National Newswatch

Kathleen Wynne and the politics of corruption

Sep 14 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Kathleen Wynne wasn’t on trial Wednesday in a Sudbury courtroom. But as the first sitting premier to appear on the witness stand, Wynne faced her own trial by fire. Equally, Hillary Clinton wasn’t on trial in a congressional hearing room, or in an abortive FBI probe last year. But we know how that ended on […]

Why Kathleen Wynne just won’t quit

Aug 21 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Sign of the times: Journalists get a heads up that the premier will address her MPPs at a normally closed caucus meeting the next day. Immediately, reflexively, every editor in town assumes it’s a resignation story, sending reporters into a feeding frenzy. Proof, as ever, that people don’t pay attention to Queen’s Park.

Will Ontario Tories go with Brown’s big tent or Scheer and the social conservatives?

Jun 6 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — A Tory is a Tory. Unless you live in Ontario, Canada — in which case it’s harder to tell which Tories stand for what. Federally, your new Conservative leader is Andrew Scheer, a backbencher who bided his time under Stephen Harper’s prime ministership. And played footsie with pro-life, anti-gay-marriage, anti-sex-ed supporters. Provincially, your Progressive Conservative […]

B.C.’s political earthquake reverberates in Ontario

May 11 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Ontario and British Columbia couldn’t be more different. We’re cool and they’re not (Okay, it’s colder here). Their politics is red hot, ours is not (lukewarm on a good day). But this week’s electoral earthquake in B.C. bears watching. Not that the West coast offers any directly transferable lessons, but the dramatic result conjures up […]

How Charles Sousa woke up from his housing hibernation

Apr 22 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — While Toronto burned, Queen’s Park slept. Rather than douse the flames of our overheated housing market, Ontario’s lumbering bear of a treasurer, Charles Sousa, went into hibernation. Nine months ago, as British Columbia sprang into action with a tax targeting foreign buyers, Sousa retreated into his ministerial lair. And chilled. As summer turned to winter, […]

Kathleen Wynne is a lightning rod for her party’s sins

Apr 20 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — In politics as in life, be careful what you wish for. If Kathleen Wynne quits as premier, what next? Rather than forecasting the future, better to question present-day conventional wisdom. Notably this notion: If only the Liberals could lose Wynne, they might win again. The premier’s popularity is so laughably low in monthly polls — […]

The populist versus the wonk in a tale of two premiers

Apr 13 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Two Liberal governments, in Ontario and B.C., have held power virtually since the turn of the millennium. Two female premiers, in each of these provinces, were once seen as change agents, but now risk appearing like more of the same. The provinces — and premiers — of Ontario and British Columbia couldn’t be more different. […]

The unbearable lightness of being Patrick Brown

Apr 6 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Saving the planet isn’t as simple as it seems. Not when global warming is blowing a chill wind over Queen’s Park. Nor when you’re caught between two bloviating windbags coming at you from left and right. Spare a thought for Patrick Brown, leader of Ontario’s opposition PCs and unofficial premier-in-waiting, as he tries to cobble […]

Will Trump-style politics ‘Make Ontario Great Again?’

Apr 4 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Here’s a triumphal campaign slogan for the next provincial election: “Make Ontario Great Again!” Donald Trump did it with “Make America Great Again.” Now the impulse is creeping into Ontario politics, finding an echo in PC Leader Patrick Brown. Our premier-in-waiting hasn’t adopted the slogan, but he’s imitating it. He hearkens back to the manufacturing […]

Patrick Brown fails test as Ontario premier-to-be

Mar 30 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Patrick Brown is Ontario’s premier-in-waiting but also a politician in a hurry. Not so fast. Haste can make for environmental waste. With an election 14 months away, and a runaway lead in the polls, Brown keeps running away from serious positions on climate change. And then digging himself in deeper. Time for an environmental assessment […]

How Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals can save their own skin

Mar 28 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — How does Kathleen Wynne overcome her dismal popularity ratings? There’s no good answer, but here’s a better question: With or without Wynne, how do Liberals compete in the next election? Recurring speculation about the premier’s fate misses the mark. There is no saviour waiting in the wings, or walking on wings, capable of jettisoning all […]

Of Nazi collaboration and Russian disinformation

Mar 21 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — The controversy over Chrystia Freeland’s family background can be confounding. No, our foreign minister isn’t answerable for her Ukrainian-born grandfather, who edited a propaganda outlet for the Nazis in occupied Krakow. Yes, the Russians are playing a dirty game of demonization by spreading incriminating stories about her distant family background. Guilt by association plays well […]

How ‘Islamic terrorism’ trumped Islamophobia

Feb 23 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — It used to be the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Now, it’s fear of phobias. Islamophobia to be precise. If you are a young Muslim woman wearing the Islamic veil, you face the irrational fear (phobia) of Islam sweeping much of the West — and the bigotry and hostility creeping into […]

Why our political parties all sound the same

Feb 4 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — Politicians pay a price for being too far ahead of the curve. Far safer to lead from behind. You never risk taking a wrong turn, and you can second-guess everyone as a backseat driver. But it doesn’t get you anywhere. You risk going in circles instead of making tracks — and laying badly needed track […]

Making sense of the massacre in our midst

Jan 30 2017 — Martin Regg Cohn — The Quebec massacre reminds us that terror can erupt anywhere, at any time. From anyone. And the public response has become a muscle reflex: Insistent demands that Muslims at home condemn, own and atone for the sins of their so-called co-religionists wherever they strike. Followed by the usual chorus insisting that society call it what […]