National Newswatch

As COVID-19 pauses, politics roars back to life

Jun 28 2020 — Penny Collenette — The non-partisan political tone that enveloped the country as COVID-19 made its deadly entrance was a blessing. Realizing the gravity and tragedy of unfolding events, leaders understood that Canadians were in a life-and-death struggle. Regular “breaking” political news gave way to stark numbers — the number of dead, the number of infected or the number […]

Governments ignore whistleblowers at their peril

May 31 2020 — Penny Collenette — As appalling details emerged from the Canadian Armed Forces documentation about conditions and practices at long-term care (LTC) homes in Ontario and Quebec, one face should continue to haunt us. Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist in Wuhan, had followed the best practices of “ethical reporting” also known as whistle-blowing. It encourages a hierarchy of disclosure […]

Prosperity for women is in jeopardy — unless we move quickly

May 17 2020 — Penny Collenette — The ubiquitous glass ceiling for women has taken some hits lately. It was deeply perforated as Dominique Anglade, 46, became not only the first woman leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec and therefore, Leader of the Official Opposition, but also the first Black leader in the province. Anglade, an engineer with a master’s degree […]

As we fight the pandemic, it’s wrong time to play the blame game

Apr 19 2020 — Penny Collenette — The world’s game plan to “flatten the COVID-19 curve” was recently disrupted as political finger pointing and personal accusations emerged at international and domestic levels. Apportioning responsibility to others is a human response but the timing of this blame game comes at a crucial moment in the global strategy of slowing the spread of the […]

Overcoming public fear is a crucial test for governments

Mar 22 2020 — Penny Collenette — “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” So said Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, on March 4, 1933. Governments exist to provide public safety and security for their citizens. But what happens when they can’t? How will our political leaders […]

Canada may be at a turning point but it will not be broken.

Mar 1 2020 — Penny Collenette — There is no question that with recent events, Canada is at a turning point. Appalling treatment of Indigenous peoples is a legacy of our colonial past and will now define our future. Can we move forward in this restless world of 2020, awash in fears of climate change and pandemics? Can we additionally overcome economic, […]

The risks and (maybe) rewards of political comebacks

Feb 16 2020 — Penny Collenette — Are political comebacks worth the gamble? Peter MacKay wants to be prime minister of Canada. Joe Biden wants to be president of the United States. They are both grasping for a political brass ring that they believe should rightfully be theirs. Biden, 77, has previously vied to be the Democratic candidate. After years in the […]

Laying blame can be a dangerous game

Jan 19 2020 — Penny Collenette — While most of the country continues to grieve with the families who have lost their loved ones in the hideous attack on Ukraine International Airlines flight 752, others will be focusing on foreign policy concerns when the House of Commons resumes sitting on Jan, 27. Simultaneously, the Conservative leadership race will be swinging into high […]

Messy path forward for Tories

Dec 15 2019 — Penny Collenette — The last few days have reminded us that politics can be a blood sport. Two leaders of the opposition, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Jeremy Corbyn, U.K. Labour Party leader, were unceremoniously left by the political wayside in different ways. Scheer was taken down by his own party, weeks after an election defeat, while Corbyn […]

The shadow of misogyny looms over new Parliament

Dec 1 2019 — Penny Collenette — When Jonathan Wilkinson, the recently appointed environment minister, was asked on CBC Radio’s As It Happens if he thought he would have an easier job in the portfolio as a man than former Minister Catherine McKenna, he answered that he “would love to say no — but I probably, in my heart-of-hearts say, yeah.”

A quieter PM emerges in aftermath of election

Nov 17 2019 — Penny Collenette — Justin Trudeau has never been the shy, retiring type. From his first national exposure when he gave the eulogy at his father’s funeral to his tenure as Canada’s prime minister, it’s clear he is a natural in the spotlight. Yet, it appears that Mr. Trudeau has changed since the October election. Gone are the photos […]

Minority government a chance for Trudeau to show leadership

Nov 3 2019 — Penny Collenette — Prime minister, this is your leadership moment. Indicating that he would “really reflect on how best to serve Canadians and work with other parties,” Justin Trudeau is prudently taking time to fashion a cabinet suited to a minority government; to reset his political priorities with an eye to a speech from the throne; to speak […]

Time for our political leaders to abandon the nastiness

Oct 20 2019 — Penny Collenette — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently noted that this election has been the “dirtiest, nastiest” campaign in Canadian history. Considering he had to wear a bulletproof vest at a recent rally, he may well be justified to make that assertion. Yet, the ugly tenor of the campaign should not have been a surprise to the leaders. […]