in early 2020 to post a […]

Who’s to blame for Alberta’s debt problem?

Mar 3 2021 — Max Fawcett — It may have been only 20 years ago, but the early 21st century feels like a lifetime away for most Albertans right now. Back then, the last of the Don Getty-era debt was getting paid down, and with oil prices soaring (indeed, with credible worries that the world might run out), it looked like the […]

Really, Rex Murphy?

Feb 19 2021 — Max Fawcett — For someone who grew up in Newfoundland, Rex Murphy certainly seems to hate the wind. In his latest climate change-denying diatribe for the National Post, Murphy decided to use the unfolding crisis in Texas as an opportunity to suggest, yet again, that renewable energy is not worth our time or trouble. In addition to recycling […]

Erin O’Toole’s political future depends on carbon taxes

Feb 16 2021 — Max Fawcett — Whether it happens this spring or in the fall, it’s increasingly obvious that Canadians are headed to the polls in 2021. And while the timing will depend on how quickly the Liberal government can recover from its early vaccine rollout mishaps, federal Conservatives will have to do more than recover a fumbled political football if […]