National Newswatch

Why can’t prime ministers just stay home?

Apr 15 2018 — Penny Collenette — The PM is in Ottawa today. No surprise, right? Wrong. Still recovering from the infamous trip to India, reporters and opposition politicians appeared startled when the PM’s official itinerary revealed that he was travelling to Peru for the Summit of the Americas this past week, before departing for Paris and London. However, when the B.C./Alberta […]

Two key figures are missing in action in Ottawa

Apr 1 2018 — Penny Collenette — Political Ottawa is on a two week Easter break. MPs have scattered to their home ridings. However, even with the “empty nest” syndrome in Ottawa, two people are glaringly missing in action and their absence is worrying from the perspective of national security. A federal election is scheduled for next year, yet as Chantal Hebert […]

Premier Doug Ford? Not quite so fast.

Mar 18 2018 — Penny Collenette — If you believe recent polls, the June 7 provincial Ontario election may already be decided. Eric Grenier, the CBC’s polling analyst, currently projects that the Conservatives could win 78 to 98 seats, placing them in majority government territory. The NDP are second with 15 to 28 seats and the Liberals in third place with up […]

The politics of guns — a cross border issue

Mar 4 2018 — Penny Collenette — Gun violence, like the politics surrounding the issue, is deep and ugly. When the Harper government decided to gut the gun registry implemented by a Liberal government, emotions ran high within parties and across party lines, exposing a divide between rural and urban Canada. Records on more than five million owners of rifles and shotguns […]

Achieving Indigenous justice involves risk and vision

Feb 18 2018 — Penny Collenette — Surprisingly, it was a tweet from Justin Trudeau, and not Donald Trump, that recently generated legal and political debate. Trudeau’s tweets are normally quite formal in substance, however, occasionally, they contain sharp, determined policy bites — in spite of any risk. After Trump had imposed a four-month pause on refugees and temporarily banned travellers from […]

The best and worst of political leadership on shocking display

Feb 4 2018 — Penny Collenette — A turning point in society is often born of a distressing past, which must be resolved before moving on to an enlightened future. But much depends on deft leadership. How our politicians handle the growing number of sexual and workplace harassment allegations, which have recently shocked both Parliament and legislatures, will be crucial.

Do we appreciate our Supreme Court justices enough?

Dec 3 2017 — Penny Collenette — The Supreme Court, an opaque fortress of law, gives the impression of great strength, not easily amenable to change. But after 17 years of extraordinary and steady leadership by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, transition and transparency are high on the court’s agenda as they bid farewell to one justice, welcome another, and anticipate the name […]

Political conflicts of interest will only get trickier

Nov 18 2017 — Penny Collenette — She’s an Order of Canada recipient and the independent Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, an appointment made in consultation with all federal Leaders. Her office belongs to Parliament itself. He is the Minister of Finance for Canada, answerable to the Prime Minister and to the electors of Toronto Centre. She does not wish a […]

Dangerous intersection of law, politics, business and human rights

Oct 22 2017 — Penny Collenette — Back in the day, business simply required a legal license to operate. The “corporate veil” was rarely pierced as management expected to run its operations with little outside interference. But times have changed and the business model has been forced to reach out, not only to stakeholders, but to civil society. The concept of voluntary […]

Can ‘sunny ways” prevail in a stormy world?

Oct 8 2017 — Penny Collenette — Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 45, and newly elected NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh, 38, are relentlessly optimistic. They each believe that love overcomes hate; that diversity unites rather than divides; and that respect and civility are keys to 21st century governance. Both are empathetic extroverts. Both would likely pass an EQ test with flying colours. […]

Departed MPs’ legacies must be kept alive

Sep 24 2017 — Penny Collenette — Death stalks us all but when it pounces on an elected Member of Parliament, it causes a national gasp. No one will ever forget the traumatic death of Jack Layton, the former NDP leader, who had just achieved a historic electoral breakthrough. His time as Leader of the Official Opposition was cruelly over in the […]

Trump promised to ‘Drain the Swamp’ but will it drain him?

May 21 2017 — Penny Collenette — Donald Trump loves short, pithy expressions. Along with “lock her up” and “build the wall,” the phrase “drain the swamp” came to define the Trump campaign. Ronald Reagan originally used the words in 1983 when he promised to restrain the growth of government. Trump channelled the same analogy but enlarged Reagan’s vision to include not […]

Mental health and politicians, an old stigma in a new era

May 14 2017 — Penny Collenette — When should someone be deemed unfit for public office? Clearly, questions of morals and unprofessional behaviour led to Don Meredith’s resignation from the Canadian Senate. And recently, a disgraceful racial slur caused a York School Trustee to step down from her position. But what about the unpredictable, incendiary and often vulgar actions of U.S. President […]