National Newswatch

Poll: Stephen Harper would change this election

Jul 22 2021 — Paul Wells — If Harper returned to once again lead the Conservatives, it would cut the Liberal advantage by two-thirds, and a rout starts to look more like a race. We don’t spend enough time indulging hypotheticals. “That would never happen,” as a reason not to think about something, is given way too much room to run these […]

Mary Simon and the PM’s winning conditions

Jul 6 2021 — Paul Wells — The newly named Governor General has been a pillar of many Canadian communities and now will be again of another. She’s needed and ready. Reading from notes during a brief news conference Tuesday morning at the Canadian Museum of History—which is good! Caution is good!—Mary Simon said she hadn’t discussed a possible election with the […]

Below the national numbers, big Liberal advantage

Jun 25 2021 — Paul Wells — A new, large-sample national survey by Innovative Research for Maclean’s suggests growing Liberal strength in a handful of key seat clusters. A new large-sample public-opinion survey that permits detailed examination of close races suggests the federal Liberals are well-positioned to make seat gains, as Justin Trudeau decides whether to call an election campaign that could […]

Rosie Abella said she’d answer questions when she turned 75

Jun 15 2021 — Paul Wells — On the last Friday morning of the spring session of the Supreme Court of Canada, the chamber was nearly empty. Screens set up in view of the ermine-clad Supremes showed the faces of a bunch of lawyers, waiting on Zoom to argue a copyright case. But before the day’s scintillating main event could begin, Richard […]

Trudeau le québécois

May 25 2021 — Paul Wells — The spreading of largesse; Joly’s language reform; Guilbeault’s Quixotic quest and, finally, the relaxed response to Bill 96. The PM wants to win big Quebec. Everyone’s wondering, yet again, what Justin Trudeau’s game is in Quebec. I doubt he’d have it any other way. Here’s my best attempt to discern the Prime Minister’s thinking on […]

Avi Lewis: You mean this isn’t how to kill the NDP?

May 20 2021 — Paul Wells — Something there is about the pundit’s life that doesn’t mind a fight, so when I heard that Avi Lewis (kids: ask your parents!) will be running for the NDP in the next federal election, I called Anne McGrath. I suppose I could have called Avi Lewis, but (a) Campbell Clark over at the Globe already […]

A Canadian is fighting for change in Ukraine. So far, he’s losing.

May 14 2021 — Paul Wells — Right up until the day the oligarch next door cut off his ability to sell his product, Michael Yurkovich was marvelling at how easy it was to do business in the new Ukraine. Yurkovich is from Calgary. His family has been in oil for decades. But Yurkovich seeks investment opportunity in various energy markets and […]

A crisis of confidence in the Canadian Armed Forces

May 14 2021 — Paul Wells — In May 2019, 2,622 members of the Canadian Armed Forces filled out a survey on their feelings about their work environment and career prospects. In one question, respondents were asked whether they agree with the statement: “I have confidence in the leadership of the CAF.” Among regular force personnel, the term for full-time members as […]

Budget 2021: Welcome back, standard operating procedures

Apr 19 2021 — Paul Wells — The budget focuses on the sort of things a government like Canada’s should be working on right now. But the big bet is on childcare—and the devil is in the details. Maybe we should begin by eliminating some straw men. There’s nothing in Chrystia Freeland’s first budget that seems either designed or likely to force […]

The best climate plan for Erin O’Toole: Trudeau’s tax

Apr 14 2021 — Paul Wells — The best thinking in Ottawa, at the precise second I wrote these words, was that there will be no federal election this spring. Unfortunately, by the time I wrote these words, the mood had shifted and an election seemed inevitable. The good news is, at some point during this issue’s tenure on newsstands and coffee […]

The Liberal convention: Everything now

Apr 10 2021 — Paul Wells — On every subject before the party at its national convention the debate is over. All that is left is agreement. And no choice among priorities is ever necessary. All happy families resemble one another, Leo Tolstoy wrote, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Canada’s federal Liberals, gathered in virtual convention on […]

Is the Liberal tent big enough for a Carney?

Apr 6 2021 — Paul Wells — The news that Mark Carney will speak to the Liberal Party of Canada’s virtual convention this weekend is at least implicit acknowledgment of a question Liberals have preferred to avoid before now: what will the party look like when Justin Trudeau no longer leads it? You can’t really call that question “taboo” or “verboten” or […]

The Biden plan and the Trudeau precedent

Apr 1 2021 — Paul Wells — The critics are raving. Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan—$2 trillion for green(-ish) infrastructure, jobs and tech, following his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and setting the stage for a $2 trillion American Family Plan in a few weeks—has its share of critics, but it’s also being hailed as a potentially historic rethink of government’s role […]

That’ll teach you, Mark Machin. I’m just not sure what.

Feb 26 2021 — Paul Wells — A quasi-public official did something the government refuses to forbid. So sure, get angry. Meanwhile I keep thinking of other things you could be enraged about. I knew Mark Machin’s countdown clock was ticking when Katherine Cuplinskas, Chrystia Freeland’s spokesperson, told Bloomberg last night that the pension chief’s decision to fly to the UAE to […]

Trudeau and Big Pharma: Not a love story

Feb 22 2021 — Paul Wells — On the bright side, when it comes to vaccines, so far Canada is actually doing better than Australia. That country bet big on a thriving domestic bio-sciences sector. It was making good progress on a made-in-Australia vaccine until December, when it had to scrap its vaccine program because while the candidate vaccine did well against […]