National Newswatch

Senate Stink Redux still fails the sniff test

Mar 31 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — Throughout the federal election, particularly when the Ol’ Duff was taking a grilling in Courtroom 33, an enraptured media, its union’s anti-Harper stance well documented, took every opportunity to reference the added stink emanating from the Senate. Canadians needed to be reminded that 30 greedy senators stood accused by Auditor General Michael Ferguson of inappropriate […]

Small town waits for the Godot of Syrian refugees

Mar 20 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — When the body of three-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach last September, the picture of him lying face down in the sand galvanized international attention on the Syrian refugee crisis like nothing else. If the Syrian refugee situation needed a marketing tool, and Liberal politicians needed a gut-twisting compassion component for their […]

If financing rail safety has no optics, is it worth it?

Mar 13 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — When Lisa Raitt was sworn in as Minister of Transport in the summer of 2013, it was less than two weeks after Lac Megantic, the oil train disaster that killed 47 people in a horrific inferno that all but razed the Quebec town. It was a daunting baptism into a new portfolio. To say that […]

Scott Brison and his magical deficit money tree

Mar 6 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — When the Trudeau Liberals bring down their first budget on March 22, artfully dodging the Ides of March by a week, the most powerful person in cabinet will ultimately be Treasury Board President Scott Brison. He will become the go-to money man, and no dosh can be dished out to any MP’s list of wishes, […]

Trudeau’s definition of Canadian is not mine

Mar 3 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” Justin Trudeau said on the road to becoming prime minister. It’s pretentious nonsense, of course. When I think of a Canadian, and the struggle to adapt in a new land, I think of the humble abode now standing derelict in a southern Saskatchewan wheat field as a […]

Bilingualism a barrier to millennials entering public service

Feb 28 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — To listen to Treasury Board President Scott Brison, if not for the toxic environment inflicted on the nation’s capital by the very Harperites he crossed the floor to escape, the federal civil service would have no problem attracting millennials into its ranks. Instead, the federal bureaucracy, and there are a quarter-million of them across the […]

Woodstock, conservatives and Bill Morneau

Feb 25 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — The annual Manning Centre conference, which still likes to tout itself as the “Woodstock for Canadian conservatives,” kicks off here today with a wide slate of speakers and panelists. The time has come, however, for organizers to think of a new billing, and I say this as someone who tried in vain to make it […]

Don’t blame Justin Trudeau – it’s not his fault

Feb 21 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — A great deal of ink has been spilled, and television pundit hours logged, in dissecting the disappointment now realized regarding Justin Trudeau’s first 100 days as prime minister of this country. What no one has expressed, however, is the obvious. None of it is Trudeau’s fault. Justin Trudeau simply is what he is, and what […]

Hand washing of the unsinkable Jenni Byrne

Feb 18 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — While it was not exactly Matthew 27:24, it was interesting nonetheless to recently witness Jenni Byrne figuratively washing her hands of any overt responsibility in the electoral defeat of the Harper Conservatives. This, after all, was the party’s national campaign director, an unsinkable Conservative operative and back-room power broker who allegedly struck palpable fear into […]

No Conservative Valentine love in Atlantic Canada

Feb 14 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — In the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose made a trip to Halifax to express her party’s love of Atlantic Canada, and to seek reasons for that love being so unrequited. Truth be known, though, there was not much love there to concede after 10 years of a Stephen Harper government, particularly […]

A love-in, bureaucracy bias, and a pink slip

Jan 31 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — A few days after Justin Trudeau was sworn in at Rideau Hall, he was mobbed by a throng of jubilant office workers, complete with shameless cheering, and scores of the ubiquitous smart-phone pictures that have earned him the nickname of Prime Minister Selfie. This love-in, which included hugs from the new PM, happened at the […]

Too many eggs in one political basket

Jan 24 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — The appointment of a failed Liberal candidate such as Mary Jean McFall as chief of staff to federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay would normally not raise many questions. But, in this case, it should, and not simply because of the rather commonplace patronage of rewarding someone for taking one for the team in the electoral […]

Trudeau, Davos and $7 cauliflower

Jan 21 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — The lowly cauliflower, which will likely make no appearance on any crudité tray when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau again meets with the super-rich and powerful in Davos today, began trending last week on social media. In a matter of hours, it became a tangible indicator of just how far the Canadian loonie has fallen, aided […]

Poloz needs to get ‘mad as hell’

Jan 14 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — Oh for the day when a fed-up Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz throws up his hands in frustration, and declares in the fashion of Academy Award-winning Peter Finch’s portrayal of Howard Beale that he is as “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” Mad as hell, for example, at provincial governments […]

My 10 years sober

Jan 10 2016 — Mark Bonokoski — So, on the day recently-elected Liberal MP Seamus O’Regan announced on Twitter that he had entered a “wellness centre” to adopt “an alcohol-free lifestyle,” I quietly celebrated 10 years of sobriety. It was, as expected, an uneventful day, as is generally the case when there is no booze in the mix and therefore no ill-conceived […]